Rejection: Can It Really Be Good For You?
Updated: Jun 15, 2021
WOW...that hurt!! Being told by your dearest friend that she doesn't want to study the Bible with you anymore is as gut-wrenching as it gets. Honestly, when you've been sharing the Lord’s Word for over a year, it is truly heartbreaking. Through days of flooding tears and agonizing self-recriminations, I couldn't think of much else. It dogged my every thought, coming back over and over as I reread her email in my head again and again. The sting of the words and the feeling of abandonment. The REJECTION.
Rejection. Just writing the word makes me sad. But, when it's coupled with something sacred like sharing scripture together, it feels so much more sorrowful. It stirs a plethora of negative feelings deep in my heart and soul.
And questions. I kept asking God for answers. Was I too much this or not enough that? In my love of the Word and zest for learning, had I become too intense? Had my desire to share and teach overstepped boundaries? Had I been insensitive to my friend in some way? What had I done or not done? Was I simply just a Covid distraction? On and on and on.
The Lord knows I am a "bottler" and I don't always hand my problems over to Him right away. At the first hint of a negative situation, I roll up in a tight ball like an armadillo. So my first impulse was to sever all ties and remove myself entirely from contact. Just...plain...stop. After all, in my deep humiliation at being rejected, it was a natural human reaction. Right? Sure, human but absolutely not Christian!
A few days later, as I was driving home from an errand that had taken me over an hour's highway drive east, the "replay button" in my head still kept clicking. Why? Why? Why? And then, "What do I do now?"
But then God decided enough was enough! Enough tears. Enough sad feelings. Enough self-pity.
HEARING GOD'S MESSAGE
All of a sudden, I began to realize that this was God's message to me to get serious about pursuing the plans I had put on hold over a year ago. Plans that I never had time to act on because of this study with my friend. A huge burden seemed to melt and I began to feel some excitement. I realized that this was God's planning all along.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."
Often, if we're quiet in our pain, God will come along side and provide the guidance we need to navigate this dark time.
Dealing with rejection isn't a one-size-fits-all strategy. Working through it takes courage and strength and honesty. When broken down into a few steps, dealing with a range of emotions will become manageable allowing each one to be recognized and attended to.
Acknowledging the hurt you feel is one of the most important steps. If you're able, put down your thoughts on paper and then, even put them into prayer.
Be kind to yourself in the process. Write a short list of some positive things about yourself including some of your strengths and values. This will help you in the face of self-doubt.
Take time. You need to process your feelings. Be sure to reserve any reaction for later. (For me, this step preserved a beautiful relationship with a very special person.)
Look for the positive take-away. It may take some time for this to happen but, with the right attitude and mindset, you will realize that a lesson of some kind, a new opportunity, some other positive experience, or even the removal of a negative circumstance has come from this.
GOD'S PERFECT TIMING
God's timing is perfect. We all know that. And, in fact, just before my father passed away a little over a year ago, I cried at his bedside and said I wouldn't have anyone to share my faith with after he'd gone. It had been just him and me loving the Lord together after Mom had passed away two years earlier. Then, out of the blue and totally unexpectedly my friend asked if I would like to do a Bible study with her. God did that!
So, when I considered stepping back from the friendship altogether, I realized I was acting completely opposite to what Jesus expects of me. Putting myself in my friend's shoes helped me accept that the time had come to make a change and I should be grateful that we shared those many months growing our faith together. And I am grateful; profoundly so!
"Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves."
REJECTION BECOMES REDIRECTION
Truthfully, a tiny part of me still hurts with emptiness when I realize there's no lesson to work on this week. But then God reminds me of the exciting future that lies ahead in its place. As I wonder with whom I will share my faith, God whispers, "I created a whole wide world out there for you to share your faith." His gentle reminder sharpens the lens showing me that rejection isn't bad if it is viewed as opportunity. In fact, today's rejection is really God's redirection.