4 Things You Need to Know about Rejection
For me, it started early. I remember being three or four years old the first time I felt that alternating hot and cold flash of surging emotion, the sound of others laughing, the sinking feeling, the urgent desire to hide. I was introduced to rejection.
As the years passed, I began to feel inundated with the repeated pain of rejection in all the varied forms it could take. It felt relentless and it began to cause me to live differently – adventure was foreign, trying meant risking failure, the need for love from others became both fearful and desired above all else. I wanted to hide my heart away from the potential rejection and yet, I desperately wanted approval from others to try to shake off the rejection I’d already experienced.
Jesus knew what it was like to be rejected. Isaiah 53:3 tells us, “He was despised and rejected by men….” Our Savior knew what it was like to have everyone turn their backs on Him – even His own family, even a man He’d spent three and a half years of His life pouring into and doing ministry alongside. If we are to be like Jesus in the world (1 John 4:17), and since Jesus is our perfect example that we are to follow (John 13:15), then we need to, like Jesus, bear the sting of rejection and still serve others with love. We need to allow God to have His way in shaping our hearts, even through rejection.
Because rejection is such an emotional event in our lives, it will benefit us greatly to take a step back and objectively evaluate some truths about rejection.
1. First and foremost, it is important that we realize that rejection is always a liar and an exaggerator. Now, I’m not saying that the rejection wasn’t real and that it was all in your head. No, no, no! But I am saying that, as rejection occurs, the enemy piggybacks on the opportunity with judgments that are exaggerations and lies.
For example, when someone is rejected through a betrayal, the enemy would like that person to believe that they are unlovable and therefore worthy of being rejected. Those are lies! John Paul Jackson said, “Rejection always distorts the truth.” If you’ve been rejected, the lie that is accompanying that rejection – perhaps a painful phrase that keeps rolling about in your mind – is a lie!
2. The second truth to come to grips with is that rejection is a magnet for rejection. Magnets have two sides: the side that attracts and the side that repels. There is a very real tendency for us to project rejection onto and assume potential rejection from those around us to the point that they are uncomfortable and do, in a sense, reject us. When we don’t deal with rejection properly, it can cause other people to be repelled, shrinking subconsciously back from the self- loathing they sense in us.
In this way, we end up attracting more rejection, the very thing we fear. It becomes a vicious circle of fear of rejection causing others to confirm our deepest fears. It’s time to stop that cycle! (For my FREEBIE article, “4 Steps to Overcoming Rejection,” click here.)
3. As with many things in our life, a perspective change can change the game. When we start to see rejection, not just the painful experience it is, but as an opportunity, we find God’s redemptive purpose in our pain. And rejection is an amazing opportunity – in fact, the bigger the pain, the bigger the opportunity.
Rejection is our opportunity to become more like Jesus. As I said earlier, Jesus knew rejection. But His response to it was from a place of wholeness. I love John 13:3-5 “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
Did you catch that? Jesus knows that He is about to be betrayed by Judas and that all these beloved disciples will scatter from Him as the whole nation rejects Him. Yet He takes the humblest, most vulnerable position and serves. He knows who He is and to Whom He belongs. So, He washes their feet. He washes Judas’ feet, knowing full-well what Judas is about to do to Him.
Rejection is our opportunity to become more like this: a foot washer, a lover of those who hate us, a person walking in wholeness. Rejection is our best chance to become more like Jesus. We need to allow everything we go through to make us more like Jesus, not cowering in fear of rejection, not shrinking back in pain, but boldly expanding our ability to love, even when it hurts.
4 . I don’t know about you, but every time I see the Lord redeem painful things in my life, I kind of get an attitude about it – a fighting attitude. I get an attitude that says, “Oh yeah, enemy? You think you can take me out like this? Well, I have news for you! Not only is this NOT going to take me out, I’m going to let God use it in my life to take YOU out!” (And, yes, this blog and the next, as well as the freebies I’m offering are all part of that willingness to let the Lord redeem the rejection I’ve been through. Take THAT, satan!)
Everything that we go through isn’t just supposed to be another trial we endure. Let God redeem it – bring true value out of it. Let God make you stronger. Let God use it for building up someone else. Let everything you go through become part of your arsenal against the enemy!
I’ve dealt with a lot of rejection over the years. I’m sure you have too. Let’s make sure we are aware of the truths about rejection. Let’s let God bring His strength into this place of weakness in us. And above all, let’s let God use it for His glory.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9