Some people see it as a weakness.
We can’t control how other people will respond to us.
But that doesn’t stop us from trying to.
Guaranteed– someone, at some time in your life (or many times), will react to your soul’s intimate cries in a way that wounds you.
Insensitivity, explaining away your feelings, making them seem invalid, changing the subject to talk about themselves without even addressing the fact that you just poured your heart out- these are just some of the reactions we have all faced.
Sometimes it happens when you take the initiative when you are new (new at church, new in town, new at a job). Asking someone to come over with their kids, to meet at the park, or go out for dinner.
Then you get the shifty eyes, looking at their feet– you can sense non-verbally that the answer is no, no matter what may come out of their mouths a few moments later. They are trying to let you down easy- avoid giving a firm, committed answer so they can honestly say they never agreed to meet with you.
I feel like I have become an expert on rejection over these past few years.
My hubby and I have wonderful friends. We have moved many times over our almost eight years of marriage and we have never had trouble making friends in new places- till now.
I struggle with it the most. I feel like it is my fault. There is something wrong with me that people don’t like. But the reality is- we have so many other friends, other places- I know that can’t be the reason.
God has us in this season, facing these challenges– I find myself wondering how He would want me to respond. Because I’ll be honest- it hurts to feel rejected, not good enough, inadequate.
To sit alone at my house almost every day of the week.
But the reality is, some of that has become my fault. I have started to anticipate/fear rejection. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am hiding in my home sometimes.
Afraid to try again, because I don’t want to see those looks, to make phone calls that remain unanswered…
It takes courage to keep on trying.
To put yourself out there.
But why? Why should I?
That’s what I started asking God last week. Why should I, again, when I will probably meet with the same result and end up crying more tears?
I feel like God has been saying to me- “You care too much what they think Rachel.”
I care too much whether people think I am worthy to hang out with.
Whether people want to be my friend.
Whether they think I am fun to be around.
Truthfully, for many years I have cared much more about pleasing people than pleasing God.
So, I cried some more tears and started praying. (God, how can I be courageous in this season and live obedient to you despite my own fears?)
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
What can we learn from these passages?
- How I interact with people should not be based on how they respond to me, but rather my interaction with them is an outpouring of God’s love toward me (their response is irrelevant)
- I seek out interaction with others because in doing so, I am fulfilling God’s calling on my life. We are called to make disciples, we are called to live in unity and peace with each other (not in isolation).
- Love is sincere. We need to pray that God will give us love for people who are hard to love.
- We need to freely forgive others who wrong us. Sometimes the problem needs to be taken to that person, sometimes we just need to let it go. Pray about it, and if you are still uncertain, seek the advice of an elder that you respect.
- Consider, in the light of these passages, how Jesus was treated. Any emotional turmoil or rejection we might experience is nothing compared to what He sacrificed for us.
- We never know what is truly going on in someone’s heart. Some people use anger as a shield for their more frail emotions. Continually seek God’s help to foster compassion and love in your heart for all of God’s children.
Let’s make a commitment to live exposed. To not be afraid of “getting hurt,” or being rejected. But to instead focus on living as God has called us to.
Sometimes we will want to retaliate to another’s cruelty; we will have to learn to hold our tongue.
There will be times when we will have to humble ourselves and let God be our defense. This is tough for me, I want to justify my actions and protest my innocence instead of letting God take care of it.
God calls us to live upright and blameless lives before Him.
When we let God tells us who we are and we live caring only about obedience to Him, our hopes no longer hang on how people will respond to us- whether they will like us or value us as a person-but only on God’s perception of us through the cross of His Son, Jesus Christ.
If only we cared more about how God sees us. We would live in greater freedom and find it easier to love.
When we are living fully alive in Christ and aware of all that He has done for us (gratitude) loving another in their sinful state becomes so much easier- for we have in mind all that God graciously bestowed upon our sinful life.
Lord, sometimes it is so hard to live vulnerable in the world. To open ourselves up to potential hurt and misunderstanding from others. I often care more about what others think of me than what you do, and that cripples my ability to live in love as you have called me to. I begin to put limits on what I am willing to give, how many times I am willing to put myself out there. I start to feel tired and emotionally raw because I am not living in the light of who I am in you, but rather taking on the limited perceptions of those around me. Lord give me the strength to endure rejection and hardships for you. To step out in faith and obedience even when it is hard. As I seek you through your Word, remind me how you treasure me as your child, that my sins are forgiven, and grace covers me. Thank you Lord for your never-ending love. This world desperately needs more of it. May I be a vessel of your love today. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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