Recently we were with a group of people that I have felt rejected by for many years. Those thoughts that circle my head have run over and over again during the life of our relationship. I have not yet fully escaped those thoughts, but God has brought me tremendous healing and revelation, and I believe some day that tape will be silenced forever. Until then I face them, every time I see this group of people. In the past, whenever I was around people I have felt rejection from, I would immediately wall up, just as soon as I saw them or heard their voices. It became automatic. It felt like protection at the time, but now I see I wasn't really protecting myself. I was hiding myself from the love and grace of God. In closing myself up to everyone else, I also closed myself off from the one who wanted to cover and protect me so I wouldn't have to protect myself. Then it would take days, weeks sometimes, to get those walls back down. But this time was different. For one, I was also with people who make me feel safe. Who have proven to love and accept me just the way I am. And, I am healed. I know who I am now. My identity is in Jesus, and not in how anyone else sees me. So this time when I saw them, no walls. I stuck close to the ones who I am safe with. Laughed with them. Loved them and let them love me fully - no walls. There was still pain. I could see it, the damage is clear. But I felt free to just be me. It felt like freedom. A few days later though there they were, those damn walls. They seemed to come out of nowhere. I was numb... damn it. This is not me anymore. I am not this person anymore. I found myself one morning asking "God, where are you in the midst of rejection?" Then my heart was reminded of God's promise that He will never leave me. He is always with me. I now know that this promise it true. He proved himself true to me when He never left me, even when I told Him to. I gave God an out, and He didn't take it. So, if God is always with me, then why did He feel so distant? I knew it wasn't because He was distant, I was. So I asked a new question "where am I in the midst of rejection? And why am I hiding from you God?" This began a process of Him gently removing my walls, and opening my heart up again. There was some pain, but more strength came. That night I was with an incredible group of women and we were discussing praise. This was a piece of my process that was missing. My 1st inclination is never to praise God in the challenges. But that's what my heart was longing for. I want that to be my 1st instinct, to begin praising God when I face rejection or any other kind of pain. I can praise Him because of who He is. He is good. He loves me. He never rejects me. And in praising Him, my heart stays open and the walls stay down. God has shown me a new way to face rejection. A way that is life giving, not destructive. A way that draws me closer to Him, and to the people around me who love me, rather than closing up and hiding. I am thankful for this. I know I will have plenty more opportunities to put this in to practice. Because it is just a fact of life, we are going to face rejection. It is a part of relationships. I don't know about you, but I want to be able to walk fully in abundance in my relationships without fear of rejection. This is how, for me, to let go of fear and shame, and fully embrace the people around me knowing that when rejection comes, I can hide in the love and grace of my God. He is my protector.
How about you? What's your instinct, your go-to self protection mode when faced with rejection?
If your 1st question in rejection is "God, where are you?", my encouragement to you would be to choose to believe God's promise, that He is with you and will never leave you. If you don't believe that yet, that's where you need to start. Ask Him to show you, He will. If you know that promise, then I would encourage you, in the face of pain and rejection if you are like me, and tend to pull away or put up walls, ask "Where am I? Why am I hiding" Listen to what the Holy Spirit tells you. Then the next piece is praise. I heard it said this way - praise until you want to praise. Meaning, even if you don't feel like it, praise God. Something beautiful happens when we begin to praise God. He is worthy, He is love, He is glorious and deserving of all of our praise. When we turn our eyes to Him, our hearts open and are capable of receiving His love and grace and healing. It's not a give something to get something. That's not how it works. Its remembering who we belong to. Remembering who He is. Remembering His love is unfailing, and if He is for us who can be against us? Its getting our perspective turned around to be Kingdom focused. It's walking in our true identity and watching that manifest in even the most painful circumstances. Where are you today my friends? Are you hiding from your pain? Hiding from God? Are your walls up? Today can be the day that all changes. Today can be the day you receive healing. Do you want healing? If so, start with God's promise - "No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you." Joshua 1:5