I recently joined a life group at a church that I had visited for about three weeks. I figured what better way to meet people and learn more about the church’s culture than to join a life group. This is a women’s group, and we are going through a study that is about drawing near to God and cultivating a wholehearted prayer life.
One of the chapters is about wounding. As we joined together to talk about what God had spoken to us over the past week, I heard a common theme from several of the women in the group. Many struggled with the root of rejection. I think there are many women who struggle with this root, including those in Mercy’s residential and outpatient programs. Rejection causes us to immediately look at ourselves rather than the person who has rejected us. It’s like our knee-jerk reaction is to ask, what did I do wrong? or why wasn’t I good enough? When the reality is that their rejecting you likely had more to do with them than you, or perhaps, it was God who removed that person from your life because He knew they would have caused you even more pain had they stayed.
“Where you saw Rejection, I saw Protection.”
As I was spending some very intentional time with God recently, I started talking to Him about some of the rejections I have felt in my life that I have questioned and wondered why they happened because I always assumed it was because of something I did. As I was listening for Him, I heard Him say, “Where you saw rejection, I saw protection.” Hello! When I heard these words, it was like there was this weight lifted off me. I had been carrying around feelings of hurt and rejection, thinking there was something wrong with me.
Rejection is hard and painful, but I would much rather have God remove someone from my life than be in a relationship with someone who may cause me more harm than good. There have been people in my life before that I knew were not bringing life to the situation, but I still allowed them to stay in my life. Maybe it was because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings. Maybe it was because I allowed the positive things to outweigh the negative. Or maybe I downplayed things, making excuses for the person because I was lonely and thought it was better to have someone in my life than no one. Can anyone else relate? Life is too short to have people in your life that are draining or maybe even holding you back from the call of God on your life. When I did not have the strength or the guts to walk away, God was gracious enough to remove those people from my life. I see that now but definitely did not see it in the moment.
A Season for Everything
Sometimes people are in our lives for a season. I can think back on some friendships that did not work out long term and wondered why they didn’t last. I wondered if it was something I said or did, and although I knew it was nothing I DID, I still felt like it was my fault. But maybe it was God’s protection, but it could have been that person’s choice, or maybe that relationship had run its course. The reality is that we are not responsible for other people’s choices. They may decide they don’t want to be friends with you anymore, or they don’t want to date you anymore, and that’s okay.
The enemy wants to plant lies in our minds that cause us to question who we are. Renewing the mind is foundational in us growing and changing and digging up those roots of rejection. I think of the mind as a playground of the enemy. You can have one tiny thought that is not from God, and the devil will run with it, making it a huge thing that you carry with you for decades.
Here is an example of how the enemy does this. Let’s say you are up for a promotion at work. You have worked at this organization for years and have done an amazing job, and everyone tells you how wonderful you are, but rather than promote you, they hire someone else. You are devastated and maybe even angry, and you think, what happened? Then you hear that negative voice creep in – you sure did waste your time trying to prove yourself to this company. You gave so much, and look at how they rewarded you. They don’t care about you. You aren’t as great as you thought you were. There is always someone better out there. What’s the point in working hard if no one is going to pay attention? So then you start feeling bitter towards your boss, and you start to lose trust. Even worse, your work ethic begins to wane, and you lose your motivation to work in excellence causing your work to suffer.
Disappointment is a natural reaction to feeling rejected, but rather than allow the enemy to take you down a negative spiral, you could ask to speak with your supervisor and have them explain why they did not promote you. Or you could go to God and ask Him why it didn’t happen. We have to remind ourselves that God sees us and the entire picture of our lives. Maybe the company was creating a new position they want to promote you to; maybe they were about to downsize, and you don’t know it. Maybe your time at that organization had passed, and God had a better job for you.
Taking our Thoughts Captive
Whenever these feelings start to build because we feel rejected, we need to first take captive our thoughts like 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to do: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Next, take those thoughts and your feelings to God. He understands what you are going through and wants to help you.
How often do we look for people to fill the voids in our hearts, when really, the only one who can truly fill those voids is God? He knows you and me more than anyone else does. He knows what situation is best for us and what people are best for us. People will disappoint you and reject you; that’s life, but like Psalm 27:10 says, Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close. God will NEVER leave us. As I spend more time processing what God has been speaking to me personally about rejection, I have begun to ask Him to show me where He was during certain situations in my past that caused me pain that still impact me today. It has been a process, but He is showing me things that I hadn’t realized before.
Think about Jesus. The most loving, kind, gracious, and wonderful human being to ever walk the earth. His purpose was to save people, and yet, He was rejected and put to death for nothing that He did, only because of who He was.
John 1:11 says He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
John 15:25 says But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
Today He is still rejected by millions of people, so He understands how you and I feel! Sometimes we feel like God cannot understand what we are going through, but when it comes to rejection, He knows and completely understands how you are feeling.
Run to Jesus
The next time you feel rejected, whether it’s from a friend or loved one, or maybe you didn’t get the job you were hoping for, the contract on your dream house fell through, you didn’t get the promotion you were hoping for, before you start jumping to conclusions, get angry, or upset, ask God where He is in that moment. Ask Him if He is protecting you. Don’t run to your spouse, mom, friend, sibling, etc., to vent your frustrations; run to Jesus.
I remember when I was looking to purchase my first home. I had put three contracts on different homes only to have them fall through – two had really bad inspections come back. I was so frustrated that I stopped looking for a year. When I felt like the time was right again, I started looking and found the perfect place for me. It was a little further from my job at the time than I had wanted, but that was the only thing I had to compromise on – the commute. Little did I know that eight years after purchasing my home, I would be working at Mercy, and my commute would be about 10 minutes from my house, but God knew! He saw the big picture and was setting me up for the blessing of a shorter commute.
If you feel rejected and find yourself headed down the path to negative thinking, stop and ask God to meet you in that situation and ask Him where He is. Ask Him how to deal with those feelings and ask Him to help you get your joy back. Maybe He will also tell you that where you see rejection, it is really His protection.
Mercy Multiplied exists to provide opportunities for all to experience God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and life-transforming power. We offer multiple programs and resources online and onsite designed to equip people to live free and stay free in Christ. For more information about the services we offer, click here.
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