On the outside looking in

When I was a young girl of eleven or twelve years old, there was a group of kids at my school who made fun of nearly everything I said, everything I did, and most certainly everything I wore.

No, I don’t mean they teased me. I mean they made fun of me; they had fun at my expense. They laughed not with me but at me. If I changed my hair, they laughed. If I wore a different pair of shoes, they laughed and pointed. If I messed up the cheer at the pep rally, they laughed and called me “Sleepy.”

I now know what I didn’t realize then: that group of kids came from nothing and as such had nothing. My family lived modestly but in comparison to their nothing my little looked like everything. I’ve also lived long enough to know how cruelty sometimes masks envy. I know because I’ve done much the same; I’ve denigrated another in order to sooth my gnawing jealousy over their good fortune.

Still, it hurt–I don’t have to tell you that. All of us were twelve once and surely we’ve all felt the stinging wound of words intended to cut and cut deep.

I’m older now–by decades, thankyouverymuch. No longer do I walk across a gym floor to the laughs and catcalls of kids intent on hurting me, but sometimes, often, I am very much that same insecure little girl wondering what I will do next to bring about derision, ridicule or plain ol’ dislike.

Certainly not merely because of that group of kids–though they no doubt contributed to it–but it seems like I’ve always felt like the square peg in the round hole. On the outside looking in. Unsure of my place and doubtful of my reception. Convinced you probably don’t like me or, if by chance you do now, you won’t later.

I am forty years old and, yes, this is still my struggle: Uncertainty. Insecurity. Not to mention the loneliness that accompanies both.

I told someone recently that being forty was good and it is. I told her that with forty years comes a greater sense of self assurance, of knowing who and what I am and being okay with that, and it’s true. Really. It is.

The who and what I am may be slightly more confident, a little more sure of herself, and, yes, more comfortable in her own skin than in times past–yet she is still sometimes the silly, insecure girl of 12.

Though I grow weary of my idiocy and insecurity. . . though I fervently wish to feel like I belong. . . though I sometimes wonder where exactly square pegs like myself fit. . . I’m learning to be okay with it. My insecurity, if viewed properly, becomes a gift when it propels me to the Only One secure, to my Rock and Refuge, to Jesus Christ, unchangeable, unshakable.

Apart from Christ, I am indeed insecure. Anything and everything I attempt to rest my security on will fail if it is not Christ Himself. He endured far more than a few catcalls and insults to purchase my salvation and security. He redeemed me with His precious blood; now I belong–to Him. I rest secure in Him as His beloved child, a square peg of a sinner saved by His glorious grace.


Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

17 thoughts on “On the outside looking in”

  1. I was chased home by an angry group of five 14 year old girls when I was in 8th grade. They proceeded to ostracize me for the remainder of the school year, from February to June.I never knew why. I can remember every detail about the event. It was a watershed moment in my life. I know exactly what you mean.When I was in my late twenties, I became good friends with a group of women; first real female friends since that day. God took me from them and moved me 2,000 mils away from them.He wanted me to depend only on Him. I, too and a square peg.Know exactly what you mean.

  2. Makes me also think of “in our weakness He is strong”. We lived through some of this with our daughter Katie. She was treated so poorly in 4th grade by a group of girls that I finally pulled her out of school to save her from their cruelty. So painful. She was so angry. She called herself a lima bean in a pea pod…She knew she was different.God is so good to reassure us with His love…

  3. The reality of your post is overwhelming! The sad part is….even though decades of time go by….grown up people still do that same mean-spirited behavior.Back-biting, judging, gossiping, excluding, snottiness and outright unkindness happens between adults as well.Thank you God….that you are always a refuge. Even when your children choose to hurt other’s.Thanks for sharing.

  4. From one square peg to another … what a blessing to be united in Christ!The stories of my adolescence are not pretty and they left me with deep wounds, some of which I still find myself nursing today.I am now so grateful for those dark days and moreover the abundant grace that He has poured over me, filling those wounds. I think I appear to others as someone who is self-assured but I am constantly questioning myself and where I fit. These last few years of having older children mixed with younger has left me feeling very lonely at times … and again relying on Christ for my security.What a wonderful post. Thank you Lisa šŸ™‚ Blessings!

  5. Praise God for his security!I think I was most secure in my 20’s – 30’s, completely insecure in my teens, and regressing to that insecurity now again in my 40’s.I’m thinking that this is mainly to do with the fact that I felt unwanted in my teens, was ignorant of just how ridiculous I was in my 30’s and now wising up to my many, many faults in my 40’s. You know the old saying… “I know enough now to know that I don’t know anything!”I’m just wondering… does it get any better when we reach our, say… 60’s?

  6. Oh I know these feelings far too well. I was made fun of from age 9 to age 18 and the pain sometimes still comes back—I mean I have let go of a lot and forgiven the past…but some insecurities do not die…yet I have found a security outside myself and that is wonderful.

  7. I felt a freedom at 40, to stop making excuses and just be myself. It lasted about 30 minutes. Now, at 41, I’m back to the insecurities much of the time. Perhaps it’s because I’m reliving tweendom with my girl.

  8. Being in my 40’s has been a very good gift. It means I’ve got some “life experiences” to go with my years … perhaps even more wisdom! Still and yet, there are some hauntings of my youth. Facebook has definitely been an interesting “pause” in the journey. So many of those from my younger days (who never wanted to be my friend then) are suddenly interested in being “friends” now. Strange, and yet I’m OK with the contradiction. Turning the tables…that’s what God has been after in my heart and life. Sometimes I find that it means I must be willing to enter into some of my hauntings and allow Him his healing hands in the matter.Great post, Lisa. Blessed Easter walk to you this week and in the days to come.peace~elaine

  9. There is a freedom that comes with getting older, for sure, but even at 37 I too still struggle with the very same thing. I know who I am in Him and am thankful that each and every day I can choose to walk in that or walk in my own insecurities.I’d love to say that I have found victory in this, but I haven’t…praying that it will be one day very soon!Thanks for the reflective and thoughtful post.xoxo,Melissa

  10. Lisa, I was just having this conversation with a dear friend. I hate that the ugly feeling of insecurity continues to raise it’s head. I have never been part of the ‘in’ crowd, but as my girlfriend pointed out last night…that’s a good thing. We are called by Christ to be ‘foreigners’ and ‘peculiar people’. Christ, dwelling in our hearts, is on the inside looking out, and all that matters is the sound of His applause.Resting secure in Him,Joy

  11. I felt a freedom at 40, to stop making excuses and just be myself. It lasted about 30 minutes. Now, at 41, I'm back to the insecurities much of the time. Perhaps it's because I'm reliving tweendom with my girl.

Join the conversation! I may not always reply directly but I do read and appreciate every comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s