Something inside me was brewing. I could hear the voices. I could sense the excitement. It was all around me. I wanted to jump in, I wanted to participate; but, all I could do was stand and stare. Like a frozen spectator, the reflection of the gym class mirror gripped me. Giggles. Smiles. Connections.
Loneliness. Wishes. Sadness.
The were living everything I wanted, the everything I was somehow was not a part of. I was the lone wolf.
I stood smack dab in the middle of the class, but knew I much more belonged on planet Jupiter.
Every inch of me felt vulnerable, “Will they notice that no one is talking with me?”
Every ounce felt embarrassed, “Why don’t I have a friend here too?”
Every bit of me wondered, “Do I look okay?”
Everything in me, made me feel like I was reliving yesterday…
Playgrounds are places where kids play, except for when you are me. Then they are places where you sit out. They are places where you are left behind. They are places where you watch from the safety of a curb, from a position of arms crossed or from a nurses office for safe keeping, because what you know is: on these grounds everything you believe about yourself is being determined.
1. I must not be likable.
2. I have some weird gene that excludes me.
3. I think differently.
I reached out my hand to be friends with one of the girls. I tried; I tried so hard to extend myself beyond myself. I looked in her eyes – and she looked back too. There was hope!
Then, her friend walked by, reached out for her arm and said, “Don’t be friends with her.”
Said and done – from that point on everyone acted cold. Standing on that field, playing whatever sports game we where playing, a little piece of determination and a little piece of resolution was lost. I kicked softly and felt horribly. And walked home solemnly figuring there was something wrong with me.
I wonder if Jesus ever felt like me?
A moral, good and righteous odd-ball-out kind of kid?
Without sin, yet having to dwell in sin (Heb. 4:15)?
Immersed in a world of pain, when he was used to the wealth of paradise?
Hated by those he loved and shamed by those he came to save?
Might those he loved felt awkward and restrained near him in sight of his greatness, his perfection?
And what about when Jesus was about to head to the cross? No one could understand his grief. No one could fathom the far depths of his love. No one could walk in the shoes that would cleanse the whole world with righteousness. No one could understand what it feels like to be “forsaken” (Mt. 27:46).
Surely, I am not nearly like Jesus, but I think Jesus might have felt a little like me – alone. Not understood. Weary.
Pushing Into Jesus
When I step back from all this – to look at Jesus and myself, I start to see something emerge.
What strikes me is: How often am I like those who stood around Jesus – just a little scared of him?
How often do I believe Jesus looks at me and says,
“Her, no…. you don’t want to be friends with her”
and then he grabs all his love and walks out the door?
When we feel like Jesus is ready to abandon us,
we become hyper-aware that the world will too.
Deflect his love and you will deflect all love.
Intersect with Jesus’ love and you’ll be resurrected by it.
Do you ever feel unable to receive the fullness of God’s love?
5 Ways to Tell if You are a Love-Deflecter:
1. You feel guilty beyond guilty when you make a mistake. You can’t get over it.
2. You sometimes fall trapped to believing: God is too big and too mighty to hear your small prayers – or answer them.
3. When you close your eyes and imagine meeting Jesus in heaven, you see him squinty eyed as he greets you.
4. You figure a way out of trials, verses letting God’s love hold you through them.
5. The past makes you think he runs from your past too.
There is no ounce of shame, that disqualifies you from the power of his name.
There is no ounce of shame, that disqualifies me from the power of his name.
Say it aloud if you need to.
Jesus knows our pain and loves us the same.
He felt pain and won the game.
He knows our cries – and cries with us.
He bring us to the sinking point of love,
found at the foot of the cross.
Where the past has bounds,
but the future is boundless,
where pain exists,
but where love swallows its power.
Where life is made new again,
and past handicaps become moot.
Where the compassion goes on and on and on,
and where small kids are made whole again.