Celebrating The Misfits – April’s Story
My 8-year-old daughter has become a big advocate for kids that are excluded or mistreated by other kids. I am so proud of her, not just because of her compassion and kindness but because I know first hand what its like to be one of those kids, a misfit.
I grew up in a trailer out in the sticks. This was definitely not cool. Where I grew up cool was living in a two-story house in a subdivision, preferably one of the subdivisions that had a big rock entrance sign. That was really cool.
My dad was a mechanic, my mom a high-school dropout who worked in a warehouse; they weren’t involved with my school or with other people’s parents. My parents were definitely not cool!
In elementary school the white shoes with the blue tag on the back called KEDS, were super cool! I didn’t have KEDS. I had the white shoes without the blue tag on the back from Payless shoes. I was not cool.
I had friends but I tried really hard to fit into the popular circle. I got my foot in every once in a while and was elated by the acceptance. Finally, I felt like I belonged. One day in 3rd grade, I was playing at recess and a group of the ‘popular’ girls, whom I thought I was actually friends with, walked up to me at the swing set and said, ‘April, we all feel like you are trying to be like us. You are trying to copy us and well, you really just don’t fit.’
I was shattered. I remember those words so vividly ‘you just don’t fit!’ Her words knocked the breath out of me. I felt rejected and as a little kid you just don’t quite know what to do with those feelings. I remember her words but I don’t remember mine. I may have said nothing, I was so hurt, but knowing me back in the day, I probably cussed them out (you know us trailer park kids, we knew how to cuss!). Either way, my feelings were hurt and my identity was shaken.
I knew I didn’t fit. My family didn’t have money. My mom didn’t understand ‘style’ or what was ‘in’. And even if she had she didn’t have the money to spend it on expensive fashion. As I grew up I carried a piece of that conversation with me everywhere I went. It became a part of me ‘you just don’t fit.’ To be honest I still ‘don’t fit.’
But now I am older I am so thankful that I don’t fit. I look around this cookie cutter society where everyone is following someone who doesn’t even know where they’re going and I am grateful that I am not in that crowd anymore.
I realized that Jesus was a misfit. (Regardless of our Christian subculture these days, don’t for a second think that Jesus was a hipster… because he wasn’t.) Sure, at times crowds surrounded him in his ministry but he often made the choice to pull away from them. Other times folks didn’t stick around for long because the message he brought was too confronting for them.
As I walked the course with Jesus I began to realize that the Creator of The Universe had intentionally created me. I was created on purpose and with a purpose. My story didn’t have to look like someone else’s story. I didn’t have to be popular to be accepted by Jesus. I didn’t have to ‘fit in’ for God to use me. As my eyes opened I started to see others who were alone and looking for a place to sit and belong. I decided to stop being a victim and create my own darn table that everyone is welcome to sit at.
I am very passionate about teaching people to be comfortable with whom they are. I know that’s hard, especially when you’re younger in school and surrounded by peer pressure and the need to be accepted. It can be extremely tough! I was always naturally drawn to the “misfits” and the “underdogs”. I have always been drawn to them and them to me.
Misfits are full of treasure and I feel sorry for anyone who has belittled or bullied such magnificent beings. This world is so twisted and we can easily become robots if we are not established in the Truth of Jesus Christ. We have to be anchored to Him and Him alone.
I have realized that you and I don’t have to be accepted by people to be valuable. God loves us just as we are and He doesn’t give up on us no matter how many times we get it wrong. He pours out His love on us constantly. Our Heavenly Father treasures each of us.
HERE’S TO MY FELLOW MISFITS – BE YOU, BE FREE, and PRESS ON!
To connect with April visit www.poynterjourney.wordpress.com