rebelling against low expectations

Why I Stopped Trying to Fit In, And Why You Should Too


In 10th grade, this was my biggest goal in life. I did everything I knew how to, in order to be cool enough. I wore the right pants. I styled my hair. I made sure I always smelled like I stepped out of a Bath & Body Works store, and, I exercised like my life depended on it, making sure the number on the scale was as low as I could possibly make it.

It was a lot of work, trying to keep up with all of this in order to look good to my peers.

Our identity is found in Christ alone, we’re NOT defined by other people’s expectations or accusations. We as Christians are children of the Most High God, given grace, love, worth, and an inheritance that can never be taken away.

So why should I be afraid when someone thinks I’m too “weird” or “boring”, or even if I’m accused of thinking or doing something I had no part of?

I’ve always been a people-pleaser. But oftentimes I will turn it into my first and only priority, something I worship, when there should only be One who has that place in my heart. I am robbing Him of His reign in my life & in my heart, replacing Him with another.

“So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” — Hebrews 13:6

“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” — John 15:19

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” — 2 Timothy 3:12

” … For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” — 1 Samuel 16:7

And there’s nothing wrong with trying to smell good, and look clean (in fact, I highly recommend it), but when we go to extremities in order to impress others, simply, we are wasting our time.

I wish someone would’ve walked up to me a year ago and said that I shouldn’t care if people think I’m not smart enough, or skinny enough. That it doesn’t matter if I don’t reach their standards of perfection — or society’s. That I should just focus on my relationship with God, and showing Christ’s love & truth to all who come my way.

So, I hope I can be that someone for you, dear reader. Don’t waste your energy and concern on others’ opinions. Jesus died, resurrected, said “Fear not, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33), and yet we’re still afraid of not fitting in? Of someone judging our appearance, or our actions? Of people belittling us, and maybe not accepting us?

Jesus will always accept us. Not because we’re perfect. Not because of anything good we’ve done.

But because He loves us.

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Photo courtesy of Rosipaw and Flickr Creative Commons.

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About the author

Rachel Hatcher

is an ordinary 16-year-old with an extraordinary God, who aspires each day to pursue God and to glorify Him. She enjoys reading, hiking, and drinking coffee on rainy days. She strives to be an inspiration to those around her by sharing her love for Jesus and being an encouragement in times of need.


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  • Yes! I agree that if we strive to look good in the ways of men then we are wasting our time. They are like bees and honey. Give the bees some honey and they always want more.

    “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. ”
    Galatians 1:9-11

    Let me tell you, if you try to get the approval of men you are basically their servant. As Jesus said,

    “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:23-25

    The same goes for us with men. We cannot serve men and God. It is impossible.

    Thanks for the article! I had this problem when I was active on my Youtube channel, they always wanted new videos . . .I finished the series but I felt that I was serving them.

    Thanks again! 🙂

        • Hi Liam,

          I have a question, what if you do work for Christ and you do study? Is that serving to two master?

          • Hello Paul,

            You mean studies? Well what do you think? It’s not like we are serving our books is it? Jesus told us to do everything with diligence.

            Studying can be used for the glory of God also! By studying, we equip ourselves for our future relationship and service with God. How would you know how to preach if you didn’t study? Or write a report on creationism in an atheist class?
            You can, without studying. 🙂

            Hope that explains things. 🙂

            God Bless,

            Liam Siegler

  • I really like this, thank you for writing it! I like it so much, because it kind of shows the purpose of one of my favorite verses, Romans 12:2 (Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.) Thank you again. 🙂

  • I think everyone needs to hear this, including myself! 🙂 I struggle with being a people-pleaser, although instead of me trying to change my ideas or opinions, I usually go crazy worrying about whether or not something I say will offend or insult someone. And your article reminded me that I should not stress about it or make it my top priority, but just make sure that everything I say will please Jesus! And the funny thing is, I feel so silly looking back over the things I worried about, because now I see how small they were! Thank you for another amazing article! 🙂

  • Wow, I was just thinking about this! This was such a great blessing and reminder for me. I often do my best to convince myself that I’m not a people pleaser, but the truth is I can be and often am. I love how you said our identity is found in Christ. Instead of trying to ‘conform’ to other people expectations I should focus on conforming to Christ!
    I am a big fan of your writings and blog and I wanted to thank you for being a great example to people like me. I love finding other young people who are passionate about pursuing the Lord and glorifying Him. 🙂 Keep up the great work!

  • I agree, this was really good. I just wanted to supplement this a bit. It is worthless to try to look the way you think your peers would like, and it’s kind of hard to give up that acceptance, but when we became Christians we gave up the right to be like the world. God tells us that those that we live with are only going to persecute and ridicule you for what you believe in. But there is a much graver reason for not being like the rest of the world. Romans 12:2 says: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” We must remember that if we follow the world, even as Christians, we are traitors to our Father, and He must reject us. It is difficult not to want to be like the rest of this world, but if we follow our Savior, then He will give us the courage to be different. Thank you so much for this. It has made me do some serious thinking.

