The party sounded amazing. The people I’d heard were going are easy to be with, incredibly fun, and all have mad skills in the kitchen. And when I saw the invitation posted on a friend’s refrigerator I smiled at the creative brilliance.
The only problem was I didn’t get one.
I’d been checking my mailbox for days.
Every time I walked back down the driveway empty handed, I kept assuring my sinking heart that because we live in the country my mail is always a day or two or even seven days behind everyone else’s. No big deal.
But three days before the party when the invite still hadn’t arrived I ran out of assurance. I lost the pep in my rally. And I realized I was, in fact, not on the guest list.
When I ran into one of the hostesses later that day I lobbed out the equivalent of a Hail Mary throw in the final seconds of a game, “What do y’all have going on this weekend?” And then I felt as pitiful as the quarterback who watches the opposing team take what would have been his shining star moment and turn it into an interception.
She replied, “We’ve got plans with friends most of the weekend but would love to catch up with y’all on Sunday after church.”
And that’s when the hardest of all the realizations hit me.
We weren’t invited because they simply hadn’t thought to invite us. We weren’t in the circle of “weekend plans with friends.” Immediately the thought that hopped on me and stuck with super glue tenacity was “I’m not good enough.”
Read more from my post over at (in)courage today by clicking here.
Thank you for this! I think most of us have thought about not being good enough for others. As we get older, we find that though it still might hurt not being included, we also find that many times we just need to step out and do the inviting too! Ask others to our homes, don’t put off till your home is perfect. It takes some humility when things are not as nice as others, but really, it is the God centered home others will remember.It is the friendliness and the warm fellowship, the blessing of being invited that will warm their hearts too!
I am speaking to myself here as I think of all you wrote. It never has to be a huge meal, just even a time of singing, laughter, and love! I so need to practice this more myself. Just some thoughts that you helped me to reflect on and understand. Thanks for all your good posts. I so appreciate them many times! Real, is what you write about, and that is truly what helps!
God bless you and Happy, Blessed New year to all as we step out to serve Jesus in a new and closer way!
Great post from Lisa. Spent New Years Eve alone having recently moved home and back on my own. Not yet got a circle of friends either and just come back to attending church so in that mid life limbo scenario. Was engulfed in that ‘not feeling good enough’ for anyone to ask me around (not that I know anyone to do so!) for New Years Eve so went to bed early and found Lisa’s post and immediately felt better, sought the Lord and knew that I would be OK.
I have struggled with not being included my whole life. My husband doesn’t understand my NEED to be included and a part of the group. We just moved and all those feelings of no friends and loneliness have crept up and settled like a weight on my chest. Which is fine…I’m used to it.
But this time these same feelings have no shown up in my daughter’s life. She has sobbed because of her loneliness and I have cried along with her. We focus on her status as a princess and her adoration from the heavenly father. Shouldn’t that be enough? I love Jesus. He is who makes me whole (and good enough). And yet, I find the tears and fears continue to show up and nag at me that I’m all alone and no one cares. Now my girl feels the same and it is almost more than I can take.
Thank you for this new topic. Why am I not good enough to be included? Why do I scroll and stalk those facebook feeds that just solidify the feelings of isolation? Why didn’t they invite me to play bunco/drink coffee/eat sushi? Looking forward to your new book. God times your topics so that they fit lovely in my life. Thank you!
I could have written most of what you wrote. Wanting to be accepted and included, moving to a new place and feeling that isolation, watching from a distance (or on Facebook) as others make plans and enjoy fun and fellowship, longing for close friendships here when everyone already seems to have what they need from the friendships that they have.
I will be praying for you in the new year. Let us draw near to God as he knows our hearts and our needs.
Blessings to you.
Last year I went through a similar experience. My other mother was turning 70 and I asked her if anyone in her family was throwing her a party, she replied no.
Two days later I logged onto Facebook to see our friends in common (some of whom I thought were my really great friends-including the host) had a big birthday bash for her! No one whispered anything to me about it! Talk about rejection and sadness and an overwhelming sense of not belonging set in. I deleted my Facebook after that because I just don’t want “friends” like that in my life anymore. Since that time I’ve been hospitalized twice and went through two surgeries, one very serious and the only friend who has stood by me and seen about me is my other mother. I have grown so much in this last year as far as relying on Gods company and my own and I have started journaling again and the feelings are much easier for me to handle, scripture is something I have always clung to but this year it has been my lifeline!
Loved this. I would like to share a story with you for your new book about being left out. How do I send it to you?
I want to know also!
Hi, Shawna and Kathleen!
You can post your story here or (for more privacy) you can simply send your stories to [email protected]. Thank you for wanting to share your heart and your story with us!
Blessings ~ LT Ministry Team
Thanks so much for this! I would like to send in something as well. I have a pretty powerful testimony about this also, but would prefer not to post as a comment due to length. Is it too late to send?
Hi, Kelly! It is not too late at all! You can send your story to that same e-mail address.Thank you for your willingness to share your heart and your story!
