Rejection in any form hurts. Whether it happened five minutes ago or five years, time doesn't heal the pain, God does . I'm going to show you why it's necessary to confront the pain of rejection and how it will benefit you .
First, I think it's crucial to understand WHY we need to overcome it. When we bury, stuff, or avoid the pain of rejection, it does the opposite of what we want. The avoidance actually stirs more anger and bitterness up, resulting in carrying the weight of that wound into your future, other relationships, and could potentially sever relationships we desire. When we decide to confront that rejection, with Christ, we rid ourselves of the negative affects it could cause on our lives.
Here are the five key steps I've learned to utilize in recognizing and overcoming rejection in relationships:
1. Identifying Rejection
Rejection is defined as, "to refuse to accept, consider, submit to, take for some purpose, or use", per the Merriam Webster dictionary. In other definitions, Merriam Webster describes rejection as, "to spew out", "throw back, repulse", or, "to cast off". All of the adjectives the dictionary uses to describe the word rejection cause a negative, or painful response.
When we are rejected by others, it results in emotional damage. The result leads to feeling depressed, lonely, worthless, unworthy of being loved, that you're not good enough, or fear. The sad truth about this world is that we've all expereinced rejection of some form because people are imperfect, and cause harm, sometimes unintentionally. If you have ever experienced these feelings before, it's a sign that you've felt the pangs of rejection.
I've experienced it on varying degrees throughout my life- from being refused a promotion at work to being broken up with- each and every degree of rejection can cause one or multiple of the emotional symptoms described above. It may seem silly to describe the symptoms of rejection, but identifying it when it occurs allows us to move forward in healing it before it's allowed to sit and fester into a much larger wound. When rejection isn't dealt with and time lapses the result is a piling of more emotional damage, further isolating us from the very thing we need to heal and overcome it.
2. Fear of Rejection results in further damage, not protection.
The aftermath of undealt with rejection can have an affect on the present and the future of the person who experiences it. Fear of rejection leads to codependent, clingy, obsessive, jealous, or angry behavior in relationships. We tend to guard ourselves from other people to try and avoid experiencing the pain of it again. This severely compromises the quality of an individual's life.
Fear is an innate human response that has purpose. Utilized in "fight or flight" it can save lives, but used in emotional wounds it causes further avoidance from loved ones, isolation, lack of deep, intimate relationships, depression, anxiety, and can begin to affect a person's physical state. When we avoid emotional pain it can manifest itself in our bodies. Lower back pain, chronic headaches, digestion issues, insomnia, fatigue, and referred pain are all examples of common physical complaints from those who have anxiety and depression but aren't able to identify why or when it began.
It's pivotal to understand that fearing rejection may be our innate response to try and protect ourselves from being harmed again, but it's not going to produce the outcome that we desperately need, which is healing and wholeness. We need healing so we can move forward with our lives without carrying the emotional baggage rejection causes.
3. Replace the lies with truth.
It's crucial to understand that rejection is NOT a reflection of who you are. The only way to confront rejection is through replacing the lies it instills in your mind with TRUTH- and truth is found in the bible. Understanding that rejection happens to everyone is pivotal. Matter of fact, it even happened to Jesus.
When Christ hung on the cross, doing the greatest work of all of His ministry, His death came at highest point of rejection He'd ever experience.
"About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" Matthew 27:46 NIV.
He was calling out to His father, "My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?". At the most pivotal moment of His life, He felt rejected by His father. We need to understand that Jesus identifies and understands our emotional damage and that He's already come and done what was necessary to heal it.
Remembering bible verses to combat the lies that tend to seep into our minds after rejection is pivotal in combating them. Here are a few of mine:
When you feel unwanted: ""If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first." John 15:18, NIV
When you feel abandoned: "Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close" Psalm 27:10, NLT
When you feel alone: "When his people pray for help, he listens and rescues them from their troubles. The Lord is their rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope. The Lord's people may suffer a lot, but he will always bring them safely through. Not one of their bones will ever be broken." Psalm 34:17-20, CEV
When you desire retribution: "Because judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgement" James 2:13, NIV
When you feel unworthy: "You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God's temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor." 1 Peter 2:4, NLT
When you feel weak: "But he replied, 'My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.' So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am." 2 Cor.12:9, CEV
When you fear punishment: "If you belong to Christ Jesus, you won't be punished." Romans 8:1 CEV
When you feel ashamed: "You have been set apart as holy to the Lord your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the Earth to be his own special treasure." Deuteronomy 14:2
When you feel unloved: "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him." 1 John 3:1, NIV
When you think you're not enough: "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 2:9, NIV
4. Heal the wound of rejection
You will never be rejected from God, no matter how many times you experience it in life. If you're struggling with the aftermath of rejection, pray this prayer and release yourself from the bondage of its damage. Jesus has already paid the price that was necessary to set you free from the bondage of walking through life alone and carrying the weight of sin done to you. He's just waiting for you to come and ask. He will never force himself on you, our God is a gentleman. Pray this prayer when you desire to heal from rejection and walk into the freedom He has for you.
