I know the feeling of walking into a room and your presence going unnoticed. I know what it’s like to have friends walk away, siblings drift apart, and job promotions pass you by. I’ve been trapped in the torturous cycle of beauty comparison and house envy. So often, I feel like I am on the outside. No matter what I do or how much I try, I cannot seem to find my place. I cannot drop the weight, finish the task, or make people happy. I know the feeling of pressing my face on a glass wall, always looking in but never good enough to enter.
For all of us outsiders, the call is to lean in close and to know how God sees us. We have to remember the desperate lengths God went to in order to make the broken incredibly beautiful. When we lose sight of how God really sees us, we actually cannot see at all. We need our eyes refocused and adjusted to see truth. It is so easy to become self-focused and turn inwards. Yet God wants to take our backs bent crippling over and stretch us up outward and open to Him. So for today, if you are feeling self-critical or discouraged, ugly or unwanted, let us remember how God pursued those who felt just like us.
Arched over the entire Bible, God writes a love story for the one on the outside. Hagar was a servant, cast out and alone. God found her, pursued her, and rescued her. Leah, her name meaning “weary,” was the ugly sister and married to a man who did not love her back. Yet God saw her deepest heart’s desire and blessed her with an abundance of children.
The Lord saw Hannah, sobbing and heart sick for a baby. He heard her and answered. Esther, an orphan, became a queen and saved a nation. Mary, mother of Jesus, was not even given a proper place to birth a baby, but God provided constant provision for her. The woman at the well, covered in shame sought refreshment and reprieve. When she came face to face with Jesus, He told her everything she had ever done, and she became free. Martha was anxious and concerned with work, and Jesus invited her to rest.
Over and over again, God moves towards the forgotten, lonely, and unwanted. Over and over again, He sees the hearts of the beaten up, battered, and afraid. He goes out of His way to meet them in their fear and desperation. God is for the outsider, and we can find ourselves in each story of God’s rescue.
How many of us are abandoned, broken, and put out? How many of us huddle at our own shame wells and hope no one sees our sins? How often do we beg God to turn what is infertile to new life?
God is after us, friends. In our places of greatest despair, He chases us down. In our quiet longings and greatest defeats, He moves toward us. If you are feeling discouraged today, look upwards and backwards. Look at all the women in the Bible who have walked the tethered path before you. Lean in close to Christ leaning in toward you. Perhaps your point of pain is the intersection He is waiting at to bring you inside and into His deep, unending love for you.
God is for the outsider, and we can find ourselves in each story of God’s rescue. -Anjuli Paschall: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I am so thankful that Jesus continually pursues me with His furious love. He is not daunted by my shame, guilt, doubt, or unbelief…He just keeps pursuing. The enemy would like nothing more than for us to become self-absorbed, concentrating on what separates us from God and from others. Then we become isolated and fair game…like the weakest of the herd. All the more reason to lean into Him and to ask Him point blank, “Lord will you work your unfathomable love deep into my heart so that I know without a doubt that I am loved and beautiful in your sight?” I’ve asked the Lord this prayer and it is one He longs to answer. Thanks for letting us know we are in good company.
I hope I get to meet you in person one day and hug you! Your kind comments are always a blessing.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
That sounds great…I’m a huge hugger!!
Sending love and of course, ((HUGS)),
Michele Morin says
Beautiful truth, Anjuli–and I’m grateful that God is FOR the outsider, that he scoops us up and holds us close at the times when we feel the most unlovable. I want to be part of the scooping process in real life here on the ground, by my words and by my deeds.
Thank you for words that encourage me to lean into that calling.
Me too! I’m so thankful god is for the outsider. I’ve been there my whole life.
Kasey McFarland says
I needed to be reminded of this today. Thank you so much.
I need this reminder all the time. I’m glad God used these words to encourage you.
I did an in-depth study of Rachel and Leah. The Bible does not say that Leah was “ugly” as so many are mistakenly led to believe. It states that Rachel was beautiful in shape and form, however, Leah had weak eyes. (depending on which translation you read from) This possibly meant she could not see well and needed glasses; something they did not have back then. Or perhaps she had a birth defect such as a lazy eye or cross eyed. Birth defects such as missing limbs and such were seen as a curse or punishment given by God and therefore those people were often avoided.
Leah had “weak eyes” as stated in many translations of the Bible. But nowhere in any translation is it stated that she was “ugly.”
I do not believe it was meant as a literal translation. I believe the focus of that sentence was that Leah was unwanted and not the preferred sister. I have felt “ugly” and not good enough when someone else was preferred over me on various occasions. Thank you, Anjuli, for reminding us that we are all beautiful, wanted and pursued by God.
I agree with you, Teresa. I have felt unwanted like Leah my entire life. It was always my sister who got the guys, or my best friend. I was always overlooked. It is still hard for me to believe that God would pursue me, choose me, or want me for anything. But I know He does, and He shows it. I just had to speak up for our dear sister Leah, and her always being considered “ugly” even when God’s Word says otherwise. By speaking up for her, I am also speaking up for myself, as well as others who consider themselves to be like her. 🙂
Mary Geisen says
God never stops pursuing and inviting us to join Him. It’s one of the greatest promises and reassuring truths. Thank you for your beautiful words today.
