As a teenage girl I was tall, lanky, had unruly-short-curly hair, and wore glasses bigger than my face. Teenage years are hard on a girl's heart. Especially, if you are not that teenage girl. You know the one I am talking about? That teenage girl all the boys want to date. My high school theme song was I'll Say Goodbye To Love by The Carpenters. There is no one else that can croon the emotions of a broken heart like Karen Carpenter. I could name a list of all the boys I had crushes on that didn't notice I existed.
Yeah, they are seared into my memory.
There are some wounds that seem to follow us around for a lifetime. Rejection is that wound for me. And wounds have a way of trying to steal our identity. So when a time of rejection happens, every time of rejection can come flooding back. Whispers of "you will never be chosen", "passed over", "not good enough" can feel like the truest thing about me.
Not all of my rejection wounds are from boys because girls can treat each other so... ugh. My freshman year of college I had a group of girlfriends that made arrangements to room with each other the following year. I was not included in those arrangements or even told. I was hurt.
Sometimes, the rejection is a misunderstanding, a misperception; sometimes, it's not. Whichever it is, it never feels good to be excluded.
Passed over for promotions, not invited to a friend's party, a daughter shutting out her parents, betrayal from a close friend, unfaithfulness of a spouse. Rejection, at some time and possibly many times, effects everyone.
Ironically, rejection won't reject anyone.
I pray my eyes are open to the times that I am hurtful. I pray for a forgiving heart when I am hurt.
Recently, I was talking with one of my sons about his rejection wounds. I reminded him that this an area Satan will always attack. Always. Satan knows the opposite is true of him, that he is chosen for a great purpose and so he wants him to agree with these lies. The lie that says people don't really like being around him, the lie that whispers he is a loser, the lie that shouts he has nothing to offer. The truth is people love to be around him, he is far from a loser, and he has so much to offer. I encouraged him to use this as a time to rise, to emerge from a time of rejection as a leader who seeks out those who are not included.
And after talking with him, I had to reminded myself.
Rejection feels like the truest thing about me when I am relying on others and not God to affirm who I am... relying on others to define me and determine my worth. Although rejection happens, rejected is not who I am. God has never rejected me; he will never reject me. God says I am chosen.
A couple of months ago I was having a time of prayer and meditation, and I envisioned myself running past a group of people. I ran past the people that I have looked to for my identity. I ran past every guy I ever had a crush on, every unrequited love. I ran past friends, my siblings, my parents. I ran past my children and my husband. I ran past them and into the arms of Jesus. It was a powerful image and I felt in that moment a deep sense of acceptance and love. I wish I could say since then I have not struggled with my wounds of rejection, but I have. It's strange how God can feel so near and powerful, and then in another moment we can ache with feelings of being discarded.
The wind, one brilliant day, called
to my soul with an odor of jasmine.
'In return for the odor of my jasmine,
I'd like all the odor of your roses.'
'I have no roses; all the flowers
in my garden are dead.'
'Well then, I'll take the withered petals
and the yellow leaves and the waters of the fountain.'
The wind left. And I wept. And I said to myself:
'What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?'
Care for the beautiful garden... your soul. Remember your Savior's embrace and, dear Soul, remember you are chosen.