This past week I was listening to one of my favorite Christian authors to prepare for a radio interview. For some reason, I started to have my doubts.
- What if I mess up?
- What if my presentation isn’t perfect?
What if…what if… what if
I don’t know what I was expecting to hear, but this author’s response surprised me.
“Several publishing companies rejected me. So I started to self-publish my books.”
I was floored! An amazing author known for her notoriety said she was “rejected.”
That little sentence made me think deeply about how far rejection can go–if we allow it.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, rejection means to refuse to accept, consider, submit to, take for some purpose, or use.
There are many layers to rejection, and most of them begin inside of us.
- We feel no one likes us.
- We feel like no one accepts us.
- We feel like no one appreciates us.
- We feel hopeless.
- We feel we have to protect ourselves from hurt.
In essence, she was saying that acceptance is an inside job. As long as we look for everyone to accept us, we are setting ourselves up for pain. People can never love us to the perfect degree we are looking for. That is when instead of looking out, we must start within.
What are we saying to ourselves about ourselves? Truth brings freedom and peace. Lies bring burdens. We can tell which one we believe based on the fruit of those beliefs. If we feel loved and accepted, we know that our stability comes from God. Since He loves us, we are never alone. It’s when we feel the world is against us that we feel rejected. Then we begin to reject other people.
This is the challenge. In the church and outside of the church, we have individuals who have been wounded by rejection. We usually reject them because they reject us out of their pain. However, love is a work that has a profound effect on the healing process. We have to teach people how to overcome trauma from their childhood, rejection in their adolescence, and pain in adulthood. It isn’t an easy job, but we have to be committed to doing the work.
Just think if the prodigal son’s father would have closed his arms to his son. Would the son remain lost? We cannot change anyone, but we can partner with Holy Spirit for wisdom to minister redemption.
One of my favorite expressions of acceptance is to give creative gifts. It could be a signed greeting card with words of encouragement. It could be a painting. I just allow God to help me to design the gift. I will ask him to let me know someone who might need a token of love. He always sends me to someone who needed that specific gift or word. It is a nice God wink that reminds the person that God has not forgotten about them.
We can be quick to shake our fists at people who have been rejected. We can also tongue lash them with things that they should be doing. Believe it or not, they know. They just do not know how to break free from the cycle of shame. From experience, none of this works. Showing love as God leads you can open doors for healing in other people’s lives.
We can never eliminate rejection from our lives, but we can change our perspective on it. We must point people to God, who shows us that he cares for us.
Challenge of the Week
Ask God to give you a person to be a blessing to who feels rejected. Allow him to guide you in the right way to serve them. Is it a kind word? Is it a creative gift? Then carry out the task and notice how God uses you to bless another person.