I try to be myself, as God made me: self-assured, smiling, and listening before jumping into a conversation. But trust from strangers doesn’t happen in an instant. I have asked God, “Am I auditioning for a play?” Sometimes I feel as if I’m being tested, having to prove to other people that I’m fit to be included. I understand they don’t know me; but if I worry about what they think of me and get upset about being worthy of their time, then I become less of a person.
God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7a (NRSV)
When I’m lonely, I look to God for comfort, knowing that if God wants me to be part of the group, it will happen. In the meantime, I have a few choices of my own to make. I search out other people like myself—readers, Christians, volunteers. Locating a library, a church, and an animal shelter are next on my list—these are places I tend to find people most like myself. Smiles go a long way in making new friends, but I’ve learned I can’t push. Friendship takes time.
ACT ON IT: Look around for new kids at school who might be having trouble fitting in. Extend a warm smile, and ask some questions about their hobbies and families. Create an opportunity for a friendship to begin.