Have you ever given –only to be crushed by rejection?
In her book, “The Uncommon Woman”, Susie Larson wrote:
“My carpet was wet with tears and I was sprawled facedown on my floor, wondering if the pain would ever go away… I used to walk through life with an underlying sense of insecurity inbedded in my sandal… Even so, the chronic, shooting pain of insecurity had nothing on the agony of the betrayal, rejection, and character assassination I was now enduring.”
So how do we handle rejection God’s way?
One of the biggest challenges in my journey has been the need to lay aside what other people think and just BE what God says I am. My role growing up was the pleaser. That means I was very sensitive to how everyone else felt. A huge chapter of my life was getting over feeling responsible to make everyone else be okay. Sometimes people strike out with hurtful words. Being accused of things that are not true and not being able to say or do anything to change other people’s beliefs about me was the hardest part. I hope you never have to bear that. That’s where I found my own self facedown on the tear soaked floor, begging God to take away the pain, because I’m not sure anything has ever hurt more.
His crystal clear response was to tell me that I needed to stop throwing my pearls before swine. Quit offering what someone else doesn’t want, because I was just going to keep getting hurt. I had to be okay knowing that what people believe is true doesn’t make it true. What God says is true is what matters. I needed a whole lot more practice resting in that. Sometimes there is reconciliation. Sometimes you take what you can get because you care, and there are bandaged relationships that are never truly set right. Sometimes the bandage comes off and you find yourself doing the whole heartbreaking thing again.
The thing that keeps rolling through my mind is 1 Peter 4:8.
Love each other deeply. This love is agape. Agape love is not contingent on the object of the love, but on the giver, so it is unconditional. With good will, it seeks the best for the other person. Agape is sacrificial. This is the love with which God has loved us.
And deeply? This is ektenēs, an adjective that is interpreted as fervent, earnest, and intense. It means “without ceasing” and to be stretched out. I translate an unconditional love that is being stretched out for another, and I see Jesus stretched out upon the cross, bloody and bruised and my sacrifice without ceasing, and He has covered my multitude of sins. Forgiveness. This is deep love.
Love each other deeply.
How many times is He rejected, and still his offering is held out for us over and over, inviting us to accept Him?
What is God’s prescription for surviving the many kinds of rejection? “The Uncommon Woman” lays them out in 7 steps, and I “Linda-fied” them to share with you. 😀
- Accept acceptance. What God says about you is true and reliable, no matter what anyone else says. Allow him to continue perfecting your heart. We’re not perfect, but we are becoming more perfect by his grace.
2. Pray for those who hurt you. Bless them. I don’t know how it works, but somehow, it tenderizes our hearts and invites God to work in others.
3. Forgive them. Daily. Forgiveness isn’t something we do because we feel like it, but because we choose it. Just begin today, and continue to forgive every time that hurt surfaces. Eventually, it gets easier.
4. Give thanks. God gives us so much, and we need to keep perspective.
5. Pray for and encourage someone else who has it worse than you do. This is such a good exercise. 2 Corinthians says we comfort others with the comfort we receive. Also, in blessing someone else, we get blessed. It is healing.
6. Get some exercise. Oh, so much can come clear in a walk out in the fresh air.
7. Rest and start over tomorrow.
Have you ever heard the expression, “Hurting people hurt people”? Sometimes people push others away because they need to accept acceptance themselves. We can pray for others the way Paul prayed for the Ephesians, that they will be rooted and grounded in love. That God will make them fully capable of understanding how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know his love that surpasses knowledge—that they may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19) It’s when we can accept God’s acceptance that we can give unconditional love to others.
Images from Pixabay.