I give up the desire to understand why bad things happen to me. Take my fears of rejection and replace them with your love and comfort. I give up my desire to prove my worth to others. I give up my resistance to trust you even when I can't understand. I am sorry for being self-consumed in an attempt to guard myself from ever being hurt again. I give you my anger, unforgiveness, and pride that tell me to guard myself when I know it's you who will protect me. I ask that you heal and repair my broken heart and replace the lies that have infested my heart with the love and comfort of your holy spirit. Burn the weight of my rejection with the flames of your holy spirit and consume them, O Lord.
5. Walk in preperation and forgiveness.
Be ready for the rejection in life. The bible instructs us to put on the full armor of God to prepare us for spiritual warfare. Let me be clear, rejection is the enemy's playground. If you aren't intentional and aware, he will come in and consume your wound. Prepare yourself by walking closely with Jesus, aligning your heart with Him, and remembering the truth in His word when the enemy tries to whisper lies.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people." Ephesians 6: 10-18, NIV
If you need help, have questions, or just want someone to talk to I'm available to help you find it. Contact me through my contact page and we'll chat! I have so many resources and truly love helping others overcome rejection.
Forgiveness has been a really difficult subject throughout my life and especially throughout the last two years. I had to be taught who it's for, why we do it, how to do it, and what the results are. So, I've broken these four truths down to simplify the complicated nature of this action.
1. Who is forgiveness for?
This might seem like a silly place to start, but I've learned it's the simple questions that we sometimes get wrong. We have to first establish the foundational principles before moving forward.
FORGIVENESS IS FOR YOU... not the person you're forgiving. YOU are the one hurt. The other person may not even know that you're hurt. You are the only one being affected by unforgiveness. It's creating a wound in your own heart that needs healing, not the other persons.
2. Why do we forgive others?
We've been taught from a very young age that the act of forgiveness is necessary. Think about it. If Susie hits Bobby on the playground, the teacher instructs Suzie to apologize to Bobby for hurting him, but often won't explain WHY she's apologizing.
When we allow ourselves to walk through life with unforgiveness in our hearts, we allow anger to fester and spread. If it goes on for too long without resolve, that anger turns to resentment and bitterness, and before too long? We don't even remember how we became so hard and calloused.
When we allow ourselves to forgive others, we remove the anger, resentment, and bitterness that takes us space in our own heart and make room for joy, peace, and freedom to replace it.
Forgiveness is the first step in reconciliation. When two people agree and decide to move forward forgiving one another, it's important to understand that our words are very powerful in these moments.
I teach my kids not to respond to someone asking forgiveness by saying, "It's okay, don't worry about it" because this is telling that person that what they've done to hurt them is "okay". The act of forgiving is not to say that the action or words that were said are "okay" because there are still consequences to that act or words.
FORGIVENESS IS ACKNOWLEDGING THAT WHAT THEY DID HURT BUT YOU'RE AGREEING TO LET IT GO AND PUT IT IN THE PAST IN ORDER TO MOVE FORWARD AND START OVER FRESH.
I tell them when someone asks them to forgive them the proper way to respond is to say, "I forgive you".
3. How do we forgive others?
This is the part that seems to stump people the most. It's really difficult to do in the beginning, but once it's done, it gets easier and easier to do it again. We will continually experience hurt throughout our lives and the act of forgiving will never be completed. Learning to forgive is a lot like exercising a muscle, the more you do it the stronger it becomes.
-Sit down with a piece of paper, pen, and a red marker.
-Pray and ask God if there's any unforgiveness in your heart.
-Sit and write down anything that comes to mind.
