Let me tell you something –
Oh my goodness, how much it hurts. And when you’ve dealt with a lot of it, it never gets easier to deal with. Sadly, I’ve grown to expect it. But that doesn’t change the intensity of every burn.
Rejection says, “you’re not enough, you’re not worthy, you don’t matter.” Any of those three statements by themselves are a killer. Together, well, they can be just too much.
I’ve dealt with many betrayals by friends. A good amount of them were good friends, some even best friends, pretty much all from my church home, and in the end, they turned away from me. They rejected me. For years I racked my brain trying to figure out why. I never found an answer. When I went off to college, a Christian university, I hoped for a healthy change. Instead, I had a psychotic roommate and hall leadership who told me (a couple of times) to move to another hall, another dorm, which interprets to “you’re not wanted here.” The clique-y girls gossiped and played their games, of which I wanted no part of. After college, I searched for a new church home, with one I attended for several months but then someone there came up to me and said, “you’re not supposed to be here.” (It was an in-your-face remark so, yes, I left, with no intention to return.) I have spent two years looking for work with either a “we’ve decided to go in a different direction” response or more commonly a generic rejection email without them so much emailing or phoning me. I have had three interviews in those two years, taking over a year for the first, and I still don’t have work. I have wondered what do I not have; what would make me more appealing for an acceptance? Recently, I found out someone I really don’t like had a job created for her. Now, that normally wouldn’t bother me except 1) she is still an undergrad student and 2) her boss is a family friend who has known I have struggled insanely with finding work. She could have helped me out; we’ve met discussing how difficult it has been for me to find something and the areas I would like to work in, including what her organization does. She could have offered me a job. But instead, she played favorites (it’s wicked blatant and everyone knows it), and I became offended and hurt.
I could go on about my pains, my heartaches, the intense feelings of invisibility for several years as a teenager, about my crushes having gotten married to other girls and at times wondering why I wasn’t enough, etc. – but you know because you’ve been there and perhaps, you’re experiencing it right now too. It’s so hard but this is when we have to take captive our thoughts, make them obedient to Christ, and trust that He will use this. He will use my profound hurt, somehow. He deems me worthy and loved, welcomed and wanted; saying I have much to offer. The opinions of others should stop mattering because in the end, their opinion has no weight. Only God’s does.
He sees me. He loves me. He’s chosen me. And He does the same for you.
“Listen to me, all you in distant lands! Pay attention, you who are far away! The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb He called me by name.” Isaiah 49:1 NLT
“But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by His marvelous grace.” Galatians 1:15 NLT
He has known us before birth. He has called us by name. God is intentional with us. Man is going to disappoint, betray, lie, gossip, dislike, and reject you. I wish it weren’t the case, but it is the sad reality. But God is not like man. He doesn’t do any of those things. He exceeds expectations, He embraces, declares Truth over us, loves and cherishes us.
“And we, out of all creation, became His prized possession.” James 1:18b NLT
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9a NIV
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” Romans 8:17 NIV
Like parents who adopt and handpick their child, so have we been adopted by God. We have been chosen! No longer are we last to be picked for a kickball game in elementary; we are chosen to be heirs to the living God. And by being co-heirs with Christ, being Christians in a secular world who is hostile towards us, we will share in that pain.
What pain? Well, guess who else has been rejected? Jesus Christ. God Himself. And unlike us, where we usually don’t see it coming, He knew it would happen. Mankind has rejected Him all throughout our history. We’ve ignored Him and closed the doors to our hearts from Him. While here on earth Christ experienced rejection repeatedly. The people were so willing to rid of Him that they killed Him. Those in His own hometown of Nazareth were so furious with Him that they wanted to throw Him off a cliff.
” ‘Truly I tell you,’ He continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.’ ” Luke 4:24 NIV
“But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.” Luke 17:25 ESV
“He was despised and rejected–a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.” Isaiah 53:3 NLT
So if you feel alone in your rejection, remember that you can turn to God. He understands more than we will even know. He has personally experienced rejection, in harsher ways than we have, and daily has His own beloved creation spit in His face, choosing empty idols over Him.
He loves and cares for us deeply, and is always with us. We have not been rejected by God and we never will be. He stands with arms open wide for us to run into.
We have not been overlooked, forgotten, ignored, betrayed, pushed aside, or lied about. I know the rejection from others is extremely painful, especially when it reoccurs, and God certainly understands that. And just like I am in this moment, typing this all out, I have to choose to not let the rejection get to me, but instead remember the truth that I am never rejected by God; to declare over me the same truth that He does: “I am enough. I am worthy. I do matter.” And so are you.