You're imperfect, and you're wired for struggle, but
you are worthy of love and belonging.
Here’s a confession—I want to fit in. Yes, it’s true. Turns out I'm not the only one. As a child, I remember desperately wanting friends but I was incredibly shy—the type of shy girl who hides in her mothers skirt all the time. My mom describes me as a child who was afraid of just about everything. So you can imagine that making friends would probably be a painful task. And you would be correct. I got lucky here and there with kids my own age who lived in my townhouse complex. My mom liked to play tennis and had friends with children my own age—so they were destined to play Barbies with me whether they liked it or not. Making friends? Painful. We moved the summer before I started Kindergarten so neighborhood friends were gone. I thought that was the end.
And then Kindergarten started…that was when I met my first best friend—in the bathroom. We were in the our individual stalls and one of us (I can’t remember exactly who) said, “Want to be friends?!” We both agreed. Well, that was easy! The hard part was going over to her house for our first “play date”—though we didn’t use that term in the 70s. We just went over to our friend's house to play. I thought I was going to be swallowed up whole while on her front steps after ringing the doorbell— a total commitment to wanting to be seen. Oh the agony!! No one answered. Oh thank heavens…that was much better than the possibility of being rejected. She agreed to be friends while in school but maybe that was a cruel joke. I think my mom and I did call ahead but the family may have gone some where last minute. The next play date was successful and for several years I had a best friend.
Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.
The friends I made at my church camp in my childhood have a similar place in my heart—the only difference is that I get to see them on a regular basis since our camp is all ages. I see friends there who have been my friend for decades—even all the way back to when I was five years old. It’s pretty amazing. And yet, the five year old me creeps out from time to time. That part of me who is scared to death about being accepted. Yes, it’s true. I’m sure I’m the only one out of 7.4 billion people on the planet who feels this way who worries about such things (sarcasm). These friends have been there for me during the time I referenced above as well as all (five) back and forth across country during my tween/teen years. And yet…that scared little girl surfaces from time to time. She resurfaces when I learn some new aspect of myself that I would like to share with the world. She resurfaces when I have to speak up for others in the face of injustice. She resurfaces when I need to what's right but not always easy. She's there for this and more. I've learned how to keep her quiet most days but dang if she doesn't come out to play at the most inconvenient times.