Monday, June 08, 2009

At the Well - Have you Been Overlooked?

It's happened to all of us. Whether we were the last chosen for kickball in gym class or passed over for a promotion at work or perhaps not even given so much as a thank you for hard work, being overlooked is something that has been happened in the past, still happens today, and will continue to happen in the future. Why? I think it has to do with two things.

The Outward Appearance

"But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." ~ 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

The Lord instructed Samuel to keep going on down the line when he was looking for the next king the Lord would name for Israel. Samuel saw one of David's brothers, apparently a handsome and strong looking guy, and thought, "This is the one!" Samuel made the mistake many of us have done before. People who are more outgoing or more handsome in appearance tend to become noticed before one who is more introverted or quiet does.

I would encourage you to seek out those who are quiet and befriend them. Ask them to participate in service and in your circle of friends. Are they not the best dressed, most refined people in the pews? Oh my stars! David came straight in from the field, smelled like sheep and was annointed king over Israel! He had a ruddy complexion in a world where most men were probably evenly tanned. I imagine he was so red from being windburned out in the field keeping watch over the flocks.


Another reason I believe people are overlooked is because of the busyness of the world. We get so caught up in the externals that we forget to look at those around us. We go in to church, check our kids in the nursery, speak to everyone we haven't spoken to in a few days and gravitate toward the familiar people in Sunday School or church, perhaps not even paying attention to the new couple in the pew (unless you need help in the nursery or a Sunday School class that needs teaching.) Show the love of Christ to them. Don't ignore them. Speak to them more than once and call before Monday night visitation to see if you can run by for a minute to tell them how much you enjoyed having them in the church.

In daily life, slow down. Don't get so stuck in your routine that you exclude people from your life who aren't just like you. Jesus ate with tax collectors and the sort. We, too, should seek out the ones around us who are in need of a friend.

The Remedy

"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." ~ 1 John 4:11 (NIV)

Being overlooked is never a good feeling. We should be quick to extend God's love to everyone and keep it in action. Let's develop relationships with those who are new in our circle of friends. Make it on-going. Don't speak to a person once and assume you've greeted them with a holy kiss so your due dilligence is done. That's not how it works. It takes effort. It takes time. It takes love.

When we're overlooked, what can we do?

The same. Love one another. Rather than stewing in our juices that someone hasn't taken notice of us, let's keep working for God. Rather than being sad that no one other than the preacher and the deacon of the week spoke to us at church on Sunday let's find a church home where we are shown love.

Have you ever been overlooked?

I have.

How did it make you feel? How did you react?

It reinforced the belief (at the time) that since I didn't have children I was doomed to be an outcast forever. It hurt. I was shocked at the lack of love shown since we had just come from a church with no youth group to a larger one for Kristyn to be a part of. When I would get to the sanctuary before Steve, I would sit in the pew and watch all the women who had either grown up together or had children the same ages in the same schools all congregate up at the front of the church and it would break my heart. When Steve was with me things were so different. We were welcomed by the men and their wives. But when I was alone, even a woman I considered a good friend (we visited together outside almost every night for a few years) would walk up the aisle, lay her hand on my shoulder, and join the women up front.

I did try to participate in the group, but I didn't fit in. How do you contribute to conversations about teething and immunizations when you just don't know? I'd try to change the subject but it came back to children. I was glad I made the effort, though. Remaining impassive will leave you wondering. The fact was that I just did not belong. Eventually I just stopped going. Some of the men called Steve. None of the women called me. Not even the one I hung out with outside of church. We still hung out together but she never mentioned our not going. Funny thing: I invited her to the church. How strange is that? She had children and fit right in.

It's important to note that sometimes we are overlooked because of an attitude or behavior we display, so I did a self-check. I am well-liked at work. I don't cuss, I pretty much know when to keep my mouth shut, and I don't dress out of the norm. I am a nice person. I don't smell. I am not sure why, other than the fact that perhaps they thought infertility was catching, I was excluded. I wasn't excluded at any other church I had ever attended. I moved on. It's also important to note that I'm not blasting women in the church. Not even the women in that church. Maybe they didn't even realize they were excluding me. Maybe I just wasn't a fit for their group. It's not something I ruminate on and stew about. In fact, today is the first time I thought about it in a long time, but I have to say that it still stings.

What can you do as a Titus 2 woman, to be sure you don't overlook the important things (or people) in your life?

I think it is so important to reach out to women and make sure they are included. We need to seek out the ones sitting alone and introduce them to our friends. We need to invite them to join in on conversations and make a concerted effort to reach out to them.

Mentoring other women and modeling Christ's love is the heart of Titus 2:3-5.

"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." ~ Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)

We need to ask ourselves the tough questions. Are we being reverent in the way we live? If so, then we will reach out. Are we teaching what is good? If so, then we will reach out. Are we ensuring that no one maligns the Word of God? If so, then we will reach out.

We must reach out. We must include. We must. We must love.

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He And Me + 3 said...

This was a great post. I tell this to my kids all the time. Be the friend to the kid that gets made fun of or is left out..because one day it may be them that gets left out.
It is hard to see people being or feeling left out. It sure does hurt the heart.
Awesome post!

Joyfull said...

"We must reach out. We must include. We must. We must love."
Yes, we must. Thanks for wonderful encouragement. Beautiful post.

LAURIE said...

Laurie Ann, great post today - thank you for joining up with the discussion today on being overlooked. You hit some main points of why this often times happen, with Gods help I want to be sure I share His love and acceptance to others by not treating them like outcasts. love you, Laurie

Saleslady371 said...

This post is a must-read for every quiet woman. It is really hard to reach out when you have this kind of personality. I always have to make a double effort and then sometimes if the group is clicky, you feel like you don't fit in. Popular, outgoing personalities need to be more sensitive, also, and put on Jesus like you mentioned.

I had a spirit of rejection that tormented me. My pastor's wife prayed with so much authority over me a few years ago. I was never troubled again. My thinking changed and I now can't imagine anyone not thinking I'm cool like them. Ha-ha.

Thanks for writing this. It is heartfelt and accurate.


Collette@Jesuslovesmums said...

Thank you so much for this lovely post! I am one of those quiet introverted people and always appreciate people making the effort to talk to me. I want to encourage this in my children too.
Thanks Collette x

Denise said...

Such a wonderful post, love you.

Raye Ann said...

Those women just did not see the mother in you. Just because you did not raise one from birth do not mean you do not have the heart of a mother. I hear it and see it in your post and when you talk about the grands. Your heart is one of the most wonderful mothering hearts I know.


shopannies said...

thanks for sharing the other side of the coin with 6 children of my own I often overlook the ones without thanks for sharing

Debra said...

Laurie Ann,

What a beautiful post! This is something that I am sure has affected each and every one of us at one time or another.

Blessings to you today! Loved your woo hoo Amen! I feel the exact same way!

Love you!

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