Our world is obsessed with this ideal of “perfection”, and making everyone as close to that ideal as possible.
It’s all about being the coolest or the most popular, about making it seem like you’ve got it all together and you’ve got the most amazing life. This is stressed even more to teenagers, who are constantly striving to compare to their peers. It’s all about being like everyone else, about matching up to society’s ideas of how we should look, think, and act. It’s all about fitting in.
Don’t Try to Fit In
Frankly, I’m tired of the idea of “fitting in”, for a number of reasons.
First of all, fitting in is the most unauthentic thing you can do. By definition, you’re changing yourself or some aspects of yourself to become what other people think you can be. It’s taking your hyped-up highlight reel and pretending that all the mess behind the scenes never exists.
Fitting in isn’t about being you at all. That’s a problem, and it’s one that leads into my next reason.
Fitting in is just about the last thing God has called us to do. He’s called us to be the light and salt in our world. He’s called us to go spread His love and be a disciple to the lost around us. He’s called us to follow His purpose and His path for our lives.
When we try to “fit in”, we’re doing none of that.
How can you be the light if you’re trying to blend in with the darkness, or the salt when you’re letting yourself be diluted by the world around? How can you spread His love and disciple to the lost if you’re so busy trying to fit in? Or how can you follow His path when you’re following the crowd?
The answer? You can’t.
The entire idea of “fitting in” takes away everything that makes you yourself. You’re robbing God of using you in the unique way you’ve been created for Him to use. You’re hiding your purpose. You’re drowning out your light.
Finally, fitting in is exhausting. The effort it takes to be someone outside of your natural self is taxing. Is it worth it? Depends on who you ask. Sometimes it is, for a while, but it’s never going to satisfy you. You’re always going to be craving one more compliment, one more approval, one more acknowledgment that, cool, you exist.
Acceptance and community is something we all need. I’m not denying that. However, we’re not going to get the kind of fellowship we need by fitting in. There’s a much better way, and it’s the way God actually designed us to connect.
It’s called belonging.
Unlike “fitting in”, “belonging” isn’t about what other people think of you. It’s not about being liked for what you’ve done or what you look like. It’s definitely not about making other people like you. Belonging is about being yourself and finding people you connect with naturally. Belonging isn’t about changing to fit society’s cookie-cutter mold, it’s about finding some other less-than-perfect people that are a lot like you.
Fitting in says “You need to be more than just ‘okay’”, but belonging says “It’s okay to not be okay”. When you belong, people care about you as a person. Not to say you can’t form friendships by trying to fit in, but that the entire basis of a community where you belong is based on genuine friendship. If you’ve connected, then you’re actually interested in being friends.
Belonging is effortless, too. There’s no expectations to be met, and you don’t need to constantly work to keep those connections.
Honestly, the experience of belonging is one of the most rewarding, relieving, and satisfying things. Finding other souls on this planet that you can connect with – a connection that isn’t based on accomplishments or how “cool” you seem to be – is amazing.
Belonging is what God designed us for – authentic and accepting community, where everyone is on the same playing field.
Belonging is about being you; the best you God has created you to be, because real friends don’t let their friends be fake with themselves, with others, and definitely not with God.
We weren’t created to fit in; how can we when each of us are unique in our own way? None of us are the same, nor can we become the same. In reality, “fitting in” isn’t truly possible. Belonging is. We don’t have to be the same to be equal. All we have to do is love one another.
So stop seeking the world’s approval at the cost of your own identity. It’s time we stop conforming. It’s time we stop trying so hard to fit in.
It’s time to come together, be radically different for the Lord, and stand out.