About the Author

Kristen Strong, author of Back Roads to Belonging and Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend offering meaningful encouragement for each season of life so you can see it with hope instead of worry. She and her US Air Force veteran husband, David, have three children and live in Colorado...

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  1. Kristen,
    Oh Kristen, how I wish I had your post and this wisdom 30+ years ago when I moved to one of those towns where everyone grew up there and I was clearly an “outsider”. I did not have great grandparents who farmed in that region so I was just another one of those invading relocated people. When we bought our house, no one showed up with a bundt cake or even a welcoming”Hello”. It was clear that I was an outsider.

    I was stubborn so eventually through work and belonging to a new church (not the one that stood at the corner on town square), I slowly nosed my way in. I think I would have saved myself a lot of grief, agony, and tears if I could have read this…if I would have known that, with God, I am always an insider (at least an insider where it really counted). When we know we are already loved, I believe it takes away that need to force, strive, earn others acceptance and approval. I also think it makes us more approachable when we don’t seem so “needy”. I don’t know if this is an apt analogy, but kind of like how insects are drawn to the light, when we have the peace and light of God’s love in us, people are automatically drawn to us. Great wisdom, as usual, Kristen!
    Blessings,
    Bev xo

    • Such good thoughts here, Bev. I think the thing to remember is that when there are those seasons when a safe place we are “in” and feel a member of remains elusive, this doesn’t mean there is anything intrinsically wrong with us as we are already in with Christ. It’s just a season we are in, not a personal fact.

      Love this, love you.

  2. I have come to believe that I am a person who will never fit in with others. It has been this way forever and no matter what I do, it doesn’t seem to go away. I kinda think the sooner I accept that, the better. I’m sure there must be othrrs like me who have, time and again, put themselves in a vulnerable place only to get hurt. This heart can’t take anymore breaks.

    • Becky, I’m praying for you this morning that God will send you that one sweet special friend who will help you feel a part. In the meantime, know that you are His chosen and beloved daughter, and we love you too. Blessings.

    • Dearest Becky,
      I am praying for you right now, too. The lies and deceit of the devil and his destructive ways (often his these ways come through other people) are stealing from you; and he uses many ways to accomplish his purpose of stealing, destroying and killing.
      Please know that if JESUS is YOUR SAVIOR and LORD, HE cherishes you, treasurers you, values you and wants you to have peace and joy as only HE can give to you HIS beloved child; you are precious to HIM ~ one of a kind and HE has plans for your good. But, HE uses others to help you, also. First and foremost HIS HOLY SPIRIT to guide you into all truth. HE is the way, the truth and the life. So go to HIS WORD and ask HIM to lead you to the where HE wants you to go for the encouragement of HIS unconditional love for you and anything you might need to repent of so you are free to receive HIS truths. It may be only that you need to repent of believing the lie that you are worthless. Also ask HIM to send you one person who can help you to believe HIS truth about yourself. Cling to HIS WORD, cling to a verse that you can keep bringing to your mind when these bad thoughts come into your mind.
      I have had long periods of times when I was very lonely and rejected, also. Your situation is probably worse. But HE brought me through eventually to a place where now I do have many godly, faithful and loving friends. You also have to believe that because of JESUS, you are definitely worth having people love you! Some people drag us down so much and they are not being who they should be for the LORD or people. And we hurt. But GOD can orchestrate and bring you to a new way of thinking and new situations with people that are for your good. Don’t give up, that is what the enemy wants. GOD does not want you to give up!
      Ro. 15:13
      NJ

      • “Also ask HIM to send you one person who can help you to believe HIS truth about yourself. Cling to HIS WORD, cling to a verse that you can keep bringing to your mind when these bad thoughts come into your mind.” ~ I am doing this very thing right now–for Becky and all our sisters who are walking lonely roads right now.

        Thank you, NJ.

