It’s hard to feel left out no matter how old you are, especially when things like work and church start to feel more like social clubs. We even feel left out of things we wouldn’t even be interested in if we were invited. Somehow we think we should be invited regardless of our level of interest.
I remember when I was a kid, and I would want to invite every person in my class to my birthday party so nobody was left out. My parents would usually set a limit on how many people I could invite, and then my mom would tell me not to talk about the party at school because it might make someone feel left out. Let’s face it, we are going to have times when we are left out and it’s okay. We might be left out of a work meeting, a wedding celebration, or a big decision. While we might consider being left out of these things a disappointment, we should celebrate being left out of other things that our colleagues, friends, family, and neighbors have to deal with. No one ever said, “Wow! God didn’t even think of me when that person was diagnosed with cancer. How dare him!”
Instead of looking at the “what” we were left out of, let’s look at the “why.” The only why we need to consider is that it just wasn’t God’s will. You got left out of a promotion. It wasn’t the right job, the right time, the right boss. You got left out of a group get-together with your fellow church members. You were meant to spend alone time with God or maybe God prevented you from getting in a car accident. Maybe God knew you wouldn’t have a good time.
I recently heard a sermon that convicted me of feeling bitter when God does not live up to my expectations for him. The message was taken from Luke 7:18-35. John the Baptist is in prison, and sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is in fact “the one who is to come.” The pastor explained that John had more evidence that Jesus was the Messiah than any other living person, and yet he questioned Jesus because perhaps Jesus did not live up to John’s expectations for him. Maybe he expected Jesus to break him out of jail, or any number of other expectations.
Does God not care about you because you get left out? Does he plan on you being alone forever? Does he plan on you making minimum wage forever? Does he want you to feel lonely, rejected, and even unwanted? No. He wants you to feel closer to him than ever before. He wants you to fill up on his love to share it with others. He wants you to share about a time when you were lonely with someone who is feeling lonely or left out now. What you are going through is just a season, and seasons have an end, a transition. Seasons also help nourish the earth in some way, and they will nourish your soul just the same. You will come out of this season of feeling left out with a stronger faith, a more moving testimony, and a whole lot of new friends. People will be drawn to the love of Jesus you reflect after spending all that time with him. No promotion, party, outing, or meeting can create the relationship you grow from one-on-one with the Lord.
One last word of advice, if you feel left out, try inviting people to do things often and accepting invites whenever possible if the invites are to do something that interests you. If you haven’t been invited, perhaps it’s because you’re not around to invite or maybe you are hard to reach. No matter the reason, God is doing something in you during this time, and you need only trust in him to finish that work.
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