LT Ministry Team
I have lived my life feeling and not being good enough in anyone’s eyes. I was abused as a child (sexually, emotionally, verbally) and when you grow up believing you’re an object instead of a person, it’s hard to overcome that label and lesson. Subsequent relationships deeply reinforced early experience. I have longed my entire live to simply be good enough. That would be a miracle to me. I have never been loved; only tolerated…and then, not even that. I’ve never been good enough. And at this stage, I doubt I will ever be so blessed as to be labeled “enough” in any way or form. Rejection of any kind hurts. Repeated rejection destroys. My only hope is that God still has a good plan. But forgive me if I’m not holding my breath.
Our church has a ministry for people in your situation. The book they study is Mending the Soul by Steven R Tracy. Your comment reads with hopelessness which is heartbreaking. I will be praying you find the healing you need to receive the gift of hope that Jesus promises.
This was perfect. I know exactly how you feel. I love how you make sure we know that God didn’t make us to be “good enough”. We left our church of 15 years in 2010 (many reasons and God lead but VERY difficult and still hurts) and joined a new church that eventually hired my husband as their Missions/Outreach Pastor. This past June he was let go because of the pastor’s direction he believes he needs to go in (I don’t believe the pastor’s vision is God lead but that is not really part of this story). So now we are currently attending a new church again. I have friends still at the first 2 churches but since I’m not seeing them each week I get invited to nothing but know all about the events (we have not moved from our house so still in the same neighborhood). I now have to make new friends and start all over. I know this sounds petty but it is tiring and then to be left out because we left the church is hurtful. I have no desire to make new friends and invest any of me into any of them because it ends up with me being hurt and depressed.
The Pastor’s wife at the church where my family I attend were such good friends that she even let me call her my sister. I received marital counseling from the Pastor, but it did not end up being private counseling. It ultimately wrecked my relationship with her. I have never felt more excluded and outside and uninvited in my life at a church from people who were once caring and supportive. I am not fb friends with either of them (their choice), I was not invited to their daughters wedding although everyone went and we have been at the church as long as they have, I can’t go to Sunday School or Bible Study because it is so painful and excluding. And I can’t leave the church because my family does not realize that I sought counseling or what the problem is. I would never seek much counseling from a Pastor in the future. But I feel miserable being so excluded with no way to leave.
I really understand the feeling, it happens to me most of the time!
These are feelings that I deal with….what makes it even harder is that I’m a pastor’s wife. You automatically wonder where you fit, how many hats you feel pressured to wear, if you forgot to say hi to someone at church that day you were rude. The pressure is great to fit in. Then when you try so hard to live as Christ would, to be a testimony and you still don’t get invited you wonder will anything you do ever be enough. Will you ever be able to just be yourself – well no, because surely that definitely wouldn’t be enough. It’s a vicious circle. Then, one day you decide, I just can’t try be anymore than who God made me to be. Turn your eyes to Him, set your affection on Him and pray. Pray until He turns your mourning into dancing. Pray until He shows you what truly matters (time with your kids, your husband, etc..) I may have to do this for the rest of my life but God is faithful. So faithful to my heart:)
Yes, this sounds great! I think there are a lot of us that feel isolated. I reach out to people but now one ever calls me or us to meet for dinner or anything. We all go to a big church and have a great Sunday School class. I will take this to my prayer closet and watch God work on us this year. I think more people struggle with this than care to admit it.
Love your statement ‘believe the best before assuming the worst’! Yes, we females tend to think the worst of who? Ourselves! I am trying to learn from the wisdom of a dear friend who repeatedly says ” I don’t have time for drama”. Our best yes is not always meant to give us what we think we want, but what our Lord wants us to receive. Great article!
Just wanted to say that I totally understand about not being invited. Over the years i have felt that I dont “fit in ” anywhere. ( Unfortunately sometimes not even at church) but thats ok, my goal is to make the banquet invitation sent to me from the Lord himself and taken as many people with me as possible .” Love them like jesus ” If I can do that God will do the rest and I wont need to worry about (un) Invited : ) Thanks lisa for you encouragement and uplifting blog
My journey into rejection began in elementary school. I was very quiet, shy, and many times unaware of social cues that would have helped me fit in better. As you can imagine, I was not high on the social list. On this particular day I was invited over to a “friend’s” house to play along with several other girls. Most of their mothers were visiting there as well, but I had been dropped off. It was obvious from the start that I was not wanted that day. I followed along as best I could as they chatted and played. At some point we all went outside for a few minutes. Suddenly everyone upped and ran back to the front porch, turned around to look at me giggling, went inside and shut the door. I was too dumbfounded to do anything but sit there alone for awhile. Not one of the mothers realized I was still outside. Finally after wandering around for a few minutes I summed up the courage to go inside. My friend’s mom was furious that I had been left outside which seemed to make matters worse as I can’t recall anything after that point. Years later as an adult I still deal with those feelings of never being wanted. I was sharing this experience with a friend of mine, who also happens to be a therapist, and she invited me to try a technique she uses with her clients. Using prayer as a venue, I was to revisit the that painful scene and then invite Jesus into it with me and see what He said to me about it. I had no clue what was about to unfold. Suddenly I was in that room again but this time with Jesus by my side. He leaned over, picked me up, and placed me into a bar stool chair so that I was nearly eye level with Him. Looking at me directly in front of all those girls, He told me that I was His little girl and I was so very loved by Him and very important to Him. Then He turned to the other girls and instead of chastising them He tells them that He loves them too. I cannot tell you the sense of beauty and freedom that gave me!