    • Yes, He will give us the courage to be different. After awhile, we’ll be like the girl with no grey dots or stars from Max Lucado’s book “You are Special”. 🙂

  • This is so true. And I know this is really weird to say, but I like the picture they put with this article. The idea of just being able to slip your shape into the right hole is so dangerous. God created us different for a reason. It’s pretty obvious He LOVES diversity. 🙂 I enjoy being different from the next person. I know its cliche, but really, how interesting a world would this be if we were all exactly alike?

    • I liked the picture too:) It really helped bring the point across. I could just see one of my cousins (they were toddlers not too long ago:) struggling to fit the right shape in the wrong space!

      If we were all the same, I think it would be a little like if the body of Christ was only made up of feet. You can’t do much with just a bunch of feet, no matter how nice they are;)

      • Yes, that is a very good analogy. I’ve heard it before. Pictures always put a new perspective on things. 🙂

      • Haha, yes, there is no use for a body to only have feet! Great analogy! I’ll have to remember that one 🙂

    • That picture they put with it was awesome! And, totally, think how boring everything would be if we all were the same, or even alike? Differences keep things interesting 🙂

  • Great point, thanks for posting! How true it is that we have got to remember who we are living for, everyday, in everything we do.

    “…not to please men, but God, who examines our hearts.”
    1 Thess. 2:4

    • “How true it is that we have got to remember who we are living for, everyday, in everything we do.” Beautiful. So true.

  • Very well written… but my opinion is not want counts, you honored Christ and brought our focus to Him, that’s what counts.

    A short summary of my journey with this is that, I’ve been told many times what certain people think of me(pretty horrible things) and for a long time I believed it to the point where I was ready to die, but then God kept bringing scripture into my life that talked about who I am in Him and how He views me. That really changed how I looked at myself and others. But the biggest thing that kept me alive was knowing…. not just in my head but really knowing in my heart that God loves me. And that everything that happens, happens for our good and His glory.

    What a great God He is!

    • It’s so easy to let other people’s words hurt us (because they do!) But no matter what they think of us, God values us *so* much, that He gave us His Son to die for us so that we could live with Him forever! Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make.

  • Thanks for bringing up an issue that unfortunately far too many teens struggle with. Sadly for many, what you have said is merely “head knowledge” not “heart knowledge.” May this reminder touch our generation’s hearts and convince teens that they are already truly loved by only One who really counts!

    • God pressed on my heart to share this part of my journey, my walk with Him. I pray that others will see how much God loves them, and that man’s approval is not the “end-all”, the purpose of our life.

  • wow that us awesome thanks, its so true I keep forgetting thanks for reminding me this is the first time I’ve been to this site and so far it is amazing it is truly awesome what God can do with anyone especially the youth

  • I always had tons of friends and I was never that concerned with fitting in until I found out one of my most trusted friends had gossiped about me which led to me losing many of my friends and my church. Now I feel like I don’t fit anywhere among Christians. They all seem to eventually be connected to this person/his family who betrayed me and the gossip just keeps hurting me because while he apologized he never followed through on his promises to make things right. Things are really hard right now with some recent tragedies and I wish I had some friends I could trust. But no one cares what is right or true. They only do what is easy.

      • I posted because a relative had just attempted suicide and I was super down. I felt encouraged by your prayers and words of encouragement, however when I went to respond it said Brett Harris had blocked me from posting again. What ?

        • Hmm, I don’t know. I can see you are un-banned if you just posted this.

          I would suggest walking up to these people, taking a stand, and telling them how you feel. I had to do that with a friend once who wasn’t that nice to me.

          You are on my heart, I will be praying for the Lord’s comfort and healing for you. 🙂

          God Bless,

          Liam Siegler

          • Oh, sorry to hear that.

            I personally don’t see anything wrong with you explaining what is going on. Seeking encouragement and prayers is perfectly fine.

        • Nicole, I have banned you repeatedly and you know why. The fact that you keep making new accounts surprises me. I’m very sorry to hear about the personal tragedies you have experienced and I prayed for you when I read your comment. But I don’t want you commenting again on this website. You already know that.

    • Just remember that gossip tells more about the person gossiping than about the one being talked about. I know it’s hard, especially when it’s a friend that you trusted. The words seem to cut deeper and scar us more because it’s someone we care about. You are in my prayers! God will never fail you or forsake you.

      • I posted because a relative had just attempted suicide and I was super down. I felt encouraged by your prayers and words of encouragement, however when I went to respond it said Brett Harris had blocked me from posting again.

