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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Paths (05/17/04)

TITLE: Don't Belong
By Sherri Fulmer Moorer


I was never popular. In school, I was the “weird girl” that got good grades and liked strange things. I talked to boys like they were fellow human beings, not the mysterious enigmas the beauty queens made them out to be. During lunch, I socialized with anybody whether their GPA was 4.0 or 1.0. I was different and honestly didn’t care. I knew people would judge me however they pleased, so I saw no reason to change for them. Although I graduated from high school in 1993, I still am regarded as the one that doesn’t fit in. Despite a college degree and a respectable job, people still can’t figure me out.

One person that is intrigued by this is my husband. Although he admires my ability to be myself, he has accused me of not caring what other people think. The truth is, I do care about people. The way I see it, when you work to please other people, you aren’t free to be yourself. This is a shame because we are all unique, yet so many people are pushing that aside to please a world we have no business trying to please.

Despite all you do to impress the world, you will never make everybody happy. Someone will always have a problem with something you have said or done. We are surrounded by ideals of what a good person should be, and it’s hard not to take in all of this information and compare ourselves with more “ideal” people. Everywhere you look, there is always somebody that you should strive to be more like – the person everybody at the office loves, the talented athlete, the gifted musician, the do-it-all supermom, or the beautiful models that grace magazine covers. Ideals of “perfection” are all around us, and it’s hard to remember that humanity is imperfect when the flaws of others are hidden so well.

This is garbage, and the sooner we quit taking it in, the sooner we’ll quit putting it out. We are all unique creations of God. We are given what we need in order to do what we are supposed to do in our time on earth. God told Jeremiah “before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jeremiah 1:5 RSV), and He meant it for each and every one of us as well. We would be wise to embrace our differences and use them to serve God.

This is difficult, because people usually chastise differences. Take it from someone that has worked with people from my first job with two-year-olds to my volunteer work with senior citizens, stereotyping is a flaw of humanity at every stage of life. Society does not look favorably at being different. It seems the world is always trying to fit us into a mold that is considered acceptable by the majority. We are all different, but most people work hard to hide their differences for worldly acceptance. What a shame that they work to root out the very thing God finds valuable in them.

Since when does anybody have a right to squeeze you into a mold? We are told, “do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2 RSV). Your purpose is to love and obey God, and to serve Him through your belief in Christ. Other people have no idea what God has put in your heart. They have no right to pass judgment on how God made you or where He leads you. God made us the way we are to serve Him, not the majority. My prayer book even states “righteousness and the majority are not always on the same side” .

Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop people from judging, so you have to find a way to shift your focus to the One that is the final authority if you want to find any peace.

If you take your focus off the world and put it on Christ, you will see the imperfection of this world more clearly. In the end, you answer to God and nobody else. He alone is the One that made each of us, and He alone is the one that determines our purpose. When you accept that God created you as a unique individual, you have taken your first step toward freedom from the demands of social conformity.

Although it might be easier to go with the flow, we were designed to follow an individual path. The Bible asks us “who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4 RSV). I have come to terms with the fact that I do not want to be part of the “in” crowd if it will make me anything less than God created me to be. The majority may not like it, but I am at peace with myself through Christ and will change what He leads me to change.

Please know that God loves you just the way you are, and He does not want you to change for acceptance from society. Although we are all imperfect and do need to make some changes, the Holy Spirit will lead you to do the work God wants done. The goal is to become more like Christ, not the crowd. Remain true to yourself as God made you, and you will never go wrong. The world may not like it, but you don’t belong to the world. As a member of the eternal Kingdom, true peace comes from being honest with yourself and the Lord. In the end of all things, you will never be asked why you weren’t like somebody else – you will be asked why you weren’t yourself.

Member Comments
Member Date
B Price05/24/04
So True. This is one that many needs to hear.
I liked how you started this and then went into the rest of the story.
Great to see young people feels this way. GIVES some hope, I wouldn't mind knowing you. (smile)stay the way
you are. GOD BLESS
Marie B. Corso05/24/04
A good essay on being a non-conformist. If shorter, I think it could have marketability in a youth market because so many young people are non-conformists. As long as we conform to the image of Christ, we're OK.
Dave Wagner05/25/04
>> The way I see it, when you work to please other people, you aren’t free to be yourself. <<

You have a good point in this piece - one that needs to be heard. But I wonder if your self-confidence isn't quite as high as you think it is, since you repeat yourself often in order to make sure we get your point. I'd say at least a third of this piece could be trimmed, and it wouldn't lose a thing - in fact, because it would be tighter, it would increase its punch, its effectiveness.

I'd also encourage you to keep the personal info in there as much as you feel comfortable with. The beginning part of this piece really holds the readers' attention, but then when the personal touch ceases and the generalized statements take over, the piece loses its hold.

Again, you make good points, and your presentation is very good, in my opinion. I appreciate your efforts, and look forward to more of your work.
Lynne Gaunt05/25/04
This is well written and I understand the point you're trying to make, but this felt a bit one-sided to me - maybe a little defensive? The Bible also has much to say about humility, living as a servant, and denying self. Your article would have impacted me more if you had worked some balance into it. It really has great potential. Just my own thoughts...
Mary Elder-Criss05/25/04
I liked the article, and I agree with the points you are making. I do agree that the personal information and point of view held more impact. I also agree that it holds a note of self-defense in it. If you truly believe what you are saying, you don't need to defend yourself. I loved this line..."The goal is to become more like Christ, not the crowd." That was the statement that really shouted for me. Blessings, Mary
L.M. Lee05/26/04
man the sooner we learn this the better! We can care about people, but not care about what they think of us, the only opinion that is valid and true is the one Jesus holds of us!
L.M. Lee05/26/04
P.S. a writer told me one time....writers are usually loners who never fit in, which is good, because we can observe!
Leticia Caroccio05/27/04
Good article that raised many good points.

"Since when does anybody have a right to squeeze you into a mold?" This was a great question.

"In the end, you answer to God and no one else" There it is - the bottom line. It is only God's opinion that matters.

Good effort.
Jennifer Biron05/27/04
The intro really captured my interest, and the ending really spoke to my heart. Thanks for the blessings of your writings.
Deborah Porter 05/27/04
Sherri, good, gutsy article with a strong message that definitely needs to be heard. Do agree with the comments that it could be trimmed down a bit, but other than that it was a very good contribution for the challenge. With love, Deb
Michael Hamelink06/01/04
enjoyed it sherri. always be yourself.