observer

I don’t know your name. You probably feel like no one knows your name. You probably feel unnoticed and uninvited. 

I’ve seen the social media posts of boys asking girls to homecoming in insanely creative ways. Writing invites in their front yard, sending posters, showing up with balloons.

And you, sweet one, didn’t get asked. No one showed up at your front door with a balloon bouquet and creative poster, telling you how much they desire to go to “HOCO” with you. No one plastered your car with sticky notes that read “Will you go to homecoming with me?”

How I wish I knew your name. I would grasp your hands in mine and look into your young face and tell you I know what it feels like to not be asked – I was you.

In the mix of a new high school, with over 1,000 students, no one asked me to freshman homecoming. Just weeks into the transition from middle school to high school, and no one invited me to the first big event at the new school. I waited and hoped, but no one did.

Other girls had boyfriends, so they were automatically asked. Others held on to boyfriends they didn’t like so they wouldn’t risk not being asked. And others were asked by boys who looked at them and thought them worth asking. In a school as large as mine, no one asked me. I remember sitting at lunch, while other girls were asked, waiting to see if a boy would walk across the schoolyard and make his way to me. No one ever did.

After the dance, people traded pictures. Do high schoolers still trade dance pictures? When you’re the one who didn’t get asked, you don’t have any pictures to trade. No one wants to give you a picture of theirs because you don’t have one to give in return.

Can I stop with my story here and tell you this? 

Your worth isn’t determined by whether someone deems you worthy.Your value isn’t determined by one boy asking you one question.

I know the need to belong runs deeper than any other feeling you may know. You might not get asked this time, and you might not get asked the next. Don’t spend the rest of your high school years or the rest of your life determining your worth by what “they” ask you to or what you don’t get asked to.

I say those words as one who looked around during those first few weeks of my fragile high school years, and realized I was being left out of the whirling society spinning around me. I spent the next few years making sure I climbed every social ladder, placed myself into a position of popularity, and never went “unasked” again.

It didn’t feel the void.

There’s a lie being whispered into your ear that if you’d only been asked, then you wouldn’t feel so alone. But sometimes, you can be asked to all the right places, with the right people, and still feel a loneliness through the deepest parts of your soul, that longs to be filled.

If you could talk back to me through this letter, you’d probably tell me being left out hurts more than you thought possible. I know this. How I wish I could show up to your house on homecoming night when everyone else is at the dance, and tell you face to face that one lonely night will fade, but a lonely soul can last forever.

In her book “Uninvited,” author Lysa TerKeurst says it like this: “No person’s rejection can ever exempt me from God’s love for me. Period. No question mark. The most beautiful love story ever written is the one you were made to live with God.”

It took me years to fully understand His love story over my life. It started mid-high school when I realized the emptiness of chasing acceptance and popularity. When I said yes to His love story, it made all the other stories fade.

I’ve learned to listen to His invitation to the dance. 

Not being asked doesn’t mean you’re not loved. Not being chosen doesn’t mean you’re not worthy. Being left out doesn’t mean you’re alone. Dance with the One who never lets you go.