Imagine you’re sitting in the corner of a room all by yourself.
The storm and the pouring rain outside perfectly reflects how you’re feeling. Close by, a crowd of happy people laugh together with their friends. Your heart aches as you wonder why nobody wants you as a friend, nobody wants to hang out with you, no one even says hello.
Thoughts run through your head. “Did I do something wrong? Am I too boring? Do I say the wrong things? Am I annoying?
Why does nobody like me?”
For some people, it really might take imagination to put themselves in this situation. For many people, though, it’s all too familiar — because you’ve been there. You know what it feels like. You understand the pain. You get it.
Though surrounded by people, you often feel so alone.
I’m guessing that none of this is a surprise to you. It doesn’t surprise me either. Loneliness, frustration, sadness, these are just part of life in a fallen world, right? So why am I talking about it? Why not just accept this as a normal part of life?
Christian brothers and sisters, we can do better than this.
We are called to do better than this, expected to do better than this, commanded to do better than this. I’m not at all surprised that loneliness, frustration, and sadness exist in this broken world. But I am surprised that these things are so prevalent even among Christians.
No, my point is not to convince you into believing a prosperity gospel. I recognize that suffering is a part of the Christian life that we are called to endure faithfully as Christ did for us.
But I also realize that we as young people who profess faith in Christ must be doing something wrong when in our churches, youth groups, Christian universities, schools, or co-ops, and whatever other Christian circles you may be part of, other young people are practically dying on the inside because nobody seems to care about them.
The apostle Paul wrote this to the church in Ephesus:
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call — one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:1-6).
And this to the church in Thessalonica:
“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing” (1 Thessalonians 1:3).
And this to the church in Rome:
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Romans 15:5-7).
And this to the church in Colossae:
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:12-15).
We, as Christians, are part of the body of Christ.
We are to be united by our common hope in the gospel. We have been saved by the grace, mercy, love, and compassion of God, and so we are called to show grace, mercy, love, and compassion to others, especially fellow believers.
How can we be united as the body of Christ if we are divided into our own little cliques?
How are we being imitators of Christ if we don’t even talk to anybody but our close friends?
So I urge you: strive to love each other, to have compassion, to genuinely care about other people.
Befriend the new kid. Sit by the person who’s sitting by himself. Talk to the girl or guy standing in the corner.
It might be hard to go sit down by a stranger (especially if you’re shy like me). It may be out of your comfort zone to walk up to someone you don’t know and start a conversation. Building friendships will take time and effort that you might prefer to spend on something else.
But you never know how big of an impact these little hard things might make in somebody else’s life.
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Great article Olivia! I have been seeing so many things recently about getting out of my comfort zone, so maybe God is trying to tell me something. I love all the scripture references you gave since I always love it when people back up what they are saying with Scripture. Thank you for an amazing article!
Ahhh! This is so GOOD! Thank you!
This was a great reminder Olivia! 🙂
Great article Olivia! I love how much scripture you shared. It is cool how you picked verses written to the different churches too (:
You are wise beyond your years, Olivia!! This is something I’ve been thinking about lately. I often pass by opportunities to talk to people who seem lonely, and then regret it later. I’m learning that my “comfort zone” is a selfish and unproductive place to be. Thank you for those convicting words and Bible verses.
Ya… She’s a really good writer. To add on to her point I will add in, it ain’t ok to accept people but ignore them over other people 90% of the time. That’s what i’ve noticed can be an issue as a person who don’t fit in.
This is a wonderful post, Olivia! I have moved so much that I’m often the new kid, and it’s definitely not fun. I think I can clearly remember every time someone has come and talked to me because each time, I was incredibly grateful! It can be a small effort or a big effort, but it still makes a huge difference to the person on the receiving end!
Really good article!! Thanks for sharing this!!
I was that shy kid in the corner for years during youth group and homeschool co-op. Now I’m older, more confident, and most importantly I understand how yuck it feels. There was one older girl in my youth group who would always stop and talk to me for a minute–talk to everyone–and I hope I’m filling her place now. 🙂
This was really good. I began reading it feeling that I’m often at the receiving end of these issues and finished realizing where I too have neglected to promote unity and friendships among Christian peers.
As a somewhat introverted person, it can be extremely difficult to muster the courage to talk to someone I don’t know very well. But I’ve found that it’s usually rewarding and this has convicted me to stop whining and do it more often.
Well done! 🙂
ya.. i’m glad to have Olivia as my younger sister.
Good job sis!
This article makes a good point …
When I am out, I’m often looking for that friendly face, for someone who might like to talk to me if I go up to them, but what about that lonely face?
I tend to assume that if someone is off by themselves that’s because they want to be, (and sometimes they do, I’m sure) but when I’m off by myself it’s rarely out of choice, but out of uncertainty. Maybe instead of looking for a place to get in with the others, I should look for someone else who is on the outside. It’s something to think about.
That’s rather a scary idea for me because, since I don’t like to be intrusive, I tend to avoid people who look shy and uncomfortable. Talking to shy people (especially since I’m a bit shy myself) can be really hard.
However, instead of focusing on myself and how I want to join in, I could focus on others and their needs. It’s something to think about, that’s for sure. 🙂
That’s really good advice whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between……..I could totally do this, as an extrovert, and draw people in with my friends, or talk to them more privately, depending on their comfort level. I try to do this anyway, but you just encouraged me to do it more, thank you!!!!
You’re welcome, and thank you! Encouraging you is encouraging to me too. 🙂 Thanks for reminding me of this. 🙂
I’m well acquainted with that lonely feeling, just wishing someone would talk to me. I come from a family that moved about every year, and changed churches every few months. I’m really shy, so it’s hard for me to approach new people, but there were a couple times when I overcame my fear and would try to befriend someone else I noticed was by theirself.
I know that lonely, unwanted feeling…… i had felt like that for a year or more where just no one wanted to be my friend. And now I notice people at church and at school where they eat or sit by themselves. I have a hard time talking or sitting next to them especially when the girl has a mean reputation.