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“You’re not set aside, you’re set apart.”

Have you ever had a time in your life where you have felt left out, cast aside, or rejected?

Maybe you found yourself in a situation where you didn’t feel like you quite fit in with the other people around you. I can tell you, with 100% certainty, I have felt this way so many times in my life that I lost count. I feel like the sum of my life is feeling different than the others around me.

When I feel different than those around me, I’m quick to think it’s because there is something wrong with me. It’s easy to think that it’s my fault and that I’m being set aside, or thrown out because I’m not like everyone else. That because I don’t fit in means that I’m flawed, or even that I’m not worthy of love.

I can sit alone and list every fault I have, every word I said wrong, and I can agree with every bad thing that’s ever been uttered in my direction or behind my back. Yes, all of those things must be true. I’m definitely a screwed up person and all hope is lost! If I could only be more like her, or more like them, or more anything at all; then I would fit in, I wouldn’t be left out, and I would be enough.

I have a feeling I’m not the only one who has thought this way about themselves. Actually, I know I’m not the only one who has experienced these feelings. We have 5th and 6th graders, and I see the “not fitting in” battle every single day (middle schooler’s are tough!)

I just finished reading Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst, and her quote below shined light on this feeling of being rejected in such a way that made my heart explode and brought tears to my eyes.

“You’re not set aside, you’re set apart.”

You’re not set aside….you’re set apart.

I love this idea and it brings a whole new way of looking at feeling alone or rejected. There is a big difference in feeling set aside, and being set apart.

Just because we’re in a situation where we don’t fit in with the crowd, it doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with us. It only means we are standing out from the crowd because we aren’t like the people currently in our company.

We’re not cast aside.

We’re not rejected.

We’re apart from the crowd because we’re in a crowd of people who are different than us. Not better and not worse, just different – and that is okay!

Yes, it may feel lonely and it may feel like we need to change – but our Creator didn’t make any mistakes when He made us. We are all made uniquely and beautifully different.

Maybe the situation we’re in – where we don’t fit in with everyone around us – can even be a good thing?

Maybe it’s a sign that we need to move on and find a different crowd of people?

We were recently in a situation where we decided to move our oldest son to a new school. It was apparent that he stood out so far from the crowd at his current school, that it was no longer a good fit for him, or his self esteem. He felt set aside. Once we moved him, he found people more like him in every single way. There was never anything wrong with him – he just wasn’t in the right place. He was set apart for a reason – to show us that he didn’t belong in the crowd at his old school. If he hadn’t had been set apart as much as he was, we would have never known there was something bigger and better for him just down the street.

Being set apart is good.

Being different is good.

If you are standing alone, and it hurts, take a deep breath and realize you are never fully alone. You are with your Creator. Stand by yourself and open you heart and mind to the gifts this lonliness can bring you and can show you.

Do not fret but learn in the moment. There are plenty of people on this planet that value us, that love us, and that enjoy our company.

Let’s not sit in an area of our life and beat ourselves up for not fitting in with the crowd. We are not cast aside – we are cast apart – and it’s for a reason. Let’s embrace that we are different and stand tall and proud.

Know that we are loved.

Know that we have value.

I love you so much and I hope together we can embrace our differences as gifts. I’m going to move forward, not feeling alone or cast aside, but standing in the light of being cast apart, and not only loving what makes me so different, but using it to give love and hope to others.

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