    • Becky,
      I have friends who’s souls have been hurt perhaps as yours was. They have difficulty trusting that someone really loves them and feel it’s easier/safer not to make friends so they won’t get hurt. I’ve gone through short periods of those feelings myself but I don’t like to stay there feeling that way. God has been faithful to lift me out of that darkness when I ask Him. I encourage you to seek Jesus with your whole heart and ask Him to fill you with His Spirit and bring you peace and contentment in Him alone. Please read His word daily, pray and ask Him to reveal any darkness in your own heart so you are able to walk away from it and live the life He has for you to the full. Trust in Him, I pray! Prov 3:5-6
      My prayer for you, “Father, God in Heaven, please fill Becky with your love and light and lead her to more love and acceptance than she’s ever known. And help her know in her heart that YOU have answered her prayers. Amen!”
      Tina

    • Becky, you are not alone. There are absolutely others who have felt or still feel like you. I’m one of them. I’ve served in church, become active at work, served in organizations and on committees. Yet I often walk away feeling like if I were to never come back no one would even notice. All personalities aren’t created the same, but they all have the same Creator, and He makes NO mistakes. I know it feels hard sometimes. It certainly does for me. But during those moments when I feel left out yet again, I become so much more appreciative of the moments when I KNOW I’m deeply loved. And I realize those moments should be ALL moments because GOD LOVES ME. And He loves you too. I can’t really explain why some always feel like the square peg trying to weasel our way into a round hole. I wish I could. I think some of it is just perception. The enemy of our soul wants desperately to convince us that we’re less important and simply LESS THAN all those around us, but that’s a great big LIE. I’ll bet you have amazing gifts that are GREATLY apprecoarsd and welcomed in so many circles. You just have to let the truth of God about you speak LOUDER than the lies of the enemy being told to you. I don’t know if we’ll ever feel like the popular girl in school or the life of the party in our circles. Maybe we won’t. But whatever it is you go – church, work, home, community – know that you are MEANT to be there. Be in the moment. Share all of your gift. And when it’s time, move on. I pray the Lord will guard your heart today. I pray the words of this awesome community of women will wash over you and give you peace. I pray you’ll find great joy and satisfaction in our Father who knit you together ever so intentionally in your mother’s womb and had a life designed just for you. We are a peculiar people. And by that very definition we are not to fit in everywhere. Trust me, that’s something I struggle with because we were made for community and we all want to fit in. No one wants to be left out. But sometimes being peculiar, not quite fitting in is more like Christ than we realize. He “fit in” nowhere, but he was comfortable in His assignment and in the places it took Him. We have to help each other to feel and do the same. Have an AWESOME day Becky!!! You FIT in here. You are welcome in this community.

      • Forgive the typos. Smart phones aren’t always so smart, and I think my texting thumbs were moving faster than the autocorrect could think.

      • Monica, thank you for what you wrote to Becky. I’m in her shoes too, and your words are so comforting. I’m printing them out so I can read them often.

        • You’re welcome Kathy. I swear I need to print and post those words myself. I sometimes seem to forget these truths more often than I remember them. I thank God for being faithful to remind us both. 🙂

    • Becky, my heart aches for you. I am praying for you today. May God reveal Himself to you in ways that you’ve never seen Him before. And may He be your comfort in this lonely time. May you hear His truths about you and receive them. You are cherished. You are loved passionately and completely. You are valued by Your heavenly Father. I am praying He will place a kindred spirit in your life.

    • Becky,
      I was not going to reply because I read so many beautiful prayers and replies back to you. The enemy told me that I could not write a reply back as the others did. I will not listen the enemy.

      You are a child of God and belong to Him. Always remind yourself of that and know that this life here is temporary and that you have a place in heaven with our eternal God.

      Blessings to you!

    • Becky,

      You are a precious child of God. He loves you enough to rejoice over you with singing. May God send a special friend your way. Someone to do life with. People haven’t gotten to know the real Becky and the loss is theirs. You have plenty to offer! Praying for you sweet sister!

      (((((Hugs)))))

  3. Thank you for this invitation to look at the world through my gospel lens — and find that God has already thrown the doors open wide and I’m SO in with Him.