        • Nicole, I have banned you repeatedly and you know why. I’m very sorry to hear about the personal tragedies you have experienced and I prayed for you when I read your comment. But I don’t want you commenting again on this website. You shouldn’t act surprised that you would get banned.

    • I understand somewhat how you feel but I know that as long as I care about doing what I right God will bless me with the strength to be an influence for good, He is all powerful, and there are some who care. Christ is my most trusted friend because I know that he loves me, I’ve leaned on Him and He has always held me up, He as the friend I trust.

  • Wow this is great! I was actually struggling with this today. Thanks for the great reminder that Jesus loves us no matter what!

    • I’ve come a long way this year, learning this lesson over and over again. I’m so glad you were blessed by it!

  • when i was in school (im homeschooled now) that was the thing, to be one of “them” Eventhough i came in confident that they would have to mold to my mold and not the other way around. But that went away quickly as i was made the laughing stock and was picked on, (dont get me wrong not trying to get sympathy) there were some good guys though in that class of meatheads they quickly came to like me and we had great times together. The two guys were really great people, and nice to me… only when we were alone. They said that they wanted to be my friends but didnt show it. so i challenged them, want to be my bros? Prove It. alas they did not rise to the occasion. AT RECESS …cap locks(enough said) the girls (classes were gender seperated) talked with me about why i was bothering to try so hard not to fit in, I said just because the norm is being cool and popular i’m not going to let that change who i am. it isnt worth it, cool and popular only get you ahead so much in life, they nodded their heads and walked away. For you out thereat a new school keep your mold and dont worry about what others think

    • “Cool and popular only get you ahead so much in life” That’s so true. There’s nothing wrong with being popular *within itself*, but it shouldn’t be something we try to kill ourselves over (figuratively speaking).

  • So true.
    Defiantly, more teens need to here this message. Fitting in is a perfect way to waste time. If you LIKE wasting time, that is.
    But it is kinda hard for some teens to not want to fit in. Especially those who are lowest in the ‘pecking order.’
    But there are so many verses in the Bible that repeat that you are special in your own way. Your not special because your just like everyone else. Being different is what makes a person unique. Meaning they fit into the bigger picture.

    • You’re right — and God has made us all unique. We are not like everyone else, and neither should we be.

  • I decided that I should be myself in times like that. Pleasing God is first, then comes the people, and wasting time, energy, and money to please people is not pleasing to God. There’s a certain limit to how much you should please people.

  • When I first became a teenager, I also tried hard to please people and “Fit in” and “Go with the flow”. But when I became a Christian and as I grew stronger in Christ, I found that fitting in never works. The world changes so fast and ‘outfits’ you. If you go with the flow, the flow will drown you. God doesn’t want us to be reactive, but proactive. He wants us to stand out and make a difference. He wants us to Do Hard Things. If we say, “Yes, God, use me.”, then He will. We can do anything through Christ, who gives us strength. Rachel let God use her to stand up and fight against the temptation to be complacent and just let things happen, and then she even took the time to tell us! Thank you, Rachel!
    God bless you,
    – Trent

    • So, so true Trent! 🙂 It is easy to get sucked in to the system, and caring more of what others think than what God can do in and through us when we step away from the crowd!

  • This is not my first time to drop by in this site. I’m very great and happy to see everyone of us is full of love to each other and specially lifting up the Name of Jesus, in all that we did. =)

  • Trying to please people is easy, doing nice thing and stuff for them. But my father always saying, “In everything you do, do it for the glory of our GOD”. Truly, It’s not satisfying to please people, but once you truly please God in everything you do. You’ll see his wonderful love on You.

  • Thank you for posting it, I’m encouraged. It reminds me of His perfect and complete love. We really should stop struggling and try to see ourselves from His perspective. We all are loved deeply by Him. So sweet!

    • We are fearfully and wonderfully made; why should we care what other people think of us? So true!

  • I came across this post at a time when I really needed a reminder of this; thank you so much for reminding me. Sometimes, I forget that what others think really doesn’t matter, what matters is my relationship with God. Thank you.

    • It’s not easy. But with God’s strength, we can overcome it! Just like in Max Lucado’s book “You Are Special” 🙂

  • This is such an important article for teenagers because so many teens are more concerned about what brand their jeans are than how they treat others. If more teens were aware that there is a higher power up there seeing how they treat others, then jeans and brands might not matter to them at all.

  • This so relates to our modern world. Way to many people care about themselves. Let us remind ourselves that we are not the most important person. God is, so let’s show him how much we love him.

  • Wow, I totally agree! So many young people struggle with this, and it’s so easy to fall into the acceptance trap. I find myself doing this so often, and I have to stop and pull myself up.
    Thank you so much for this article, it gave me the wake-up call that I needed!

rebelling against low expectations

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