Thank you for being here. I’m so grateful for the promises of God as well.
Thank you for this message. I’ve been so focus on what people think, how I look and shame of my past. Thank you father for never leaving me. Help me to set my mind on your truth. Fill my heart with love for you, myself and others. Help see through your eyes.
Thank you so much for this reminder and reminding us of all of the women that God sought out. I think as women we often have these feelings and just need this reminder how we were made by God and seen in his eyes. Such an eye opener, when we do !
Hope y’all have a blessed day and remember you ARE loved and beautiful,
yes and amen! Thank you for being apart of this community!
I don’t have adequate words…. this is how I’ve felt since I was a young girl. That first paragraph..whew. You articulated the very fabric of my thoughts that I’ve never been fully able to express.
It’s always good to know we are not walking solo on this journey.
Peace and Blessings to you.
You are never alone. Walking this weary and hopeful journey with you.
The timing of this message coincides perfectly with deep struggles with these feelings for some time, amplified since I uprooted and moved to another state a few months ago. As someone who goes to great lengths to make my friends (and even strangers sometimes) feel wanted and loved, it is so disheartening that it ends up/feels one way with many of them. Sometimes that is because of life. To see everyone else getting new, positive prayers answered and amazing opportunities, and me drifting (despite prayer) aimlessly, seems so wrong. Trusting God right now is like putting your hope in the wind, as strange as that sounds.
So the timing of this message was just right. Thank you. ❤️
I am so glad God met you RIGHT when you needed Him. His timing is perfect. Always.
Anjuli, I am so grateful for your encouraging words! We serve an amazing God! Love you friend ❤️
Gina Quintanilla says
Anjuli, this really spoke to me this morning! I have felt this way my whole life. I always feel like I’m on the outside looking in, I’m not good enough for my friends and I don’t matter to anyone. I am made to feel like I’m part of the group and then no one talks to me and I have to watch them all talk, laugh and have a good time while I sit in my classroom. Sometimes I may read things wrong, but I have never really felt a part of anything. I have gone through cancer, surgery on my foot, ended up in the hospital for a blood clot in my leg that went to my lung, hospitalized for high calcium and no one even called to see how I was or came to see me. That’s how I know that I don’t really matter to the people who say they are my friends. I constantly feel forgotten and unwanted. I try really hard to fit in, only to end up on the outside looking in. I am going to have surgery on my other foot over the summer and I will be wheelchair bound for 6 to 8 weeks and I can almost guarantee that no one will check to see how I am. That is what hurts the most!
Dear Gina…I was in the midst of writing out my own angst when I stopped to read the article and then read your comment. I shredded my letter, and felt my pain was shallow compared to how you are feeling. I suppose we all, at some time or other, feel like the “ugly duckling”. In my own despair, I was asking was I never to realize true happiness in this life? But maybe like the ugly duckling, we have to wait for our heavenly Father to grow us up into the beautiful swan. I pray, Gina, that Abba Father will send someone into your life who will appreciate who you are, and who will be someone who will “come along side you” and bear you up when your need arises. May He Who knows our every need, supply yours. Blessings, sister.
wanda davis says
My name is Wanda. If you would let me know more about where you are and your needs, maybe I can help. I am an RN and have done Home Health before. This is my email address if you want to connect with me. I hear you, and I’m sorry that no one steps up. So many of our Christian siblings are so wrapped up in their fake ‘Christian’ lives. Try to find a small group of truly servant hearts, even if it’s outside your comfort zone.
Thank you so much for this today it is so appreciated
Becky Keife says
“When we lose sight of how God really sees us, we actually cannot see at all.” Yes. Thank you for this, friend. You are beautiful and wanted and welcomed here…we all are. xx
Theresa Boedeker says
Thanks for preaching this truth to our thirsty and broken souls today.
Anjuli, a beautiful post and reminder that we need to see ourselves as God sees us. All the doubt, criticism and negativity we have towards ourselves has no place in our lives. Glad to know we are not alone in these thoughts. Leaning into God where I feel at peace xx
You are never alone. I’m glad these words could meet you in your loneliness.
Right now i feel my faith is running on empty. I just lost my best friend suddenly my children are distinct. Moving forward I’m retired i just feel alone. Is their anyone out there that feels like me ?
Beth Williams says
Such poignant truth spoken here. Much needed also. Society looks at the outside appearance & only applauds trophies, wealth & glamour. We can feel left out if we’re not among the “movers & shakers”. Praise God He looks at our hearts. He sees us as we truly are-lovable. After all He is the one who created us. He knows us intimately. Thankful for a shepherd who keeps watch & keeps chasing after us when we stray. 1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Don’t let the devil get a hold of you & bring discouragement. Look to the many women in the Bible that Jesus talked with & helped that were deemed “outsiders”. You are a beautiful child of almighty God who can do mighty things for Him.
Bonnie Gray says
Hi Anjuli! I’m moved by your vulnerable words, speaking from a place that is honest and also touched by what God has whispered to you. Thank you for sharing from your heart and journey. I’m looking forward to seeing you in just a little bit at the (in)courage retreat and enjoy your company and get to know you better on this week’s journey, friend! 🙂 kindreds, Bonnie