(The first time I did this I had over fifty things written on my paper. There were things I didn't even realize were still in my heart that needed to be addressed. That's the work of the holy spirit. He reveals the wounds of our heart so we can then heal from them.)
-After you've finished, go down your list, one by one, and ask God to remove the unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, and resentment towards that person or incident and replace the wound with the holy spirit.
-Cross out the prayed over portion with the red ink pen. This symbolizes the blood of Jesus, wiping the wound clean and making you white as snow. The tool you need to rid yourself of the burden you carry has already been done through His sacrifice on the cross. You were never meant to carry the burden of unforgiveness. Giving it to Jesus is what will free you.
-Lastly, crumple the paper up after you've finished marking out each incident or person and BURN IT. The burning process is symbolic of removing everything that once weighed you down, removing it from your present, and placing it in the hands of Jesus. This frees you from carrying it into your future.
The more you do this exercise, the less and less time it will take. You'll begin to be able to forgive without needing to walk through each one of these steps.
4. What is the benefit of forgiving others?
There are two benefits of the act of forgiveness. The first is redemption. Redemption is the act of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil. Redemption only requires you and God. It isn't always necessary to tell the person you're forgiving that you've forgiven them. Sometimes all that's needed is to be able to move past it and redeem your life.
The second benefit is reconciliation. Reconciliation is the restoration of friendly relations. It's important to distinguish that redemption and reconciliation don't always hold hands. Redemption only requires you and Jesus but reconciliation requires two people agreeing to forgive one another, so they can move past the hurt and not carry it into the future of the relationship. Some people aren't willing to forgive. Plain and simple. We have to be okay with their answer.
It's important to remember that if someone rejects the offer of forgiveness, God is simply redirecting your life, and even though rejection hurts in the moment, it may be necessary to steer you in the direction He is calling you. So, even in cases where reconciliation may not be possible, redemption is.
Forgiveness is a process and it is pivotal in understanding so we can grow in our relationships. We learn how to love one another better when we learn these four truths about the act of forgiving.
"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" Colossians 3:13, NIV.
By forgiving others, we remove the anger, resentment, and bitterness in our hearts and replace it with joy, peace, and freedom. It relieves you of the weight of sin on your own shoulders and gives it to the One who has already freed us from it.
There. I said it. You heard me right. I pee my pants. And I’m not talking about the time I peed in my mom’s closet while sleep walking when I was 5. No, I’m talking about just last week when my trainer decided to incorporate jumping jacks in our work out. (Thanks, girl.)
Truly, there’s not ONE day I can go to the gym, take a run, or even laugh hard without wondering if I forgot to put a pad on. I still remember taking my first run after having my daughter, Ellie. She’s my third born out of four kids. My first two kids were born via c-section. (Yeah, I know, I know. I did it backwards, but I do a lot of things in life that way.)
My first time pushing a baby out "the natural way" was the third time I got pregnant. And can I be honest with you? That little love nugget was more than two pounds heavier than my first two. Boy did I get the short end of that stick. Not sure what I was thinking when I insisted on doing it the “natural” way, but, nevertheless, I did. She came out as healthy as ever. All 9.2 lbs. of her.
When I say she “tore me a new one”, well, I mean it in the most literal of ways. My 5’4, slim-hipped self wasn’t prepared to push 9 plus pounds out like a bottle rocket.
That wasn’t even the worst part. At around six weeks postpartum, when you’re supposedly able to get back to “normal life”, I got a little surprise. I went in for my check-up, thinking it would be routine, only for the doctor to take one look at my hoo-ha, look up, snap her gloves off, and say “yeah, I think we’re going to refer you to the surgeon.” ‘Cause that’s what you want to hear when you think you just finished recovering from labor.
Turns out, sex isn’t supposed to continue to hurt after childbirth. It evidently wasn’t normal to pee all the way down your leg when you try to jog a block in your neighborhood, either. I was both relieved and terrified to hear this wasn’t the norm, but surgery was required to correct it.
Who would take care of my kids? Certainly not my husband. He worked a gazillion hours as a college football coach and taking time off usually required a circumstance involving bleeding to death or some sort of catastrophic event, like a house fire, or an earthquake. (Scratch that, they’d probably still come in with an earthquake, because wives are supposedly self-sufficient superheroes that don’t need assistance during extreme life events.)
