"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." - Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV)
It’s Not Easy Being Pluto
By Jennifer E. Jones
The news stunned me. I felt my heart sink in my chest. Everything I ever knew about astronomy came crashing down.
I stared in disbelief at the television. The scrolling headline read: “Pluto: Not a Planet.” How could this be?
Astronomers declassified Pluto as the ninth planet, saying it’s too small under their new guidelines. After generations as a part of the solar system, Pluto got the boot. I was crushed.
OK, so maybe it wasn’t that dramatic but it was certainly strange to hear, wasn’t it? We all did solar system projects in school. I don’t know about you but I had fun making the little Pluto. So much smaller than his brothers and sisters, he hung out on the outskirts of the explored universe. He was the underdog, the little guy. And now he’s been kicked out of the club.
I feel Pluto’s pain. In my opinion, life is just an adult version of junior high – complete with cliques, who-likes-who gossip, and the sheer desperation of wanting to fit in. At one time or another, we’ve all been a little Pluto.
I was no exception. My middle and high school years closely resembled Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink -- except I didn’t have a car, nor a boyfriend named Blaine and I had even less fashion sense.
Puberty must have shut off the side of my brain that produced rational thinking. For little to no reason, I hated myself. After years of loving affirmation from my parents, suddenly I was too skinny. My head was oddly shaped. My feet were too big and on and on.
The girls at school didn’t help much either. Like every other high school in America, my school had its crew of “Mean Girls.” Their job was to make everyone outside of the clique feel small and insignificant. In hindsight, they picked the most ridiculous things about me to make fun of, but at the time, their insults seemed monumental.
By high school, things were looking up. I knew my place in the social ranks and was happy to stay there with the other nerdy comrades. Just as I got comfortable, we moved from the East Coast to the Midwest, and I got, as I like to call it, electric culture shock.
Remember that TV show, Beverly Hills 90210, where Brandon and Brenda Walsh moved to a new school their junior year and were instantly popular? Yeah, that’s total fantasy. I spent the better part of my junior and senior year behind a camera as a videographer for the school’s cable access show. By then I figured that if you can’t join ‘em, film ‘em (Incidentally, I avoided my 10-year high school reunion for fear of wearing a nametag that read: That Camera Girl).
I’m happy to report that things have changed, and I’d like to think that this odd duckling grew up into… well, a more confident odd duckling. I built up my social skills and learned that the sense of humor I shared with my family worked at parties too. Eventually, I got people to start laughing with me rather than at me.
Today, I’m well adjusted, but I still have my Pluto moments. Trust me. I can shrivel up at bridal showers where everyone else has a ring on her finger. It’s so easy to get wrapped back up in the “oh, woe is lonely me” blanket.
What comforts me is the moments where I have felt like the “it” girl. Due to the nature of my job, I’ve gotten to interview and hang out with some pretty amazing people. I’m not a celebrity name-dropper, but I can say with confidence that I’ve seen the inside of the cool circle. And you know what? It’s all an illusion.
The cool kids? The table you were never allowed to sit at? They’re just people. They don’t have super powers, and they don’t look much better than the rest of us (especially without make-up). They’re human beings who make mistakes, are clumsy, moody, and addicted to Starbucks. Some of them aren’t very nice and just as racked with insecurity as we can be.
What’s even more surreal is that even the people on the inside feel like they’re on the outside. They’re constantly chasing trends so they can keep up with someone else who’s younger or more hip.
Nobody feels cool. We’re all on the outside of the solar system.
I hope you can be encouraged today to know that feeling left out is universal. You don’t feel like you fit in because there’s nowhere to fit into. Solomon had it right in Ecclesiastes when he wrote “all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2, KJV). The world’s standards for beauty and success are constantly changing, and no one can keep up. It’s like chasing after the wind.
That’s why God wants to embrace you into His family. There, you’re always in style because you are a child of the King. He promises that nothing can separate you from His love (Romans 8:38-39), and that even in your loneliest hour, God will prepare a table just for you in the presence of your enemies (Psalm 23:5). While the world may never get your quirky sense of humor or your tiny stature, God thinks you’re the coolest kid in school.
So here’s to you, the former math club presidents and camera girls. You are special to your Creator and always welcomed at His table.
And to Pluto, well, you’ll always be a planet to me.
Jennifer E. Jones is the Media Center / CBNmusic Producer who is thankful that, even if the whole world turns against her, she will always have the unconditional love of her God, her mother and her dog. Read her bio.
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