I think nearly everything we struggle with, specifically in relationships, but honestly just in general, can be boiled down to this one fear: rejection.
What do you think of when you read that word? A person, a situation, a fear? Whatever it is, it’s painful because rejection is the greatest slap in the face anyone can experience. Think about it this way – investing your heart into someone and then being told, through word or action, that you aren’t wanted here.
Rejection – you aren’t wanted here.
I’m not wanted here? But I tried so hard! I did so much! Am I not good enough?
Does this internal conversation sound familiar? Rejection not only says other people don’t want you, but it pulls into question your innate value. This value-questioning leads to questioning God because why would He love someone so easily thrown away by others?
But let me stop you right there because here’s a truth to lean on in the midst of struggling through rejection:
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
Now, we often hear Bible verses like that and think – well, yeah, but that only applies to other people and not me. But let me challenge you with this – Lysa TerKeurst, in her book Uninvited, said, “Rejection from man doesn’t equal rejection from God.”
Hold on – Rejection from man doesn’t equal rejection from God.
That’s a significant truth we often neglect to consider in the face of struggling through the pain of rejection. People do not determine our value.
“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” (Psalm 139:17)
When rejection becomes our reality, we often highlight what we think are our own shortcomings – wondering if maybe we could fix something about ourselves to accommodate the rejecter – but, dear, sweet friend, no matter how much it hurts, there’s a level of self-care that needs to take place following rejection severe enough for you to be questioning your value. Someone else determining that you aren’t worth it is not worth your time. That’s a hard pill to swallow but most definitely a necessary one when you’re walking through something as difficult as being treated as though you don’t have value.
Sometimes, you have to put yourself first – not in a selfish way but so you can heal the right way.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are little rejections that happen in relationships all the time, but those come more as a side-effect of trying to grow in deeper relationship with the other person. But then there are the rejections where you are ignored and your value is called into question, you are belittled and blatantly discarded. This is when your heart takes priority in the relationship as you have to evaluate: what does it mean for me to heal?
If you can take a step back and objectively evaluate your situation, confide in others, and press in to God, Satan doesn’t get the final say on the situation.
Rejection is a means by which the enemy likes to try and take our self-image into his own hands for his Kingdom of Hell purposes. But when we can recognize the pain and grieve correctly, that power is taken away from him and instead of giving our pain to Satan for his own personal use, we are able to lean into God and find healing from bitterness, shame, and resentment. And maybe we learn that it’s important to lean on God right away or maybe it’s years down the road, but His healing hand will always turn pain into growth if we let Him work.
God never forces us to give Him our pain, but trust me, when you do, there’s no end to the peace, freedom, joy, and love you are suddenly able to receive! Not only that, the fear you feel of being in meaningful relationships with others begins to subside as God reminds you of your pricelessness and you remember that loving is always worth the risk.
C.S. Lewis once said:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
But “Love is never wasted, for its value does not rest upon its reciprocity.” (C.S. Lewis)
When we love, there is always the risk of being rejected, of experiencing pain, but it is much more worth it to live a life of love where you are hurt than to live a life where no one is allowed close enough to love you. You are worth loving, by the way. And so are others. Don’t let the rejections you’ve had to walk through, or maybe are walking through right now, destroy loving people and letting them express their love back to you. Because you will experience rejection at some point – probably multiple points, actually – but loving others allows for comforters when one friend of many breaks your trust.
Yes, you will experience rejection – some worse than others – but it will be bearable if you are not afraid to love.
“Rejection never has the final say. Rejection may be a delay or distraction or even a devastation for a season. But it’s never a final destination. I’m destined for a love that can’t ever be diminished, tarnished, shaken or taken. With You, Jesus, I’m forever safe. I’m forever accepted. I’m forever held. Completely loved and always invited in.” (Lysa TerKeurst)
There is no rejection in His presence. We are always wanted, always pursued, always loved.