I stepped out of the bathroom. I had just washed my face and put on my PJ’s when I walked backed into the bedroom where my friends were gathered in the walk-in closet all giggling.
“Hey! What are you guys doing? What’s happening in there?” They just giggled, “Hold on Jenny, we will be right there.”
I was seventeen, and we were having a simple slumber party. Nothing unusual about that on a Friday night after a game in high school. This time something felt off. I was being excluded in a way I couldn’t even name. These were a few of my very best friends. I knew they loved me, and I couldn’t think of a single reason why they would huddle in a closet and intentionally leave me out. But the pain of that moment made me feel rejected the rest of the night. I wanted to go home; yet I also wanted to stay. I wanted be part even though it felt obvious I was on the “outs” that night.
Have you ever felt that? I’m in, but I’m not. I belong, until I don’t. I’m included, until it stops. It can happen without warning or reason. It can hurt deeply AND, I have learned over time it CAN be for our good.
What I learned about that night is my friends were in the closet doing lines of Crystal Meth. Yes. They were getting high. As I slipped away to the bathroom the girls took the opportunity while I wasn’t looking to do the things they knew I would likely not do. I was protected.
I think we often see acceptance as inclusion. And when we are included, we are then in collaboration. If this is true then it means we are only accepted when we are asked to participate. And that is a big fat lie! Our acceptance comes from God the father regardless of our efforts or our outcomes. But because we often define being accepted by being included and being included means being in collaboration, we then feel rejection.
This definition of acceptance will mean every time it’s violated I will experience rejection. If we can recognize this is false and our acceptance is assured in the adoption of Jesus as our savior, father and friend there is nothing to be violated. In fact, in this very situation the seeming rejection was actually protection, and I was graciously set apart. God meant for me to be rejected that night. The door was shut not so that I would be set aside, but to be set apart.
So the next time you are not invited to participate and that causes you feeling a little excluded PERHAPS you are being set apart.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
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