Have you ever been rejected? It hurts, doesn’t it? It uproots our identity of who we really are and replaces it with who others think we are.
When I started out in Junior High, I had many friends, but one spiteful remark stole them away. I will never forget the girl’s name. I still visualize her freckled hand cupping her mouth, her reddish-blond head and lanky frame leaning towards my friends. The widened eyes as they stole glances my way. The laughing. I still don’t know what she said, but I do know my life drastically changed. My friends disappeared, my confidence plummeted, and I often traveled solo through the rest of Junior High and High School.
I think it may have been around this time that my dad said to me, “You never were much of a daughter to me.” Years later, he said he didn’t mean it that way. I realized he lashed out in anger and he had difficulty showing love, and I learned to forgive him. Still the damage was done the instant he said it. The blow to my heart strangled the life and worth out of me. I ran out of the house sobbing. I headed down the road, my heart plunking into a dark pit where I wasn’t noticed and didn’t matter to anyone. My dad came after me in the car, stopped beside me, and said, “Get in.” That was all I remember he said.
A label fastened to my heart like gorilla glue. “I’m not good enough.” Later, other abuse, not being believed, and more betrayals magnified these thoughts that subconsciously ruled how I felt about myself. I figured since I wasn’t much of a daughter, I wasn’t much of anything. Wife, mom, grandma, sister, friend, Christian, writer, etc.
Rejection is “a message that’s sent to the core of who we are, causing us to believe lies about ourselves, others, and God.” (Lysa TerKeurst)
I still struggle with allowing those lies to dictate how I view myself. Through the eyes of what people said or did. Sometimes I think I’m on top of it as I replace the lies with God’s Truth. But they still lurk in my heart, ready to pounce on me in my most vulnerable moments.
Rejection also influenced my relationships with others. Fearing to say or do anything that might cause them to reject me. Taking words, actions, or silences personally through my skewed perception and my I’m-worthless lens. Thinking people can’t possibly love me, because I was unlovable.
Above all, I allowed rejection to cover the truth about God’s acceptance. I didn’t trust that He could love me like He does. I didn’t take it to heart that Jesus stood alone, utterly rejected, far worse than any of us will ever be. Why? To invite us into His loving arms. To welcome us into a safe place where we will always be loved just as we are.
But how do we get there? Deeply rooted rejection is a hurt we can’t avoid. We need to acknowledge how much it affects us, grieve over it, and process it. To step by step throw out who we thought we were and replace it with who God says we are. If we don’t deal with it, there will remain a void in our hearts. A void that we will keep trying to fill with things or people who will never satisfy.
Jesus wants us to offer up all our these hurts to Him. To allow Him to enter into them with us. To grasp the truth of His tender, never-rejecting love for us.
“At the core of who we are, we crave the acceptance that comes from being loved. To satisfy this longing we will either be ‘graspers’ of God’s love or ‘grabbers’ for people’s love.” (Lysa TerKeurst)
I want to be a grasper of God’s love, not a grabber of people’s love, don’t you? I want to in every situation bring the fullness of God’s love, not my emptiness. I want to live loved. To truly grasp onto and never let go of God’s love, so rich, so full, so free.
People will sometimes reject us when we say or don’t say, do or don’t do, please or don’t please them. But Jesus? Never! His love is like no other. So unconditional. We don’t have to do or not do things to make Him accept us or love us more. In Him, we are always enough.
We are not just enough, but we are loved and delighted in.
“The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in His love He will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
His love is unlimited. Deeper than the deepest ocean. Wider than the expanse of the sky. Warmer than the warmest sunshine. Nothing we do or don’t do will ever change His faithful love for us. People may and will reject us, but He will never, ever reject us. Do you feel His arms reaching out to you? Inviting you in?
“All that My Father gives Me will come to Me;
and the one who comes to Me
I will most certainly not cast out
[I will never, never reject anyone who follows Me].”
John 6:37 AMP
“With You, Jesus, I’m forever safe.
I’m forever accepted. I’m forever held.
Completely loved and always invited in.”
Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel
Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely
by Lysa TerKeurst
Are the rejections in your past
affecting you yet today?
Then I believe this book will help you.
I know it has blessed me.
“The more we fully invite God in,
the less we will feel uninvited by others.”
Michael W. Smith
Laid behind a stone
You lived to die
Rejected and alone
Like a rose
Trampled on the ground
You took the fall
And thought of me