Those of Us Who Don't Quite Fit In

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” Psalm 139:14-16.

Imagine this: You’re HoH (Hard of Hearing) and you’re in a room with 5 other people. There’s some background noise going on and someone is sharing to the group about a humiliating incident that happened to her recently. You try to grasp every detail that spills from her mouth but then she says something that stirs up excitement, and the surrounding environment gets worse. All you hear are a bunch of incoherent and unfinished sentences. Everyone's laughing, going back and forth, and clicking. Everyone, but you. Fun, right? 

I find myself in this situation often, and most of the time I ask to get filled in. It’s very easy for me to get left out of conversations. How can I actively be in a conversation if I don’t know what's being said?

The thing is: because I’m often quiet in social situations, people aren’t sure of how to interact with me. I either appear too nice or sensitive for satiric humor, I don’t seem to care about what they’re saying, or I don’t look approachable. In these moments, the lies and assumptions would seep into my mind and I start to think that people may not see me as someone worth being friends with.

“I guess since they’re not including me in conversations, they don't care about me as much.” I start to compare myself to others: “If I was more outspoken, this, or that, like her then people would like me more.”

We live in a society where we tend to compare and associate our worth with things like: the amount of friends we have, if we’re as successful as someone else, or numbers—i.e., likes on instagram, weight, grade percentage. Let me tell you, so much of my energy has been wasted trying to force myself, or a situation, to change somehow. I realize, now, that I can only do so much in a group setting, but what I can do is stick to the few people who are willing to work with me within these spaces. God makes no mistakes. My disability isn’t a burden, it’s a part of me and it has helped shape me to be a good listener, patient, attentive, and kind.

We try so hard to change ourselves, or our situation, by ourselves instead of turning to a loving, all powerful, and trustworthy God. Why do we attempt to do things alone when we have this amazing God? I ask myself this all the time and I don’t have a straight answer; but I do know, however, that my identity lies in the God who created me fearlessly and wonderfully and who’s continuously working in me. I’ll forever be praying and practicing to place my confidence in the sovereign Lord, my God, and not in the people or things around me.

Lord, may I stay tethered to you for all of this is temporary and all that I am is defined by You and Your unconditional love for me. Show me how to have confidence rooted in You and to live free. 

WRITTEN BY DESIREE WASHINGTON

Sarah Witmer