My middle child is in preschool. I knew her experience with school would be different than my son’s. They are very different kids. She is a feeler and a creative. She is also highly social in all situations. He is more reserved in school settings and is much more linear in his thinking. It has been fun seeing their learning styles come to light. But one of the things I knew was coming down the pike came a little earlier than I had prepared for: the girl drama.
She came home the other day a little sad. Not crying or anything, but not herself. I asked what was up and she informed me that she wasn’t in the Goo Goo Club. This lead to a line of questions as to what this club was and who was in it. It unfortunately included one of her favorite friends to play with. She said the Goo Goo girls were only playing together. Her little face showed me that her little heart just didn’t understand this new division of girl play. I asked her if she wanted to be in the group. She looked at me with a clear resolve and said, ”No, I don’t want to do the Goo Goo stuff. I just want to play with my friends.”
This event may seem small, but it really stuck with me. She is in preschool and the cliques have begun. My sweet girl is being exposed so early to an unfortunate part of school. I was honestly hoping to avoid this phase a little longer. We had to talk about using our words to let our friend know how their club rules made her feel. I want to empower her to discuss her feelings with those she cares about. I don’t know if it will change anything―or if the club will still be in existence come Friday, but I do know that she has a right to share her heart with these girls and encourage them to include everyone at play time.
Isn’t this life though? Despite our best efforts, we feel left out from time to time. Subgroups form and we just don’t make the cut. Even in (or especially in) Christian communities, we gravitate towards those who have similar interests. However, we don’t gravitate toward all that we have similar interests with, so someone is getting left out. How do you react when that someone is you? I know this feeling all too well. I have felt left out more than a time or two. The worst part of that for me is the inner self talk that comes flooding in when I am dwelling on the rejection.
I get wrapped up in their lack of interest in me and entertain more than a few negative thoughts about who I am and why they don’t want to include me. As I look at how I suggested that my daughter handle it, I feel maybe I should take my own advice. I have a right to share my heart with those that are leaving me out. I also need to really look to God for my worth―not whether a group of people desire to spend time with me.
God created us all to be different. We are not all going to enjoy each other’s company. There is a base level of courtesy and respect that I truly believe we should all be given, but beyond that it’s a case by case. If you feel like you are being disrespected then stand up for yourself and share your heart. If you feel left out, spend some time reflecting (journaling, praying, talking to a safe person) about why you want to be included and if there is action that should be taken. Sometimes you will hash it out only to see that your season of life is different than the majority of the group and the dynamic is just not the right fit for you. Other times, you may not get a clear reason for why you don’t belong, but you can get peace about it. Our worth comes straight from God, not a group of people. Rejection doesn’t feel good, but if anyone knows that feeling best, it’s Jesus. Take your heart to him and let him be there for you like no one else can. He is near to the broken hearted and the rejected. He will heal your heart and guide you to a group that is loving and cares for your heart. I can say with confidence that he has done that for me on more than one occasion.
So many of the people in my life that I call dear friends are a direct result of prayer. I was in a dry season as far as friendships went. I just didn’t connect deeply with anyone it seemed. I began praying for God to send me friends that I could connect with and would help me grow deeper spiritually. He answered that prayer with full-to-overflowing vigor! The women in my life now have helped me to plunge deeper and deeper into my relationship with God and have encouraged me to pursue my wildest dreams. They are encouragers and prayer warriors. I lean on them and they trust me enough to lean on me. I belong because they were gifted to me by God himself. Hand-picked gifts are usually the most cherished.