A Note from Mary Margaret West: If we sat down to talk, we could all share stories of when we felt like we didn’t belong. There are girls in every single one of our lives who feel this way. Abby gives us some key biblical reminders as we minister to girls who think they don’t belong.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace and redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24, CSB.
Moses, Rahab, Zacchaeus and a man with leprosy. What do these people have in common? They all felt as though they didn’t belong. Not only were they outcasts from society, they believed that God could not and would not use them.
In today’s world, it is easy to put yourself and others in categories. Sometimes the categories are innocuous: “we like the same music, we play the same sport.” Other times the categories can be isolating and hurtful: “They look like this, so they must act like that; I don’t have a ton of Bible verses memorized so my youth leader will look down on me; God couldn’t use me because of the things I’ve done; I am fine doing life on my own. I don’t need God and I certainly don’t need youth group.”
As leaders in student ministry, we work super hard to make the experience of youth group so fun and engaging that we may forget that some of the kids are really struggling to find their place. They are struggling to understand the importance of community and hearing God’s word. They feel like it just doesn’t make sense that they are in the same room as all of these perfect people and their perfect faith. Some are bored, some are bitter.
It is so important to remind our students that God not only uses broken vessels, He makes them whole. Reinforce that none of us are perfect but can be made perfect in Christ.
Moses had a stutter and God used him to free His chosen people.
Rahab was a prostitute and God used her to rescue the spies in Jericho and to be in the lineage of Jesus Christ Himself.
Zacchaeus was an embezzler and Jesus used him to show the self-righteous people that He came to save the lost.
The man with leprosy didn’t think he was worthy to be healed. Jesus was there waiting with anticipation to heal him.
Moses, Rahab, Zacchaeus and a man with leprosy. What do all of these people have in common? Jesus used them in spite of how they saw themselves. Girls who think they don’t belong are standing in good company.
Many people have said, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.”
(Matthew 1:5, Luke 5:12-13, Luke 19:5+9, Joshua 6:22+25, Exodus 4:10-11, Romans 3:23-24)
Abby Underwood As a self-described introvert, Abby Underwood has struggled with social anxieties her whole life. Once she fully realized her value in Christ, she overcame the challenges of loneliness and stress that had dominated her relationships. With her unique perspective of life and being pastored by some of the leading pastors in small group development and church planting, Abby determined to use her life experience to make a difference. Her new found joy and freedom fueled Abby’s passion to help girls find their identity in Christ. To encourage high school and college aged girls to step out of their self-limiting boxes and become world changers, she created the service group, Girls Leading and Simply Serving (GLASS). Abby works as a member of the social media team and student ministry at Life.Church Hendersonville.