If you don't fit in, the problem is probably not with you

It can be disheartening when you don't fit in.

Do you ever have the feeling that you don't fit in? Do you have that feeling often?

It can be demoralizing. Your first instinct may be to blame yourself. But the hard truth is that more than likely, you are not the one at fault.

As singles, we all have the desire to belong to something. We want to feel that we're part of the group, that we're accepted. But if you'e also a Christian single, you may feel strange and out of place.

When Jesus prayed to his Father for his disciples, he said:

"They are not of the world, even as I am not of it." (John 17:16)

What exactly did he mean? I think he was asking God to comfort us and strengthen us when we feel that we don't belong.

The King James version of the Bible calls followers of God "peculiar" people, and when you compare our ways to the ways of today's culture, we certainly do seem like oddballs. We're square pegs in round holes. We don't fit in.

Don't get too peculiar

Some Christians seem to take great delight in their "other worldliness," to the point of being abrasive or confrontational. While we're not to compromise with sin, I don't think it helps our witness to be constantly condemning nonbelievers or arguing with them.

Just living an honest, sincere Christian life will guarantee that you don't fit in. But that's about as much peculiarity as most of us can handle. It can hurt to feel alone.

Should you just ignore it?

So we're singles. We don't exactly fit in with married couples. So we're Christian, too. We may not fit in with our co-workers or with our employer.

What are we supposed to do then? Are we just supposed to ignore the feeling that we don't fit in? No, it's too strong to disregard, hoping it will go away.

But it is part of the price we pay to follow Christ. The closer you follow him, the more you're going to stand out.

Throughout your life, you'll be forced to choose. You can go along with the crowd, or you can stay true to your faith. Usually you can't have it both ways.

How other 'peculiar' people can help

If you're in a small group at your church, the other members, especially older people, can give you support and encouragement. It's good to get their reassurance that you're on the right path. They'll help you clarify your thinking and show you how Christian values conflict with modern culture.

When you speak with another man or woman who is committed to Christ, the feeling of kinship is so strong that it's almost--as it was with Paul--that scales fall off your eyes and suddenly you can see clearly. This happened to me in my men's Bible study.

I discovered that I was not alone. I realized that by being true to Christ, it was inevitable that I would stick out in the world.

It's all right that you don't have the world's approval--because you have Christ's approval, and that's what matters most. Having a rock-solid acceptance of that truth will give you courage to stay on the path.

It will help you maintain your purpose in life. And as you continue to compare God's ways to the world's ways, you'll understand why you don't fit in.

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