Their narrow vertical stripes alternated.
Like a dusty, old record that skips, the blue and white repeated the pattern over and over, encasing each pant leg. The stripes were smaller, maybe 1/4″ in width, not nearly narrow enough to be called pen stripes, but not wide enough to be considered large either. The recently purchased item was a gift, hand-picked and purchased by my mom. That pair was my new-found pride and joy, and I couldn’t wait to wear the pants to school!
Bounding off the big yellow school bus and through the school’s large double grey doors, I managed the kids’ version of speed walking. Had I have been allowed to run, I most certainly would have, but running wasn’t permitted.
The excitement bubbled as I sped to class. After all, I had new pants to show off!
“Did you just get out of jail?” my little friend commented with an innocent snicker. “It looks like you’re wearing jail pants!” he mocked in delight.
He had no clue the upheaval his words had created.
Butterflies took flight in my stomach as my countenance and shoulders fell. I didn’t want to be known as the girl who wore jail pants. I wanted to be liked and wanted everything about me to be liked. It’s the trap many of us fall prey to.
I didn’t want to be made fun of, I desperately wanted to be accepted.
Sadly, I failed to recognize that I already was accepted, that I was chosen.
Those two simple, little words, jail pants, created an acceptance storm of great magnitude within me. It was the beginning of many storms to come over the years as I grew and desperately attempted to figure out who I was.
In my third grade classroom that day, the skies in my little corner of world darkened with intensity.
Thunder crashed the skies of my perfectly accepted world. Something about me wasn’t liked, wasn’t perfect, wasn’t accepted. And when we’re not accepted, we’re not chosen.
It left me in a tumbled mess.
Blue and white striped pants, new or old, weren’t so great after all. In fact, they were an embarrassment in the face of non-acceptance. I couldn’t wait to get home to change them.
I never wore those jail pants again.
Many of us have our own version of blue and white jail pants. We put them on, one virtual leg at a time, in hopes of finding acceptance. We want to be chosen. To be okay. To be part of the group.
I’ve been there with you. Hey, I might have even led the pack at times!
The right pants + the right makeup or hair
The right experiences and things
Being the most perfect mom or the perfect Christian
Always keeping calm, using the right tone
Simply put, these means to acceptance aren’t true. You’re already accepted. You’re already chosen.
We’re already accepted. We were chosen before our pants, hair, or perceived perfection ever was.
Please let that soak in. He chose you before the creation of the world. You and I can try as we will, but nothing we do or say will change the fact that “chosen” is stamped all over us.
His love blows me over with the acceptance it offers. Only a God of great mercy and love can do what ours has already done.
Renew your mind in God’s truth today, my friend.
Even as an adult, the pressure to be part of or “like” the crowd is evident, even in Christian circles. Don’t be deceived, don’t fall prey.
It’s okay. You have permission to ignore that pressure, that pull. After all, you’re chosen, and that’s all that’s necessary.
Thank You, Jesus.
If you’re searching for a resource to encourage you in the journey of leaving perfection behind and feeling accepted, Holley Gerth’s You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect is well worth the read.
Please feel free to visit the following fellow Jesus lovers and encouragers as they and many others write words that change lives: