I walked the two blocks to my home for lunch that day. It’s what I did every day. Not by choice, but by hunger. With four kids in our family, and money being tight, it wasn’t an option for me to eat school lunch.
I can’t quite remember the circumstances, but it was “Hat and Shades Day” in second grade. Since I didn’t arrive at school donning my hat and shades in the morning, I figured I would wear the hand-me-down black tulip-shaped hat and old pair of Dad’s sunglasses back to recess after my lunch at home.
I look pretty cool in my hat and sunglasses. I can’t wait to wear them back to recess and show my friends!
I got to the edge of the blacktopped playground. That’s when I heard,
“Look at her! What is she wearing? Who does she think she is?”
All sets of eyes on that playground turned towards me. Fingers pointing in my direction. Hysterical laughter followed.
Gulp. Wait. What? Why are they laughing at me? They don’t think I look cool? I don’t understand. I thought they’d like my hat and sunglasses. I thought they’d like me. I think I might throw up. I just want to run back home and hide. Forever.
I tried my best to hide my tears as I slowly slipped off the hat and tucked the sunglasses inside of it. I never wore that hat, nor those sunglasses, ever again. I have relived that memory many a time since that day.
The faces, the eyes, the fingers, the laughter have all faded, but I’ve never forgotten how it felt to be “different.” How it felt to be humiliated. How it felt to want to run back to the safety of my home.
Friend, if you’re in this place today–
feeling “different” than those around you,
feeling alone, even though you’re surrounded by people,
feeling ridiculed, mocked, made fun of,
feeling you want to run away to your safe place–
may you be encouraged with the truths of Zephaniah 3:17.
We are just passing through on this earth on our way to our eternal home. This isn’t really where we belong. So times of feeling “out of place” or “different” can be often.
In those times we can take comfort knowing not all eyes that are on us are critical. Not all fingers pointing at us are of condemnation. Even if it looks and feels like it.
God’s aren’t. God looks at us with love, gladness, beauty, and hope. As He points to you He is saying, “That one is mine. I love him/her.”
Won’t you put your trust in Him today for the situation you’re going through? Pray the truths of this scripture. And rejoice, knowing God is singing over you today!