Today I am going to start a new series called “Dealing with Rejection”.
Rejection has many faces. It showed itself in the moment you discovered the school application you sent out was denied. When your friends made plans and forgot to invite you. When your crush ignored your friend request on Facebook. When you were not picked to be part of a team. It was there that day your boyfriend broke-up with you. During the times your parents were not around when you needed them. In the *awkward* moment you waved back at someone, and they were actually waving to someone else behind you. Ouch. Rejection can hurt.
What makes it even worse is when people say, “Hey, don’t take it personally.” Then you think, “But… I was just rejected. Me. This person right here. How would you suggest I take this? Generally?” All jokes aside, my life has unfortunately consisted of constant rejection. From being left to sit alone at lunch for an entire school year, to being abandoned by my dad, to being unjustly fired – I have lived through a lot of hurt. Yet, through the pain, tears, anger, and frustration, God was there. He did not leave me to walk through it alone. He also did not let me soak in my misery. Instead, He taught me how to deal with rejection and find joy in the midst of it.
Rejection can become an invitation.
On a summer day a few years ago, a group of girls from my class invited me to have dinner with them. I was really excited. They were sweet girls and I had talked with them in class before but they had not yet invited me to hang-out with them. The plan was to meet at the bridge near the center of town around 5pm that evening, then walk over to a nearby restaurant to have dinner together.
I went home after school to finish my homework and get ready for that night. I left the house around 4:45pm, only to discover rain coming down. “It’s okay,” I thought. “I’ll just change my shoes and grab an umbrella.” Once properly equipped, I walked to the bridge. The girls had not arrived, so I waited. *Checked my phone* and waited. 15 minutes turned into 30, and still, I waited. It was about 5:45pm when I realized they were not coming.
I held my umbrella close to me, my feet now starting to feel damp from my soaked shoes, and looked out over the bridge. It seemed as though the entire sky was crying into the river flowing beneath me. “God, I can’t believe they ditched me.” I felt like a loser. Rejected. Then, at that moment, as tears began to grace my cheeks, God whispered, “I am still here, daughter. I have not left you.” I knew He was right.
Those girls may have forgotten me but the One who meant most to me had not abandoned me.
A few minutes later, almost on cue, the clouds began to pull away from each other as we both ceased our tears, and in the distance, the sun began its decent behind the horizon. I watched its reflection shimmer on the water. The view was breathtakingly beautiful and honestly, I would not have wanted to spend it with anyone else other than my Jesus. It dawned on me that this rejection had just turned into an invitation from Him – to merely hang out on a bridge and watch this view together. It was like having a date with Jesus! After 20 minutes, I began to walk home, feeling so happy and loved.
Walking along the sidewalk, my thoughts went back to the girls. “Maybe they just forgot to meet me. Was I at the wrong bridge? I hope they were not in an accident.” When my victim-mentality shifted to a Kingdom-mindset, I no longer saw them as the enemy but rather as God’s daughters. I asked God to forgive me for being upset at them because I had judged those girls too quickly. That evening was a gift that could not have happened without them.
I learned sometimes one door closes so another can open. However, it is important not to continue staring at the closed door, wondering why it is shut, but to find the door that is unlocked and waiting for you to walk through. Honestly, it stings when a door is slammed in your face. But God reminds us that even if ten doors are closed before us, even if we are persecuted, even if the entire world is against us, He is for us (Romans 8:31) and will give us the strength to continue on and to love despite it all. His heart is always an open door.
Even Jesus (who was rejected more than any of us) forgave those who betrayed Him while He was pierced on the cross, and in the midst, was still full of love for the ones who put Him there.
Hebrews 12:2-3 (ESV)-
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Princesses, today I challenge you to: Forgive. Heal. Love. Repeat. FORGIVE those who hurt and rejected you, pray for God to HEAL your heart so you can see them as He does and LOVE them through Christ. When the next door closes, just REPEAT.
By the way, there is a happy ending to my story. The next day I saw the girls, with no malice in my heart, and asked if they were all right. They apologized and explained that they had cancelled the dinner because of the rain. They had tried to get in touch with me, but had the wrong number. It was simply miscommunication. We rescheduled and had a wonderful meal together later in the week.
I know not all stories have happy endings, but remember that it is not always about where you are going or how the story ends, it is how you choose to get there that matters.