Over the course of 2018, my toughest battle was the battle of rejection. Rejection from others and rejection from myself. I struggled in the area of loving myself. I didn’t accept myself in a lot of ways. I was frustrated with my weight, my lack of accomplishments, I felt unloved, and rejected by people close to me. I struggled to understand why I wanted the approval of others so intensely. I remember crying time and time again every time I was knowingly, or unknowingly, rejected by those close to me and asking myself, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I constantly being rejected?”. In October of 2018, I got a word at church that I needed. The word I got from God was, “I affirm you, I accept you, and I endorse you.” That night, I remember thinking, “What a nice word!”, but in all honesty, it didn’t fully hit me that night.
Throughout all of my life I’ve struggled with rejection in many ways, whether it was with family, friends, or boys. I’ve battled this constant cycle of rejection from when I was a child. Throughout the course of the years of so much rejection, I began to reject myself. When you struggle so long with rejection, you begin to accept what other people think of you and begin to reject yourself. I started first with rejecting my body. I hated being tall and constantly being reminded of it. I hated my weight and many times I was made fun of for it. I hated my smile. I got to a point where I looked in the mirror and thought I would never be as pretty as the next girl. Then I began rejecting my personality. I started hating characteristics of my personality, whether it was the things I laughed at, or being too “loud” for people, or being too vocal about what I believed in (because most of the time it was “too conservative” for the people who surrounded me), and even my humor. Last, but not least, I started rejecting my heart. I hated that I loved hard, I hated that I cared, I hated that I would forgive people who rejected me, I hated that I was constantly the one that had to reach out to people, and I just wanted to develop a cold demeanor. I began to try to adjust everything about me because of rejection. I would morph into whatever my surroundings were to avoid being rejected. I would change style, my attitude, my speech, my character, and my personality in order to fit other people’s standards because I was tired of the rejection. I didn’t know who I was. I was so desperately wanting to be accepted and feel like I mattered.
Rejection eventually leads to depression and self-hatred. I remember wanting to find people to take the place of those who rejected me. If it was a friend that rejected me or tossed me to the side, I instantly would look for another friend to fill that void. If it was a guy who rejected me, I needed to have a Plan B, C, D, & E. If it was my family, I would find another family to love me and make me feel accepted. The more I reflect on my struggles from childhood and youth into adulthood, I realized that rejection consumed me and my relationships with everyone around me. They say you can’t truly love others until you love yourself. I loved others so hard because somewhere inside of me, I believed that if I loved them hard, that it would always be reciprocated. That easily played into relationships with guys that I knew weren’t “the one”, but I wanted them to love me and accept me SO bad because I didn’t love and accept myself. I needed their love and acceptance because I couldn’t find it anywhere within myself. In turn, I was never satisfied with the love that was given and my feelings would eventually fade and the guys would end up hurt.
Now, going back to what I was told in October 2018, I thought it was a nice word to hear. It wasn’t until late December/early January, that I fully grasped on to it. God made me the way that I was for a reason and no matter how much I tried to fight it, my personality and my heart is the way it is because God made it that way. I tried so hard to be someone I wasn’t. I tried to be someone who didn’t care about people, who wasn’t “phased” by other people, and who needed other people to agree with them constantly. That night I was told that God had created me different on purpose, that what other people called “weird” was given to me from God, and that I didn’t need the approval of other people because God already approved me. That was a huge deal to me because I used to H A T E when people called me weird. I would try to pretend like it didn’t bother me, but I hated when people would refer to something I said or a viewpoint I had as “weird”. However, looking back and in my time with God, I realized that God was preparing me for something greater. The Bible says “Do not conform to the patterns of this world” (Romans 12:2) and many times that’s what I was being criticized for- not conforming. I was always the “mom-friend” and I would always try to give my friends advice and a lot of the advice I would give would go against the norms of society, especially considering we were young. Even at an early age I would encourage my friends to seek God, to pray, and to not get consumed with the sex, drugs, and clubbing culture. However, at that age, I eventually gave into some of the things I would try to preach against. I wanted so desperately to feel included, to feel valuable, to feel irreplaceable to everyone important to me, that at some point, that meant putting aside my values and my morals, but most importantly, my relationship with God. I look back now and I don’t regret any of the decisions I made because God allowed me to see His goodness and He’s allowed me to experience and understand what true love and mercy is.
You see, until we know who we are in Christ and what we were created for, we will struggle with rejection. Self-rejections, rejection from others, rejection in jobs, rejection in relationships, rejection in families, and even rejection in ministry is a killer. Rejection alienates us, it keeps us living in our hurt, it creates roots of unforgiveness, and it can lead to depression, anxiety, anger problems, self-hatred, lack of identity, and low self-esteem among other things. Rejection makes us put our guards up, so that nobody else can “hurt” us, but it also keeps away the people who want to love us. It wasn’t until I was reminded of my identity, of who I am, I wasn’t able to fully deal with the rejection that was in my heart. I am a daughter of Christ. The day I accepted Christ in my heart, I became a daughter of the God of the Heavens and Earth. I may fail daily, I may not always react correctly, I may get weary sometimes, I may not always say or do the right thing, I may not be perfect, but God will never reject me. I will never be rejected by God. I will always be loved by God. Until I fully understood that, I wasn’t able to release the feeling of rejection and forgive those who rejected me and ask God to forgive me for holding resentment of those who rejected me. When I was able to do all that, I was able to find freedom!
There is a God who looks at you and smiles. The areas of your life that seem messy, complicated, or ugly, those are areas that God is willing to clean up for you, only if you let Him do it. People may reject you because of your looks, your past mistakes, your attitude, your character, the way you dress, the way you talk, the way you think, or whatever other reason people have to reject you, but God will never reject you. He formed you from the time you were in the womb, ON PURPOSE and WITH PURPOSE. I encourage you to take the time to let God in and surrender those horrible and painful feeling of rejection onto Him and let Him heal you. If He did it for me, He will do it for you!
God bless you!