I was forty-something. Plenty old enough to be beyond this, it seemed.
Praise music hovering, they gathered in clusters around a lively room, laughing and nodding between sips of coffee and bites of chocolate – familiar ears catching their words, safe hearts cushioning their sentiments.
I barely knew anyone, and the few who I did know(ish), they were busy filling their social cups with the people they actually knew. I felt small. Insignificant. Alone. No one wants to be that girl who stands on the periphery trying not to draw attention to the fact that she’s essentially the unknown, uninvited conversation-crasher.
Alone in a crowd, I silently wished I’d listened to the fear and stayed home that evening. We all want to feel like our hearts are met by others in authentic ways, not obligatory ways. And, oh how our hearts are wise to the difference.
With trusted, established circles and busy lives, grown-ups aren’t always seeking to invest in new relationships. It looks a whole lot like sacrifice to reach out when we feel overwhelmed and overextended with life as it is.
Always a people-person, I’m outgoing and social, but as I’ve aged, I don’t completely identify with the term “extrovert.” These days, I call myself a “Reserved Extrovert.”
Although never adverse to a mini-reunion with Sally and Suzy in the produce aisle, with age has come reservation…a reservation that I welcome. I’m not the one who’s going to comfortably invite herself into a conversation, or the one who’ll interrupt and speak over others in order to be heard.
Occasionally this can lead to the discovery of a superpower I never cared to possess—invisibility. I’d much prefer something more along the lines of Eats-Cupcakes-but-Doesn’t-Gain-an-Ounce. Now that’s a superpower I can get behind.
Sadly, I suspect I’m not the only one mired with this not-so-super power of invisibility.
Do you ever feel invisible? Left out? Less than? Not enough? Too much? Do you ever wonder why not you? Why you? Ever struggle with feeling misunderstood? Unknown?
Sister, so do I.
And so does she.
And so do they.
You’re not alone.
So often we feel as if everyone else has it all together, but what if they, too, secretly feel alone? Regardless of age or disposition, we all share this in common—every one of us longs to connect, to matter, to belong.
Next time you’re at a gathering, look around. Who is on the periphery? Who is desperately trying to hide behind the all-too-sheer air around her? Hint: she’s also the one who’s trying to appear to be fine.
Ask God for eyes to see the invisible one. Whether a “reserved extrovert”, a quiet introvert, or the social butterfly who’s secretly hoping she’s not too much—here’s the truth that trumps all differences—her bloodline is royal. Chosen at a high price, sung-over-by-the-breath-of-God-royalty. She needs to know that she’s a valued part of the family of God.
(And, bonus! You’ll already be fluent in the language of her heart when you’re sharing long walks on golden streets of eternity one day.)
She’s worth the step outside of the familiar. It’s not enough to wait for her to make the uncomfortable step toward us. We need to meet her where she is and bridge the ground between us.
It’s been a few years since that vulnerable night, but the memory serves as a springboard to take notice—to stretch out an open hand to the sister who longs to be known.
Let us not forget our place—we are not bigger than the greater mission. If it’s just about us, then it dies with us – and, well, Solomon had as fitting a word as I know for that. Meaningless.
Remind us, Lord…to get small, for deep at the heart of the small resides the great.
Once the distractions are shed into a barren heap on the floor, isn’t the thing we’re left with all that we really want anyway—to partner with Him in making a difference? By simply getting small? Amen?
We must decrease, He must increase. May that be the song of our hearts, the legacy of our lives.
A graceful word here, a hug there…what does it really cost us? But hold on to your bonnets—God’s abundance has such gracious borders. Oh, the breathtaking value this costless thing begets as it feeds starved hearts with the bread of belonging—multiplying and dividing well beyond us.
Let us seek to be sisters to one another in this world, long before we pass crystal cups of sugar through mansion windows in the next.
~ Happily linking up this week with Intentional Tuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, Coffee for Your Heart, beloved brews, Thought Provoking Thursday and #DanceWithJesus ~
Katie M. Reid says
So glad we are neighbors are the #RaRaLinkup. I have felt this often and so appreciate your vulnerability in sharing this. Thanks for the encouragement to reach out. I like to say, “Dare to extend and you just might find a friend.” I laughed when you said “reserved extrovert” because I call myself an “outgoing introvert.” 🙂
Katie M. Reid recently posted…Happy Anniversary to Mr. Steady
“Dare to extend and you just might find a friend.” I like that. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by today, and Happy Anniversary! 🙂
I think this may be my first time here so I’m glad I came. Oh the lyrical flow and imagery in your words pulled me right into that room with you. And I’ve been on both sides: the one nearly taking over the room and the invisible one. Your grace words have reminded me to “SEE’ the invisible one. Blessings to you friend.
