Posted by: Kara Luker | April 4, 2023

A revised equation

Having been plunked down by God into the middle of an amazing church, neighborhood and circle of friends, I’ve been drawn out of my cozy, controlled cave into the somewhat uncomfortable – yet decidedly joyous – realm of community. It’s something I’ve longed and prayed for but at times, especially in group situations, I’ve felt old insecurities rise up alongside the ugly fear of rejection. 

My thoughts might start like this: “It’s so great to feel comfortable enough to contribute to the conversation, but wow I talked a lot. I mean, like I kinda dominated the conversation. That’s pretty obnoxious.” Usually it ends there and I realize I have pretty amazing friends who love me despite my shortcomings, but recently I felt especially vulnerable and let myself conclude that I had been (rightfully) judged and rejected, and even allowed myself to read into cues that likely held no significance… “Is she avoiding me? Probably. I would avoid me too.”

If I continued to let this play out, I would probably create distance between me and the people I believed did (or should) reject me, removing me from this community I actually want to be in. Or I might try to compensate for my negative behaviors, which is doomed to be a major flop since it only increases my self-focus, resulting in an exaggeration of insecure behaviors and taking me further away from the potential ease of being my actual self.

I think it’s fair to add that rejection might not be falsely perceived. There are going to be people who don’t like me or approve of me. That is a scary thought; one that tells me that I have bought into the lie that if people don’t like me (or I don’t like myself), I’m unacceptable and deserve to be rejected, as if my identity is a fragile thing that can be damaged by other people’s opinions of me (or my opinion of myself).

It makes me think of an equation that goes something like this:

Me + An inability to fit in = Rejection

I’ve spent a good portion of my life believing that equation, but with Jesus it simply isn’t true. In Him, I’m loved… from the very source of love. I’m accepted… by the one who created me and defines my identity. His presence with me in any circumstance changes the whole system by which I calculate any and all answers and conclusions. The equations that can now be proven by His true measure go something like this:

Me + Jesus + An inability to fit in = Loved, accepted & worthy of relationship

Me + Jesus + A whole lot of awkwardness = Loved, accepted & worthy of relationship

Me + Jesus + Talking way too much = Loved, accepted & worthy of relationship

Me + Jesus + Not being fun/smart/talented enough = Loved, accepted & worthy of relationship

As I was reflecting on this after that whole hyper-sensitive over-reaction, I knew I’d been “had” by an enemy who wants to keep me chasing after the acceptance I already have and desires nothing more than to shame and isolate me. He wants to block me not only from receiving love from people but from loving them back – in my utterly unique capacity, from the security of my true identity. So I started thanking God for His acceptance of me and fixing my mind on what that means. In no time at all, the weight of fear was lifted and I could see clearly again, without the filter of rejection.

Did this instantly set me at ease will all people? Um, no. Learning is a process. These are truths I have to practice, just like the game of pickleball I’m learning. Once I have an understanding of the game, the only way I’m going to get better is by showing up again and again, making some really terrible shots and hopefully some good ones too, and then showing up and doing it again. At some point, muscle memory will develop and it will become a lot less awkward and a lot more fun. So I am going to keep practicing acceptance in community, which is the only place where I will truly grow into the freedom and joy and occasional awkwardness of being me.


  1. Terrific post, Kari. Your vulnerability is so refreshing. And thank you for your prayers. Two hours sleep last night, by the way. Oh joy. Larry was here yesterday – I think he walked into your house by mistake. He was here till about five – a good time. He’s a wonderful friend and brother.

    • Thank you! Yes I think Larry did walk into our house but I guess he found you 🙂 Praying for sleep tonight!

  2. What a beautiful description of how being renewed in our minds through Christ works! And how to disarm the enemy(s) of our born again soul.
    I love you, friend! Thanks for sharing, teaching, and reminding us.

  3. Oh, Kara, I can’t tell you how many times this script has played out in my head. So glad you’re pressing on.

    • Thanks Mitch. It’s always good to know I’m not alone!

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