Sunday, March 3, 2013

Over Looked

Ever been the one left standing by yourself when folks are picking teams?

I have. It's not a nice feeling. It's like the team captains saw you, but didn't want you. Or perhaps they just picked their friends - or the ones who were the best at scoring goals. Being small in stature (as I was and still am, obviously) was a liability. I always got the impression they were looking over my head - like I was invisible or something. At any rate, I spent a lot of time on the sidelines when I was a kid.  

Being overlooked sucks. 

I thought high school was a thing of the past.
Just saying. 

"Teenage Girls Gossiping" courtesy of Ambro at
I don't know. Maybe it's because I'm under five feet, and I've been treated like a non-entity so many times (people looking past me at someone else who's taller, better looking, or older - or younger), that I'm more sensitive to it today. It's a deeply wounded place for me. And - it seems - when there is such a place that's raw and hurting, it turns into a magnet for more of the same. People can be cruel without even meaning to be. 

And when they actually MEAN to be - it's even worse. Especially ... especially if it comes from someone whom you like, whom you wish liked you. Even a little. Or who (worse yet) has told you that you're special to them - but who chooses to be around others when the crunch comes. 

I've been in situations where I've been right there - RIGHT THERE - when someone needed something I had to offer, something I had offered to provide  on many occasions. And ... they picked someone else. Right in front of me

Over and over again. I get so sick of it happening time after time, every time. I try to be gracious about it; I try to follow the advice of those who blithely offer it: "Don't let it get to you." The truth of the matter is that it hurts.

It hurts a LOT. And it happens most frequently ... in the church. The sense of being betrayed that rises up in me is hard to escape - and hard to stomach. In fact, it feels like someone took a good running start, and kicked me in the gut.

The psalmist wrote about this phenomenon.

"It is not an enemy who taunts me; I could have borne that.
It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me - I could have hidden from them.
Instead, it is you - my equal, my companion and close friend.
What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God." (Psalm 55:2-14, NLT)

The psalmist then prays for nasty things to happen to folks like this. I can understand that sentiment all too well! Treatment like that makes me want to blow this pop stand ... sky high. Many times, I've wanted to just walk away and never look back.  Oh no, not walk away from God - don't misunderstand me. I just get so tired of ... being overlooked, taken for granted, ignored. 

And it's not that I'm after any kind of recognition or applause, or for people to call attention to me and tell me how wonderful I am just because they think that this is what motivates me. It doesn't.  Sometimes, though, I feel like the person who's been at a company for a long time and the younger, better looking people come in and rise to the top, even though that person is just as qualified for a promotion. Nobody even thinks to offer it to him. After all, that's the way it's always been. And hey, he might even turn such a promotion down - but how would they know if they never asked? it never even crossed their minds.

So ... more and more, I've been choosing to be around people who like having me around, people who appreciate my contribution. Tragically enough, that seems to be those who are NOT in the church. Either the church people don't like me, or they have no clue how to show love and consideration. Or maybe they don't want to be associated with someone who freely admits that she doesn't have it all together. It messes with the "Christians are supposed to be perfect and mature at all times" fallacy.

You can only take so much pain before it gets to be too much. At that point, you start to shut down, shut people out, shut up, and shut off.
So ... if anyone wonders why I hesitate to volunteer for things anymore in the church - perhaps it might help if they stepped inside my size 7 footwear for a while. I'm sure they wouldn't want to stay in my shoes for very long.  

I know I don't. 

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