I still struggle with feelings of not being wanted. My mailbox and inbox are not exactly flooded with invitations these days either, but I have learned to do the inviting myself. While I may not have the most sparkling conversations with others I can hold a roomful of teenagers’ attentions for a good hour everyday, and have been invited to speak to groups of women on occasion. I’m His little girl and I am so very loved!
Thank you so much for writing and sharing this.
I could not have read it at a better time as I am currently feeling “not good enough,” which is a feeling that is no stranger to my life. My tendency is to be the one who feels on the “outside,” even in a group. At 25, I have been disappointed that this mindset will still rear it’s ugly head at me. However, it is comforting to know I am not alone in this struggle, but I feel like I fight the demon of loneliness quite a bit. I really look forward to your new book, it sounds like it might be full of the encouragement we all need.
Thank you for sharing your heart on this matter!
Lysa, your uninvited story hits a tender spot. I’m so grateful to know as sisters in Christ we share in such moments that by nature make us feel so alone. The last few months have me wrestling with rejection. Deep rejection. From women I love and respect. And one day in my heartache it hit me: Jesus was rejected. If the Son of Man, the very nature of love, can be so much more deeply and widely rejected than I, can I not forgive and extend mercy to those by whom I feel rejection? Surely, I can. And never, not once, do I see Jesus as less worthy because He was rejected. He is still perfect love and perfect holiness. And if He is not diminished by the rejection of others, surely there is hope that I am not as well. I have victory over hurts because Jesus knew deep in His own heart the very same hurt and rejection. His response was to extend mercy. To forgive. To pray for those very people. Surely he gives me the grace to do the same. I am beginning now!
Thank you so much for your ministry, Lysa. You have ministered to me more than you know over the last few years.
Reading the comments, I wonder if there’s a certain type of person/mindset that is particularly vulnerable to this type of thinking because I can soooooo relate! And it started early on, like most describe. However, my “not good enough” feelings started at home. So, I’m not sure what I did, but I feel like perhaps I began to attract the same types of friends who would offer me the rejection that I’d become accustomed to…despite the pain. As a college student, young adult and on and on, the feelings and treatment continued until I was now rejected in divorce and the accompanying family dynamic of ‘we love you, but he’s family.’ That’s not what they said, but it was what I felt. And simultaneously, I was dealing with a ‘priority shift’ in my group of friends. I was invited to less and less birthday dinners or parties. When I was invited, hurtful comments were made that assured me that conversations about me had occurred in my absence. The biggest issue…my friends were also fellow church members. Navigating through rejection after rejection and sitting in church trying to heal amidst more rejection made me quite a tough cookie. Nah…more like a FREE BIRD! Being able to live and find joy and strength in Christ (with help) in the midst of such a deep shift was some of the best development in who I am today just a few years later. My current husband reappeared in my life after some years and it just so happened that he lived in the South, whereas, I was living in the Midwest. The work that I’d done in all those shifts of priorities of people I loved (nicest way I can put what I went through) PREPARED me. As a church leader, I hadn’t let those issues and feelings hinder my ability to minister to others, and I believe God honored that. I didn’t stop coming; I didn’t change services, change my habits or move my seat. By His grace, I was able to get to a place of love with them, no matter how many events I was missing. I found joy in my solitude in worship and even drew different, old friends back in my life. I became whole. And when He swooped in and moved me away in marriage, so many people were amazed and some dismayed at how little fanfare was made. Some argued that I was selfish by not allowing them to do more in the way of celebration. But I was in peace and had no expectations, hard feelings or the like. And while I still struggle here and there with feeling rejection when I’m (un)invited in these new relationships, I’m also unwilling to sacrifice my wholeness to go back to that way of living. I’m a year in now, and fighting to remember that my being uninvited back then led to great blessing, so I’m gonna hang on and trust the process!
Gaining passion and losing complacency.
This is one of the most helpful things I have read in a long time! I emailed my story. How about being asked to contribute something to your sister-in-law’s 50th surprise birthday party and you do because she is so sweet and you 2 are so close, but then not being invited. Then her daughter buys a house and you are not invited to the open house but see it on social media. Yeah I could go on but no need to – I turn to those who truly want my time and God is first on that list.
I feel this way all the time. Unfortunately, when I begin to feel this way I use solitude as a defense mechanism instead of knowing that I truly belong. This post really helped and I will be reading the book. Thank you for sharing!
I am counting down the days until this book is released! Moving to a new area has left me feeling lonely and left out. Two years later I still don’t have anyone I can call a friend and now I see the same thing happening to our oldest daughter. I am working on strengthening my relationship with God as I know that this is what truly matters. I am blessed that my husband and I have a good relationship, but I do miss having some girl friends.