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“Where shall we sit tonight?” …
my friend asked as we stood in the dining hall for the evening meal searching for two empty chairs at a table.
The whole scenario before me brought to mind those horrific feelings and images of all the classic cafeteria movie scenes. You know the ones, right? The ones where the unpopular or new kid enters the cafeteria and has to decide where to sit. They long to sit with the “popular” kids, or to be asked by someone to sit with them and instead, they end up sitting all alone and feeling like an outcast, left out, or feeling down right rejected.
Last week while attending a conference, my friend and I tried not to sit with the same people during meals so we could meet as many new people as possible.
We chose a table like we had all the other times before, and sat down. It was one of the last nights of the conference, and this table was tucked in a corner, with only three people sitting there. I had met the husband and wife briefly the first night and thought it would be fun to get to know them. As my friend and I sat down to dinner, it felt like I was transported to one of those 80’s movie scenes I described above. As we introduced ourselves, the couple was the only one who acknowledged our presence and gave their names, the third person at the table did not. At first, I just thought she was chewing food, shy, or even deep in her own thoughts, but then it became clear that she was completely and purposefully ignoring us. Throughout the meal, she was carrying on a conversation whispering to the wife and the husband was engaging in conversation with my friend and me.
As I sat there listening to the two different conversations at the table, my friend talking with the husband across the table and these two ladies who seemed to lack the common decency of being polite, I began to think something was wrong with me. Did I have food stuck in my teeth? Did I suddenly grow a third eyeball? Was my makeup to dark? Or smeared, or ????
I began to feel rejected and unworthy. I had all these thoughts assault me as I sat there watching and listening. I am happy to say, that it didn’t take long for me to recognize that rejection was trying to reattach itself to my thoughts and gain access back into my life.
We are told in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to take every thought captive and submit it to Christ, but I love the way The Passion Translation reads.
I did just that, I grabbed those thoughts and knew they were not of God. I captured them and made them bow (submit) to Jesus Christ. As the internal battle was being waged in my mind, I heard Jesus whisper to my heart that I wasn’t the problem. He assured me I need not feel rejected, but rather to know, I am Accepted!
Oh, those words, “You are Accepted” moved through my heart and mind, erasing and eradicating the terrible ones that had been there moments before. God reminded me of a story that I had recently shared during a message:
Rejection is in the Eye of the Beholder
A young salesman became discouraged because he had been rejected by so many customers he approached. He asked a more experienced salesman for some advice.
“Why is it that every time I make a call on someone I get rejected?”
“I just don’t understand that,” answered the older salesman. “I’ve been hit on the head, called dirty names, and thrown out the door, but I’ve never been rejected.”
Rejection isn’t what happens to us but how we interpret what happens to us.
How very true this little story is, and so spot on for what I experienced last week at the conference. Rejection isn’t what happens to me, it’s how I respond to it. I don’t have to allow it to take root. Not in my thoughts, or in my heart or anywhere in my life for that matter.
Here are a few things to remember about rejection:
- Rejection is the enemies tool to directly attack our identity.
- Rejection is a direct assault on God’s purpose for our life.
- Rejection is a destiny killer.
- Rejection is no respecter of persons.
- Rejection tries to attach itself to us and become our identity.
How do we deal with rejection when it comes?
Here are 4 steps, that on paper may seem easy, but as we walk through each step, some may be more difficult than others.
4 steps to Overcome Rejection
The first step in overcoming rejection is to recognize the problem. Rejection can take place when acceptance is contingent upon satisfactory performance. For example, if we don’t measure up to someone’s or some group’s imaginary standards, we are rejected. Somehow, we feel that we need to DO certain things to be accepted, or we feel we need to have a certain position or title to be accepted.
The concepts of acceptance and identity are so intertwined it is impossible to discuss one without the other. If we haven’t found meaning and acceptance in our identity in Christ then it is all too easy to build an identity based on performance or conformity to some standard. This is a set up for rejection to take root. We do not have to do this all alone; God will help us recognize it.
Remember, we are accepted by God.
Overcoming rejection is God’s unquestionable will for our life. He does not want us trapped or bound by the enemy in a vicious cycle of being or having feelings of rejection.
To repent means to change the way we think, act and talk. It means to turn around and go in the opposite direction.
Sometimes this step requires repenting of our actions and words and repenting for aligning ourselves with the lies of the enemy. Sometimes it requires forgiving ourselves, and sometimes it requires forgiving others.
But, it always requires TRUSTING God and letting go of control, manipulation, and doing it our way. It may require setting aside our desires, aspirations and asking God for His.
We must receive and apply God’s love to a wounded heart daily to overcome rejection. We do this by allowing God to renew our mind until the “rejected” or the “rejected by man” mentality is gone and we begin to think like the accepted of God.
God has chosen us – He accepts us – the minute we accept Him – we have been accepted. He even accepts us when we reject Him.
Rejection does not dictate what the future has in store for us, God does!
Rejection doesn’t define you or me – unless we allow it to. But it can motivate us to make the necessary adjustments and receive the healing we need to move forward. We need to reclaim our God given identity and purpose and declare the truth over our lives. We do that by finding promises and truths God spoke in His Word. We take those Scriptural truths and speak them out loud over our life, we mediate on them, and we stand upon the promises of His Word.
How is God encouraging you today?
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