“Rejection from man doesn’t equal rejection from God.”
– Lysa TerKeurst
Rejection. Oh how that word pierces my soul. Such a dirty little word, isn’t it? Certainly makes me feel dirty. I’ve known rejection way too well, in fact, there were times it felt like rejection and I were best friends. I can recall countless times I felt rejected; countless times I felt inadequate, discarded, set aside. Rejection first made its presence known within the four walls of my home, but that’s a story for another time. The rejection I’m referring to today is the rejection within social settings.
Rejection always knew where to find me. It knew who and what and how and when. It knew just the right moments. Many of those moments occurred throughout my school years. As early as Kindergarten when three classmates said I couldn’t sit at their table because I wore glasses. Immediately, insecurities started to stir. I was seared with rejection’s dirty sting. Numerous times throughout elementary school and middle school I was outcast based on my appearance. My self-esteem started to plummet. A voice echoing in my ear, “You will NEVER be accepted because you DON’T belong!” The voice growing louder and louder with every encounter.
Rejection reached a new level when I entered into my high school years. I was determined not to be an outcast. That same determination inevitably led to the demise of my character. I spent what seemed like every second striving for acceptance yet still somehow struggled to fit in until I discovered the art of pretending. I impersonated and imitated my peers and slowly started to be invited into their circle. Finally, I was being accepted. But that acceptance came with a high cost. Perhaps I wasn’t an outcast anymore but I certainly wasn’t proud of the person I had become. I mastered mimicking so well that I became unrecognizable. I was trapped within my own deception. I was lost and lonely. My desperation for attention drove me straight down a dark, isolated road. Then God sent a light.
I’ll never forget the moment we met, in fact, she and I still laugh about it. There was no doubt in my mind that this was someone I was never going to ever speak too. Isn’t that just like the enemy to immediately try to drive a wedge between you and what (or in this case who) God has sent for deliverance? That wedge didn’t last too long. Hallelujah! Dancing triggered a conversation and soon we’d discover the countless commonalities we actually shared. As our friendship grew it was quite clear that God’s love flowed both in her and through her. It was contagious. I had been to church before, many years ago, but the way she spoke about God instilled this intense need to know more. As friends do, we started to exchange stories, after one particular account of mine she asked me a question I had never heard before. “Can I pray for you?” I knew what prayer was but I couldn’t recall anyone ever requesting to pray for me. I found it odd and yet somehow still endearing. We snuck into the girls bathroom, she held my hands and began to pray. I wish I could remember the words she said but I’m grateful that I’ll never forget the way I felt. Tears started to rush down my face almost immediately, my body subtly shaking, feeling lighter each and every time she spoke the name Jesus.
In that moment a transformation began, it wasn’t instant but as time continued I could see that I was finally becoming who God had always intended me to be. It’s such a relief to say that I am no longer lost. In fact, I love the young woman I have become. Am I perfect? No. Do I still struggle? Of course. Even now rejection still sears me with its dirty sting and although it hurts I now know that I can hold onto God’s truth.
Rejection has affected almost everyone, to those who have experienced it and to those who are still enduring it I want to share this truth with you today. People may choose to set you aside but God has selected you to be set apart.