The feeling of being left out hit me in the pit of my stomach; once again, I felt rejected.
I was blaming others for their rejection of me, but there was a deeper issue. I remember the day a friend named it in me, asking me why it seemed I wanted to run from her.
I was taken aback initially, but that day I realized how my insecurities and self-image drove my response to others. Deep inside I felt unworthy, unlovable, and this resulted in me distancing myself from others. Though I genuinely wanted close relationships, I was inadvertently pushing others away through my attitude.
Maybe you’ve felt this way, too? The enemy stands ready to take thoughts like these and twist them so that it blinds us to the love and care that is around us, that others do want to give but are shut out by us. Furthermore, these lies also blind to the truth of God’s love. He gets shut out, too.
Here is what I know to be true: rejection happens to us all, and the enemy will use these past hurts and dysfunctions to blind us to reality.
So, what can be done? Three things specifically helped me:
First, a major healing change happened when I believed and experienced at a deep level the truth that God loves me and wants me. That is where deeper healing began. I needed to know and experience that truth at a new level. It would not have mattered if I had a few friends or was adored by thousands; if I didn’t know this deep love, I’d still be living wounded and stilted. Jeremiah 31:3 helped me to believe this truth, “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'”
A second change that immensely opened my eyes was talking to a counselor. She was an objective listener who helped me to see what was reality and what was my own perception. I could see where I was reading negativity into a situation that was not actually there. I also grasped a critical truth: I cannot change others; I can only change myself.
Because I had experienced a deeper spiritual healing in terms of my identity and self-worth in Christ, it was easier for me to move onto the third part of the healing process, which was recognizing these feelings and changing my responses to them.
I had a choice: I could continue to be hurt, bitter, and lash out at those around me. I could assume the worst of others, that they disliked me and continue to distance myself, diving further into a negative vortex of assumptions. Or I could choose to believe something different. I could assume the best, instead of the worst. I could envision myself loving them because I was sure of God’s love for me and also because I loved myself better. These two loves were prerequisites for me to love others better.
Of course, not everyone is going to like me or love me. Rejections will continuously be present in life. They may be real, imagined, or colored by past hurts or insecurities, but they will definitely happen. That’s okay. We cannot please everyone, and that’s also okay.
Rejection does and will continue to hurt. The difference, however, is that I do not allow it to define me and I have a choice in how I respond. I cannot control what others do, but I can control my response. Responding with hatred and more self-pity is not the solution I found that leads to freedom. Instead, it made the situation worse and sent me spiraling into depression and anger, which is its own kind of prison.
God’s way isn’t the easy way, and it doesn’t make sense to the rest of the world. Assuming that I’m unlovable and unloved is destructive and to continue along that path of thinking is most assuredly not the abundant life God had in mind when Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 ESV).
Loving others won’t make me instantly popular or alter how many rejections or hurts await down the road. But hopefully, others will be drawn to something deep inside because when God’s love is encountered, it is irresistible.
The way to accomplish any of this isn’t by myself. I have absolutely nothing in me that can do any of this on my own. I constantly need to ask God for help and strength. He does what weak me cannot do. He is bigger than my self-centeredness, my hurt, my past, any rejections, my grief, my loss, my loneliness, my pain, my mistakes, failed relationships, and difficult circumstances. He is bigger than all of those. I am grateful, thankful, and humbled by this God, who loves me more than I can know and understand and set the example by first loving me.
Michele Morin says
When we turn inward with our hurt, we eventually run out of room. Thank you for words that reveal God to be the wide open space of forgiveness and courage that keeps us moving in health and freedom no matter what obstacles we encounter.
Blessings to you, Prasanta!
Michelle, I like how you word that: the space within us is confining compared to the wide-open space of forgiveness and courage. That’s the only way forward. Blessings to you and thank you for sharing!
What a blessing to read your wonderful truths about rejection. Also, a blessing to discover you, Prasantal and how Jesus has used you to minister to all of us. I really like this quote from you, “Rejection does and will continue to hurt. The difference, however, is that I do not allow it to define me and I have a choice in how I respond. “
Nancy, thank you for your encouragement! Facing rejection is something we all face at one time or another. I’m hopeful these words will minister to readers and encourage those who need it in some small way.
Jenny K says
This is such a beautiful post, thank you so much for sharing. Praise be to a good God who takes our hurts and heals our hearts with His love, and shapes us to love others in ways that would not be possible on our own. Your words echo the same journey and conclusions I’ve come to in my own life, and I love this beautiful summary of a journey so much longer and harder than can be described in a few short words. I have two little girls that I pray for every day that they would be confident in God’s love, treat others well, and spend time pursuing God. That they would “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). I hope that they too may come to handle rejection in their lives in the beautiful way you have described. Blessings to you.
Dear Jenny, that’s a wonderful and specific prayer for your little girls, and they are off to a strong and good beginning with a mom like you. We each have journeys, and will have our trials, and your little girls will have them, too, but the prayer you have spoken over them is the building of a firm foundation of hope.
Pearl Allard says
Prasanta, I wish I had grasped this truth far earlier in life! It took some unraveling but God showed me I had let a rejection fuel the lie that I wasn’t worthy of “full price” love and should plop myself on the clearance rack. Needless to say, that introduced a painful season of life. Even though that was years ago, I never tire of reminders of His everlasting love! Love that you shared that verse and this message. I don’t think we ever stop needing reminders!
Pearl, I can identify and it’s devastating, isn’t it? I’m so glad that God reveals HIs truth to us. I, too, am in need of reminders! Thank you for sharing!
Joan Munro says
Than KJ s for being real raw and vulnerable by sharing the three aspects of your struggles and new perspectives! The challenges and lies creep in at any age. Being older can mean being wiser, but not always so. I can personally testify to that! However, being older has given me more opportunities to accept and live in Gods love and the Truth of His Holy Spirit. Its a day process for me to breathe the very life I’ve been given, as I longingly and lovingly praying for my daughters.
Dear Joan, getting older does offer more and more “growth” opportunities, for sure! Actually, it seems that each stage in life has a new lesson (or two, or three). 🙂 It is wonderful to hear about your joy for living in God’s grace and praying for others. Thank you for sharing!
Good job Prasanta, Your writing is clear and heartfelt. So many need to hear this message and I believe will find it comforting and helpful.
Thank you for those kind and encouraging words, Victoria. I hope it helps someone.
Beth Williams says
Everyone feels unloved at times. Rejection hurts. This world tells us to look or act a certain way & then we will be loved by many. That may be, but people still bully & reject us nonetheless. We have become a divisive country with hatred all around us. Most of us believe the lies sent from the evil one that “we aren’t pretty, smart, etc.” What we all need to learn is the truth that God loves us no matter what! He loves us with an everlasting love that can’t be changed no matter how we look or act. Some people may never like us & for me that is ok. My philosophy is “God made me in His image. If you don’t like what you see then talk to God!” Stop listening to the lies & lean into God’s truth hard!
Beth, to that I say “Amen!” and I agree with you. : )
Summer Rae says
I cannot believe the words I just read… what a clear answer and confirmation to prayer. This encouraged my soul so much. Thank you for authentically letting Him use you. What a beautiful gift. I pray your day is blessed as you seek Him!
Summer, hooray for confirmation and answer to prayer! I’m so glad to hear this encouraged you, and thank you so much for sharing that. : )
Wow! You just wrote my life story!! I’m learning daily that God truly loves me and that He’ll take care of me! Thank you for sharing your heart! God bless you richly!!
Marlyn, thank you so much for sharing that! Truth is, I think it resonates for many of us out there. Blessings to you!