The Lunchroom Table of Life

I was listening to a podcast recently and they were talking about the visceral response our body gives when we sense that we have been left out, not included. It’s a very real response that is wired in us. And it doesn’t ever go away. Most of the time, we don’t consciously realize what has happened; we just know we aren’t in a place of peace.

Since the beginning of time, humans were not meant to be alone. Isolation could lead to death. There was safety and comfort in community.  We aren’t meant to be alone or socially isolated. In fact, there are studies that show that with perceived social isolation come adverse health consequences like depression, poor sleep quality, accelerated cognitive decline, and poor cardiovascular function. When we perceive to be left out, our body lets us know with a strong mental signal. There is nothing wrong with us or fragile about us. It’s the way we are, all of us. Everyone has the same visceral response that needs to be tamed. Some of us are better at that than others.

From the birthday party you weren’t invited to in grade school, to the after work get together that no one told you about, or the girls trip you realize you weren’t included in when the pictures show up on Facebook, life is full of moments of perceived “leftoutedness”. It’s inevitable.

It’s the shadow side of connection. When we are included and made to feel connected to and prioritized by others, there is a powerful feeling of wellbeing. That side of the coin is powerfully beautiful but the flip side of that coin, that is, not being included, creates just as powerful a feeling that is definitely not beautiful.

Sometimes the leftoutedness comes from a deliberate meanness in another, but most of the time, it is an innocent oversight from a good person. It just happens. Our job is to short circuit the wiring. Tame the visceral response we feel when we perceive to be left out.

Other people will disappoint us, just as we disappoint others. Only in our relationship with God will we know true, lasting, and complete belonging, acceptance, and inclusivity. At those times when other humans leave us out, we can find comfort and peace knowing we are always God’s first choice. Really.

In the big lunchroom table of life, know that you are never going to sit alone.

Sometimes God sends others to remind us that we are never left out. Sometimes God invites us to places where we will never be left out. Firstfruits is one of those places. We hope you will consider accepting God’s invitation to join us for this new season of Firstfruits. You’re always included.

It’s where you belong,


Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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