If you always feel like you never really fit in, like you can't truly connect with anyone else, as if you don't belong anywhere comfortably, and you refuse to stay in a space that just isn't for you,
today, I want to deliver you with some very important news:
You're probably out of shape.
No, don't worry. This has nothing to do with the fact that you haven't used your gym membership in months. (Though the shoe fits for me too...)
What I am saying, though, is that that box society likes to put people in to satisfy their social norms and labels? Yeah, you don't fit into them.
And, the categories and boundaries our culture would rather everyone stay within? Nope! You don't fit into them either.
Which is why I thought it would only be appropriate if I told it to you straight:
You, my friend, are out of shape.
Now, looking at that statement plainly, "out of shape" sounds rather derogatory. It would 9 times out of 10 get a "What did you call me!?" reaction. As it should! "Out of shape" is not much of a compliment. It's unpopular—a bit disrespectful to point out.
But, if you're one of those people who just don't seem to fit in...I hate to break it to you, but you don't!
And, thank God that you don't. The last thing the world needs is another photocopy of everyone else. Have you not noticed that this is what has been happening? That we've been living in a copy and paste culture? A whatever-is-the-most-popular-trend society? That the world is trying to limit everyone's voice, image, and style to one box that if you dare break out or live outside of, you become a threat to culture's agenda?
And, can't you see what's wrong with that? Be honest!
Everything is simply the same! Same style, same message, same sound, same image. It's all shuffled and shaken into a box that culture likes to rule and run.
But, if you're one of those people who can't fit or feel uncomfortable even trying to step in and make room, I'll say it again: You are out of shape.
And, this would explain why you always feel more on the outside than in, why you often feel out of place, as if you don't necessarily belong. Perhaps it's the reason why you frequently find yourself in disagreement with the majority, why everything you say and think comes off as different, odd, and maybe a bit irrational. Let me assure you: You're not doing anything wrong. The reason why you don't fit in is because you don't.
How would I know? Well, I'm out of shape too.
You got that right. I'm writing from absolute experience. In all of my nineteen years of living, I think the hardest thing that I ever had to do was grow up. Seriously. Thinking about how all I wanted to be when I was a kid was older makes me sick. Growing up is tough. It's challenging, frustrating, and simply uncomfortable, and a lot of the reasons why there was so much difficulty for me was because I had to come to terms with the fact that I am out of shape—only that this was just recently confirmed by a prophetic word spoken over my life.
One night, a woman from my church pulled me over in the middle of a special service and told me the very thing I am telling you today: You are out of shape.
In other words, she put it like this:
No matter how hard you push, no matter how hard you try, there is one thing you simply cannot do: make a shape fit in a space it doesn't belong. If you took a cube, there is no way it's going to fit in the place of a sphere. A sphere will not fit properly into a pyramid. A pyramid won't sit right within the boundaries of a cylinder, and so on. No matter how you play with it, shapes only fill the space they are designed to fill. You can't force it to fit anyplace else.
And, in that, she presented me with a beautiful sense of clarity. After the many years of feeling like I didn't live up to the label I was "supposed" to satisfy, why I couldn't find a place where I could truly belong, she made it very clear: I'm out of shape. And, even more firm, she nearly made me promise her this: "Don't you dare change that."
Because for those of us who are out of shape, that's our biggest temptation: To change. To camouflage with the others. To sacrifice parts of ourselves to fit in.
You know why? Because the world doesn't like people who live outside of their box.
That's right. The world hates people who are out of shape. They bully people who live by a different standard. They mock people like us.
In other words, if you're out of shape, here's some more bad news:
You won't be liked by everyone.
And, yikes! Isn't that the prize everyone is trying to win? To get the dazzling, overvalued award of merely "being liked?" And, who can blame them? Being liked is a warm feeling. Being liked makes you feel as if you belong somewhere. You're no longer out of shape. You fit the box perfectly. You don't have to feel like the outcast, the weirdo—constantly wondering why you often feel at odds with others, like you're the alien in the group. You can fit in, sit back, relax, and just be liked by everyone else.
Sounds nice, doesn't it?
...Only that you become this counterfeit replica of the world you were supposed to change, not fit into.
And, I don't know about you, but that's not a price I'm willing to pay.
If you want the truth, I would love to be liked by everyone—to be understood, supported, and accepted by many. But, the cost of being out of shape is that I may have to be separated and set apart from the rest, become comfortable with being uncomfortable, used to standing out. This requires a stubbornness, a refusal to conform to the ways of the world even if I was begged to. Being out of shape means I have to accept the fact that I will never fit in and stick with my purpose even if I'm alone.
And to every reader who is out of shape, the same goes for you.
You will be tempted to trim, or even stretch, yourself to fill spaces you were never designed to fill. The desire to be "liked" and "normal" may want to overtake you, alluring you to belittle yourself to suit everyone else. But, I want you to promise me the same thing the woman at my church made me promise her that night:
Don't you ever change.
We are running out of people who are out of shape. People like you and I are going extinct. If you're trying to fit into culture's box, you should know that there's competition. Everyone is trying to fit in, but you are not everyone else. You can't do the things that other people do because you're not other people. You are you, and you are rare, and the reason why people treat you differently is because they should. You are not the same. You will never fit in. And, what a shame it would be if you cheapened your purpose for the lousy goal of being liked. Don't you ever change the fact that you are out of shape. If anything, we need more people like you and I.
Don't get me wrong. We're not better than anyone. We're the weird ones, remember? We're the ones who stand out. And, it's exactly what the world needs—people who don't conform, who don't break under societal pressures, who prefer to stay unpopular than to trade their destiny to fit in.
Because, I don't know about you, but I'd much rather change the world than fit into it.
The world can keep its inner circle. I'm not going to let popular culture limit my purpose to a box. I will make my own shapes and fill my own spaces. I'm not going to make myself smaller just so I can fit in.
And, it's in that decision to reject the glorious gift of being accepted where I can truly honor the uniqueness that comes with being me. I can enjoy my life living by a different standard, clinging to what's good, never being shaken. I don't have to spend time working my way into an inner circle because I've already accepted the fact that I don't fit in. And, I celebrate that. I boast about that. I am out of shape, and I prefer it that way.
And, you should feel the same too.
Don't fold under the pressure of wanting to be accepted, because—news flash!—you won't be. You'll just be the world's next copy cat, and you'll only be limited to trends and statuses. So, you better know who you are, and make up your mind that you won't conform even if they begged you. Everyone around you can see that you're different, and if it makes them uncomfortable, let them squirm. You weren't made to be like the world. Your purpose was never that you fit in. Stand out, even if you're alone. We need more unashamed and unafraid out of shape individuals.