  4. Beautifully said, Kristin. I’ve moved around a lot and–the older you get, it seems the harder it is to connect. What’s that about? Busy lives and families makes for less time to invest, so it takes longer to build those bonds. I have a heart for helping others feel included and accepted. Lovely post, thanks for sharing. 🙂

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you! So wise. Just be still and know that He is God and He is in control. I need to relax and let Him take me in. Appreciate your kind words and encouragement. Shalom!

  6. Kristen,
    Thank you for writing your beautiful message. I have experienced the “outside” feelings–even if others may be trying to help me fit in. I confess I am the type of person who feels guilty about pitying myself and letting myself feel the “oh, poor me” feelings. But it happens, nonetheless. I’ve been encouraged throughout my 52 years on earth to count my blessings and thank and praise God for the air I breathe, eye sight, legs, arms, hands, feet to walk, a family, a job, my health, a home, physical food, spiritual food from His Word, and JESUS who saved us…you get my point. 🙂 When we praise God for our blessings that we may some days take for granted, I believe He is glorified and His Spirit fills our souls with contentment and/or a gracious heart for right where He has us. Again, thank you for this reminder–I love your writing and the picture of you and your friend in navy blue. Your smile and hair are gorgeous! I praise God for you and your heart that writes! Have a blessed day!

  7. Everything about this gets me choked up. You are the friend with the widest arms and who always, always, always makes the women around her feel welcomed in. Love you so!

  8. I tell you this feels like the story of my life. Sometimes I’m perfectly fine with the narrative. Other times, not so much. Lately, I feel like I’ve been in that place – outside looking in but desperately wanting to connect – far too often. I don’t know why it’s so challenging to hold onto the truth you so perfectly wrote about in this post. We are ALL in. But when I’m sitting in a room full of women, feeling far less than qualified than all of them, quietly comparing backgrounds and credentials and thinking, “I’m sure they’re all wondering how I got here,” it’s so hard to remember that my Heavenly Father invited me in. And, because of Him, I’m more than enough. Thank you for being transparent and sharing your feelings. They’ve certainly been a blessed reminder.

    • Monica, your words here and in response to Becky above not only inspire but motivate me to keep my mind and heart in the right place as I work to know I belong. May you and I both hold onto your wisdom when we are in those situations where the rubber meets the road–like in a room full of women. May we be content with the work God assigns us in each of our own lanes as we remember that God has most definitely invited us in.

      Just treasuring your words here, Monica. Endless thanks!

      • Kristen, thank YOU for reminding me of the blessing of transparency. We strengthen others and ourselves when we share our struggles.

  9. Thanks for reminding us we all belong even when we feel we don’t. Sometimes I think we are looking at the ways we don’t fit in instead of the ways we do. We are all humans, experience the same emotions and stages, and more. We are so alike in so many ways. But we often feel we don’t fit in because our past or experience was different. A homeschooled feels like the outsider with a group of public schoolers. A mom feels like an outsider with working moms. I had a very untypical childhood and for years felt like I didn’t belong because our family was so different. And yes, I have different experiences from other people with the childhood, but as time goes on I am also learning I have so much in common with others too. No one has a perfect life or all the typical experiences or past.

    • “I have different experiences from other people with the childhood, but as time goes on I am also learning I have so much in common with others too. ” ~ I love this, Theresa. Thanks so much for showing up and sharing here.

  10. How great is the love the Father has LAVISHED on US! That we should be called the CHILDREN
    ( daughters) of God for that is what we are!!! 1 John 3:1( emphasis mine)
    What an amazing promise! To be a part of God’s family is such an incredible gift!!
    Big hugs and many blessings to those who feel like outsiders..
    YOU are chosen
    YOU are loved
    YOU are HIS!!! ❤️

  11. Kristen, thank you. Yesterday I made the momentous decision to resign from the board that was my last tie to the oil and gas industry. I always struggled because I never felt like I ‘fit’. I wasn’t an engineer, my educational background wasn’t even in oil and gas (I studied Theology!). After reading this I realized that what I “brought to the table” was my ability to talk to people, to hear their hearts, to be an encourager and a voice of reason and hope in a volatile work environment. I wish we lived closer to each other – I would love to sit and talk face to face with you.