Welcome, Tyra, so glad you stopped by. 🙂
Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement today, they’ve blessed me.
Angela Parlin says
Love this post, and will take the challenge to ask the Lord to help me see the invisible ones. I know He has stopped me a few times when I was enjoying seeing established friends, so that I would look for someone who needed to be brought into the circle, and I pray the Lord continues to help me do that.
Thanks for sharing at #RaRaLinkup today…and I can’t get over the cuteness of this font! 🙂
Doesn’t this font just make you smile? 🙂
Thanks for your kind words today, Angela.
You are so right in that we all want to feel connected. I have struggled with this most of my life, always feeling like an outsider. Thank you for this beautiful reminder and lesson today. Love this: “We must decrease, He must increase. May that be the song of our hearts, the legacy of our lives.” How true and helpful that is :).
Candace recently posted…Why We Write
Thank you so much for your sweet words of encouragement today, Candace. (((Hug)))
Beth (@SimplyBeth3) says
Well, I’m just so glad to find my way here today. This speaks to my heart in so many ways. Wow. Love your blog name and home here too. Blessings.
Beth (@SimplyBeth3) recently posted…Seasons, Chapters and Choosing Love
Well, I’m just so glad you found your way here today too, Beth.
Thank you for your kind words, they’ve blessed my heart. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by. <3
I love this post, Brenda, and your caring heart for the invisible ones. This getting small to partner with Him in making a difference. Yes, He must increase and we must decrease. Thank you for this.
Trudy recently posted…Save Me, God, and Lead Me to the Rock
Awe, thank you, Trudy, I’m touched by your sweet comments.
I love your little butterfly. I need to put a picture on my comment thingie. You’ve inspired me to get that on my list. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by today. (((Hug)))
Lisa notes says
I’ve been that person on the periphery, too. It’s so uncomfortable. But yes, it does make us aware next time to be the one who seeks out those who look alone. We do all belong, but we don’t all know it. Thanks, Brenda, for these encouraging words to get out and make a difference.
“We do all belong, but we don’t all know it.” Love that. So true. God give us eyes to see, so that we can welcome in the ones who don’t yet know that they belong. 🙂
Thank you, Lisa, for stopping by and encouraging me this morning.
Michele Morin says
Words of truth for me today. Thank you for the spot light on John the Baptist’s words of humility — o.k. in the place God planted him.
Michele Morin recently posted…Messing Up and Moving On
(((Hug)) Thank you for stopping by today, Michele.
~**~ Blessings to you ~**~
Valerie Sisco says
I’m visiting from Holley’s link-up today. I love the way you describe yourself — reserved extrovert! Isn’t it true that when we reach out and make a difference, we know it’s not about us! Enjoyed my visit here! 🙂
Valerie Sisco recently posted…The Bus Stops Here
Hey Valerie, great to see you here.
Thanks for stopping by with your kind words today. 🙂
Debbie Prater says
I can certainly relate. I’d rather be on the sidelines. I’m not a social butterfly by any means. I love how you point out the perspective of searching out others. Loved reading your blog. Great writing.
Awe, thank you, Debbie for your sweet encouragement. (((hug)))
I just read your blog, but apparently I’m not signed up for the service that you use for comments. I wanted to tell you that I read “A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet” too. Such a cute book. 🙂
Thank you for stopping by and blessing me today.
‘God’s abundance has such gracious borders.’ Such sweet words and sweet reminders – I’m a first time visitor and have so enjoyed your site and your post. Thanks! Visiting from 3DLessonsforLife.
Hi Sandra, so glad you stopped by. 🙂
Thank you for your kind words today.
Love how you turned it around from an inward “thing” to an outward reach toward others. Truly, we’re all in this same boat called life, and when we reach the hand of Jesus to others, it makes a difference. Enjoyed your post.
Kristi recently posted…3 Ways to Fix Your Eyes
Thanks Kristi. 🙂
All in the same boat called life, indeed.
Thank you for your kind words this morning.
Such a lovely post. I’ve been that girl on the periphery so many times I lost count. Lord, make me small so that you increase! Amen!
Liz recently posted…Ball and Chain
Hey Liz. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by today and sharing your thoughts and encouragement. ((Hug))
Deb Wolf says
Hi Brenda, I loved this and shared a link to it on Counting My Blessings today. This one really speaks to my heart. I know it will touch many others as well. Enjoy a blessing-filled weekend.
