3 Things to Remember When You’re Feeling Left Out

Are you tired of feeling left out? You see, sometimes we have the notion that the feeling of being left out happened on our elementary school playground– a moment that is forever behind us. Often times though, I think it creeps up in our everyday relationships with friends, family, in athletics and in clubs. I have realized it is a grade school agony that can re-occur throughout life.

Most people can directly or indirectly relate to the feeling of being left out or being the “point person” to intentionally leaving someone out. I know too well the anxiety of this. Perhaps you have experienced similar “left out” feelings as a result of not being invited to someone’s birthday party, not being picked for the football team, or not being included in the cast of the latest play at your school. Or maybe you experienced the awkward moment when your “friends” make plans right in front of you, and the plans don’t include you. Whatever it is, it happens in high school, college and well beyond. It’s actually quite a sad reality that doesn’t improve over time, but seems to stay the course and/or possibly get worse into adulthood.

It is normal to feel pain when you are excluded or rejected because we all desire to be accepted and loved. We need community and when we feel left out, we experience sadness. But just because it’s normal to feel pain when you are rejected doesn’t make it hurt any less, so it is important to recognize a few things.

1) Realize you can’t change people

We can reflect on the actions of others for what seems like forever – why they were mean, why they didn’t include us, why were we the last to know the plans, how much it hurts to not understand the inside jokes – whatever it is. It’s true that they may have character flaws and areas in their life that they need to work on, but this is useless to our situation. We can pray for them (and I would encourage you to), but we need to recognize our needs in this situation. Also, what is God doing in the midst? Sometimes we can dwell so much on the feeling of being left out we miss what God is trying to give us. There’s a good chance He is asking us to turn to Him, to trust Him and seek our worth and identity in Him.  

2) God fulfills our deepest longings

The Gospel tells us that we aren’t going to be left out. We need to find peace and consolation in that message. Our friends, family, and other people may come and go, but God is faithful and He’s the one who will fulfill our deepest longings. The feeling of being left out is horrible, but it’s abated with knowing that God has given us everything. There will never be another human being to satisfy every desire of our human heart. It’s Christ. We belong to Christ and He welcomes us.

3) Jesus totally gets it

Jesus knows what it feels like to be abandoned and left out. Almost all had forsaken Jesus at the cross so when you feel abandoned or left out, think of Jesus on the cross.  When you feel abandoned, think about God’s word that He will never leave you, even when we might leave Him. He is a Father who keeps his promises to the end.

On this earth, we will be left out, we will be talked about, lied to, and used, but we have to continue to seek the Father. The feelings of rejection and being left out are never fun, but we can grow from the experiences, we can solidify our relationships with those who care about us, and we can strengthen our identity as a beloved son and daughter of Christ. Jesus says, “you’re in; you’re invited.”