  12. This post touches the tender places in my heart. I grew up dealing with peer rejection. And those scars impact the way a girl sees herself and those around her. For most of my life I’ve felt like I was the one on the outside who wasn’t good enough to fit in. It’s taken years for God to help me see that in Him, I am enough. Because of Jesus. Because He loves me with a crazy-passionate, all-consuming love. It’s taken years to allow Him to erase the lies that became a part of who I am and allow Him to write His truth on the walls of my mind.

    When the Air Force moved us to Colorado the first time (many years ago), I had the hardest time making friends. I would reach out to people, but no one would reciprocate. It hurt. The loneliness brought me to tears some days. But God. God wanted me to come to the place of seeking Him first. It was in the lonely time that I began to understand how to seek Him for affirmation. I’m still a work in progress in this area of my life. It’s easy to think I can only get “in” by others’ approval. But the thing is, I am already approved by God. And that is enough.

    Now to live that truth out every single day. 🙂

    Love your post, Kristen!

  13. I could have felt that way about venturing into cyberspace with a blog. I had heard all the fears and phobias. But I felt I had something to offer, and I enjoy helping others. Sometimes, I think that blog looks good, and am tempted to think I’m not good enough at computing. I know that’s not entirely true, even if I’m not totally computer savvy. Besides, we weren’t created to blend in but to stand out for Jesus.

  14. Sitting here feeling left out among a “sea” of moms…never feeling like I quite fit in…having been gossiped about…struggling to stay above the fray. Thank you for all of your wonderful words of encouragement! Going to print out many and post where I can read daily. Such a joy to my Spirit this day! 🙂

  15. 17 “But ‘he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.'”*
    [*Jeremiah 9:24 – “But let him who glories glory in this,
    That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
    For in these I delight,” says the Lord.”]
    18 For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
    2 Corinthians 10:17,18

    ~ I thank GOD for summing everything you all have said up so concisely!! (And all I did was search the word “approved”)! I’m going to put this verse on an index card for myself!!!

  16. P.S.
    …This is how my brain put the emphasis on those verses (punctuation, capitalization and emphasis mine) … (also I apologize for the duplication, just trying to pass on the “ah-ha” GOD gave me).

    But he who glories…
    LET HIM GLORY IN THE LORD*.

    (from *Jeremiah 9:24 –
    But let him who glories…
    GLORY IN THIS:
    That he:
    Understands and knows
    ME
    That: I AM THE LORD
    exercising:
    lovingkindness,
    judgment,
    and righteousness
    in the earth.
    For in THESE I DELIGHT,”
    says THE LORD.

    For NOT
    he who commends
    himself is approved, but…

    WHOM THE LORD COMMENDS.

    2 Corinthians 10:17,18

  17. Wow, this is deffently right in time. I am struggling right now. I have never fit in, I never felt like I belonged. My mother is really out going and people think I should be just like her. I currently do not have any friends. I have tried going to bible study and I don’t fit in. Going to church has been so lonely. I always sit by myself. I am so tired.

  18. This was just what I needed to hear! I’m currently trying to figure out what my purpose is here in Indiana. I know I’ve got a lot to offer our new church, but I just don’t have direction on how I’m supposed to proceed with any of it yet. It’s like you wrote this just for me.

    I love how God works, especially when it’s through a friend!

    Love ya!

  19. Yes I have felt this way my whole life. What hurts is to not be accepted in church and church groups. I am tired of the cliques. I have tried to join in and am just continually ignored.

    • Dear Kelly,
      Cliques are exactly what isn’t Godly. Please read all the above replies to Becky. They are beautiful and encouraging beyond imagination. Also, they are Godly reminders of the Love of Jesus from REAL LOVING WOMEN OF GOD not cliquey women.
      Fill yourself with His Word instead of the desire of others. I have found when I completely focus on His words And His love for me, I get filled with an awesome joy in my soul that is way better than any surface happiness one of those cliques can give me. Plus, they’re usually fake kindness. I get it…I read your post and thought I didn’t post that but it is how I also feel, Ha! BTW my name is Kelly too!