The other night my daughter had dance class after school. When she came home, I fixed her something to eat and we talked. Between bites, she described new dance moves she was learning and that she liked her classes. At once she rattled off a list of classes that a couple of her dance friends are taking. They were in addition to the ones that my daughter is taking.
Because she really isn’t a kid who looks around to see what everyone else has, and because I can’t ever leave well enough alone, I asked her some questions about her friends’ other classes, including what they were learning, when the classes met, how the subject came up, and the last and most important question, how did that make her feel?
She hesitated and softly said, “I feel like I wish I could take those classes too, but I guess I can’t.”
I knew where she was coming from. She adores these girls, and wants to be the same as them. Up to now it hasn’t made too much of a difference to my daughter that she is different than other kids; we don’t celebrate our differences too loudly, because frankly, we are not really that much different from people around us. But I get what she’s saying. Sometimes, you just want to do what your friends are doing. Sometimes, you just want to belong.
I wish that this was a feeling that we grew out of. I wish that I could tell my daughter that someday she won’t ever feel left out, that those pangs of loneliness and wanting to fit in would go away forever. They may not come on as strong and may fade more quickly, but as an adult I still get those feelings, and they aren’t too much fun.
In those difficult moments, like any other, I have learned to think about Christ and what he might be thinking about this situation. I imagine Jesus shaking his bearded head at me, tsk-tsking, “Andrea, really. You fit in. You’re in my family. My father chose you. You belong to me.”
Maybe the details of my vision are incorrect, but the words are comforting because they are true. We all fit in God’s family. There are no exclusions, and it doesn’t matter what we look like, or how many friends we have, or what kinds of dance classes we take. All we need is to accept God’s gift of Christ, and we belong.
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. John 1:12-13 (NLT)