Deb Wolf recently posted…A Declaration – One of My Most Embarrassing Moments
Bless your heart, Deb. How sweet are you?!
Thanks so much for the encouragement and for sharing.
(((( Great Big Hugs ))))) <3
Crystal Storms says
Brenda, I love how God uses our hurts to see the hurting around us. I’ve been there too, the one on the perimeter pretending to be find while secretly wishing I had just stayed home. Your words remind me others are there now, waiting to be invited in. Thank you, Brenda, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )
Crystal Storms recently posted…Are You Kind to You?
He’s good at using our discomfort, isn’t He? Love how He doesn’t waste anything, but redeems even the yucky moments to bring glory to Himself.
Thanks for stopping by, Crystal, and for hosting the Intentional Tuesday Linkup. 🙂 ((Hug))
Such a nice reminder. Yes, we are usually not alone in how we feel. May we not let fear get in the way of reaching out to others! Visiting from #dancewithJesus.
Kristen recently posted…Managing Meltdowns like a Wise Woman
Thanks for stopping in and visiting, Kristen.
~ Blessings <3
a spirit of simplicity says
Susan B Mead says
Occasionally this can lead to the discovery of a superpower I never cared to possess—invisibility.
OHHHH! WOW, I never thought of it like that before. POW! Reserved extrovert. Folks perceive me to be very confident, yet some days… Hummmmm….I believe you struck a chord with me today, Brenda. Thank you for sharing.
Susan B Mead recently posted…I Pledge Allegiance ~ Linkup
It was sort of an Ah-ha moment for me too, Susan, when it occurred to me that my reserved nature and my extroverted nature didn’t have to be in conflict with one another.
So happy to hear that it struck a chord with you today. 🙂
Thank you for stopping by and sharing your encouragement with me, this morning. ((Hug)) <3
This is beautiful. I can honestly say I’ve felt invisible so many times in my life. Loved this, “Once the distractions are shed into a barren heap on the floor, isn’t the thing we’re left with all that we really want anyway—to partner with Him in making a difference? By simply getting small?” Yes and AMEN!
Barbie recently posted…My Lifeâ¦A Gift To Be Used For His Glory // The Weekend Brew
Barbie, so glad that you stopped by today. 🙂
Thank you for your sweet words this morning, they’ve been a blessing to me. <3
Betsy de Cruz says
I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve visited your blog, Brenda, and I’m so glad I found it through #DanceWithJesus.
What a beautiful post about something we can all relate to. I think I know what you mean about the aging thing too. (I’m 51.) I don’t have quite the energy I used to, and I always considered myself an extrovert, but now I’m not so sure. Thanks for this reminder to reach out to those on the periphery. So important.
Betsy de Cruz recently posted…When You Want More out of Time with God
Welcome, Betsy. 🙂 So glad you found your way here this morning. Thank you for stopping in and sharing your heart. <3
Holly Barrett says
Brenda, I’ve never thought about what a sacrifice it is to step out of established and comfortable relationships to meet someone new. Especially at a party, when everyone just wants to relax and have a good time. Thanks for helping me see with grace and mercy that it’s not that I’m unlovable or not worth getting to know or that people are rude or stuck-up. And thanks especially for the reminder to look for those on the periphery of life. Those who need someone to make the sacrifice for them.
Holly Barrett recently posted…Testimony Tuesday: Lyli Dunbar
(((Holly))) Seems like “sacrifice” is the key word, doesn’t it?
Thank you for your kind words this morning, so glad you stopped by. <3 ((hug))
Tia @Suits to Spit Up says
What a neat blog you have here! I absolutely LOVE your writing style…so raw, refreshing and real!
I love the “reserved extrovert” title as I believe it suits me well too. I am a very outgoing person who is not known as shy, but on the inside I feel invisible a lot of times. This post captured and conveyed what I have been struggling with for the past month. It’s like I’ve turned invisible or something. I’ve even asked my family, “Hello, can anybody hear me?”.
Anyway…praising God our paths have crossed. I look forward to coming here often for a cup of “real talk” Jesus style. ?
Tia @Suits to Spit Up recently posted…Dispelling the Myths of Coming Home – #1
Tia, aren’t you a blessing?! Thank you for your kind words.
I look forward to getting to know you. ((HUG)) <3
Nannette and the Sweetheart says
Passing crystal cups of sugar through our mansion windows….love! I pray I will pass some of that down here until we get over yonder. Beautiful post!!
Nannette and the Sweetheart recently posted…Today, everything is FREE!