When I felt excluded

It was the beginning of my sophomore year, and I had just transferred back to my local high school after spending a year at a different school. Though I knew some of my classmates, I still felt excluded and like I didn’t belong, since I had missed a year with them. This feeling was heightened when I was with my soccer team. 

Almost everyone already had a friend on the team, so I felt no one wanted me to be there. During games, there were moments when my teammates would get frustrated with me, and I seriously considered quitting the team. 

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I talked with my parents and friends about it. But when I still couldn’t decide what to do, I realized I could pray about the situation, as I’d learned in Christian Science Sunday School.

One of my favorite hymns from the Christian Science Hymnal is by Mary Baker Eddy and is called “ ‘Feed My Sheep.’ ” When I don’t know where else to start when I pray, I often think about this hymn, because it reminds me of God’s guidance. 

I seriously considered quitting the team. 

As I began to pray with this hymn, I was drawn to part of the second stanza, where it says,

Strangers on a barren shore, 
Lab’ring long and lone, 
We would enter by the door, 
And Thou know’st Thine own; 
(Poems, p. 14)

I felt like I was on my own metaphorical “barren shore.” I was with a group of people who seemed like strangers, and things felt barren—like I was excluded from good. “Laboring long and lone” also described the way I felt: alone while I tried to impress my teammates and meet the standards they had set for me.

Instead of feeling excluded, I realized we were all included—in God’s goodness.

As I kept praying, I thought about the next part, which says, “We would enter by the door.” It reminded me of this statement in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “Stand porter at the door of thought” (p. 392). This means to be aware of the thoughts that are coming to you and decide which ones you’re going to accept and believe and which ones you’re going to reject. If the thoughts are from God, Love, then they’re ones you want to listen to. I realized I needed to be doing that when I thought about my teammates.

Finally, I got to, “And Thou know’st Thine own.” Thinking about this line helped me see that the way God knows my teammates and me is as good. God is good, and we all reflect Him, so we all must be good. I knew I could trust this. 

Knowing that God sees only the truth about me and my abilities helped me to express them with my team and on the field. With this revelation, I was able to finish my season on a good note. I continued to express my God-given abilities, and to recognize everyone else’s, too. Instead of feeling excluded, I realized we were all included—in God’s goodness.

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