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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Peer Pressure (07/05/04)

TITLE: "IN" or "OUT"?
By Rose Gingerich


Growing up in a small community where everyone knows each other can be hard for any little girl. I was no different. I was concerned about what others thought of me just as much as any other little girl, I suppose. We didn’t have lots of money or “things”, yet we had plenty. We worked together and we had a lot of fun together as a family. When others made fun of my curly hair or anything they could think of, to have fun at my expense, I was hurt. I wanted to be popular and to be liked. I wanted to do things and have things like others had, thinking they would not laugh at me. It seemed to me, like you were either “in or out”. When I did get a new dress or new shoes, I was no happier because of it and they still made fun of me. It didn’t seem to matter that I was at the top of the class or got straight A’s, they still picked on me for some reason. I couldn’t seem to make them like me.

This experience taught me a lot of things. I found out that having what others have is not where happiness lies. I learned to be myself and not try to be someone I was not. How could someone like me if they didn’t know the real me? They would only like who I pretended to be. I learned that those who mocked others were really hurting and insecure themselves and hurt others to try to make themselves feel better. I also learned who I am in Christ and to accept myself for who I am.

Raising children of my own now, I am teaching my children that real happiness does not lie in having things, or doing the things others do, but rather true happiness lies in making someone else happy and being who Christ made us to be. I have also learned that I would rather have my children be the ones to be picked on and made fun of, than to do so to others. I would rather they would be “out” than “in”. Sometimes children can be so cruel, but usually the ones being cruel have deep hurts inside. I want my children to be secure in my love and in Christ’s love so they never have to hurt someone trying to prove themselves.

A few years ago when I was home visiting my family, a lady, who I used to go to school with, came to see me. She had been one of the girls who used to make fun of me and wanted to ask for my forgiveness. I had forgiven her as well as the others and only saw it as a growing experience, but it had still bothered her after all these years. We had a very nice talk and I told her I had forgiven her years ago. I have heard a number of similar stories recently of people coming years later to ask forgiveness for making fun of someone.

I would just like to encourage anyone going through a struggle with being “in or out”, that it is better to just be yourself than to pretend to be something you’re not. Discover your true identity in Christ and accept yourself for who He made you to be. He has a plan and a purpose for you and for your life. It may hurt to be made fun of, but you will feel better about yourself being mocked, than mocking someone else. So if being “in” means mocking someone, choose “out”.

Member Comments
Member Date
L.M. Lee07/09/04
Discover your true identity in Christ and accept yourself for who He made you to be. - this is the absolute truth!
Lynne Gaunt07/14/04
There is such truth in your story Rose! I really liked this part:

How could someone like me if they didn’t know the real me? They would only like who I pretended to be.

Well done!
Melanie Kerr 07/16/04
I used to long to be in the "In" crowd, but never made it either. A lot of what you have written mirrors my experience.
Phyllis Inniss07/16/04
It is so true that those who hurt others are themelves hurting inside. You learnt some very good lessons when you were young. Thank God you can pass them on to your children.
Marcell Billinghurst07/18/04
This is an excellent article and one many of us can relate to. You are so right. Finding our identity in Christ, is far more important than the approval of others.