Side note- all the mommas out there married to a coach, no matter what the sport or level, hats off to you, cause you’re not only a superhero but a saint. I didn’t make it in that season for very long. My husband switched careers after about 4 years of coaching and me claiming to be “fine” even though my hair was falling out, I drank about a box of wine a day, and didn’t really understand why I’d cry spontaneously, anywhere, at any given moment.
Anyways, I digress, let’s get back to peeing my pants...
You’d “think” my main priority for getting surgery would be to correct the issue of painful sex and peeing every time I laughed or exercised. However, in the interest of being completely honest and risking my reputation of “having it all together”, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. They weren’t the main reasons.
My main concern was rejection.
It was more important for me to resume sex, not because I desperately desired to do it like rabbits with my husband, but because I didn’t want him to fall out of love with me because I couldn’t perform my wifely duties of physically pleasing him. I wouldn’t exercise around anyone because I was terrified others would make fun of or judge me. I didn’t want other people to view me as “lazy” for not “losing the baby weight” quick enough, so I hid and worked out in the confines of my garage.
(Which totally works for some moms, but for me? It did nothing but stress me out having my littles screaming beside me and constantly interrupting me. The moms that do it with a jillion kids run around them are my own personal superheros.)
Why on earth was I more concerned about other people and their opinion of me than my own? Shouldn’t I have been more concerned about whether I wanted to have sex and enjoy it again? Why didn’t I care more about the uncomforts and set backs of the inability to hold my urine than whether someone would see the wet marks and judge me for it?
Because rejection was much scarier than personal health and happiness to me.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of the comparison game women play. It’s like we’re all in some secret competition to out-do one other. It’s all about who can lose the baby weight faster, breast feed the longest (or if you don’t at all you’re looked at like you don’t love your child as much as women who choose to breastfeed), or who can volunteer the most at school, keep the cleanest house, or I don’t know- fill in the blank of all the other nasty, judgemental, unnecessary comparisons that do nothing but cause division and loneliness between us.
I’m really, really tired of pretending like everything is fine when it isn’t, just to keep up with appearances. No one wants to befriend the girl who peed her pants but everyone seems to cling to the girl who talks bad about the one who sulked off to change her pee-soaked panties.
Why? Why is this a thing?
This is what I know. The friends I LOVE care more about my hoo-ha being repaired for my sake and will support me no matter the circumstance. And by “support”, I mean they’d run right along side me regardless of whether I soaked my pants or not. Matter of fact, they’d stop mid-workout just to help find me a new pair. The friends I want to keep are the ones who would never think about laughing, judging, or rolling their eyes at the woman who had to walk out of gym class because she just peed down her leg.
We can’t be truly known or receive the level of intimacy we truly desire unless we’re willing to stop rejecting others.
I’m happy to report, I don’t pee my pants when I run anymore (well, I may still a little, but at least not down my entire leg) and I really enjoy having sex with my husband, the non-painful kind. I’m also really happy to report that I care less about what others think about me, my life, my family, or my friendships, because I’m happy with who I am.
If someone is willing to make fun, gossip, or reject you for being you, can I boldly step out and tell you that you deserve better? My tribe of friends is small but they are loyal, selfless, transparent, and non-judgmental. Do yourself a favor, whittle down your own tribe or start building one with the same kind of people that are in mine. If you surround yourself with people who gossip, judge, and condemn, you’ll do the same, ‘cause friend, you are massively influenced by the people you’re surrounded by.
This I promise you.
You deserve to be known by the people that truly desire to know you for you, all of you, regardless of your flaws, your circumstance, or your season. If you’re at a loss and can’t seem to maintain those friendships, then it may be time to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself the hard questions. You may find the rejecting, comparing, and judging hasn’t been totally one-sided.
As for me, I’m off to go take a run and if I happen to see someone with wet pants? I’m gonna give ‘em a high-five and a pad instead of rolling my eyes and talking about her with the first person I see. I’m going to intentionally choose understanding and love over judgement and rejection.
Because you know what, girl? I want to be the person that others see and look up to. I want to be the friend people come to for advice because they trust I’ll listen and not cast judgement. I want to be known and loved for who I truly am by others and I know I can’t have that unless I practice what I preach.
I challenge you to do the same.
Make a promise to accept instead of reject, to cast kindness instead of judgement, to be encouraging instead of defeating, and love when it would be easier to hate. Your future self will thank you, I promise.