Merriam Webster’s online dictionary defines the word “reject” as to refuse to accept, consider, submit to, to cast off. Some synonyms to the word rejection include abandonment, forsaking, elimination, exclusion, and turn down. I am certain you get the full picture of what this word means. I do not think I know one single person in this life who has not suffered some sort of rejection. Some people may have been rejected as children, others eliminated from important activities in their teenage years, others could have been refused or turned down by employers or lovers. We all have some story to tell about how we were unheard, silenced, or resisted.
My question to you today is how do you feel about that time when you felt most rejected? Have you allowed yourself to fully process how that made you feel? Have you forgiven, healed, and at least attempted to walk away from those painful memories? I do not mean to say that loosely as though it is a walk in the park- it certainly is not. I have lingered in bitterness and unforgiveness in many different instances and I know that with each time, it took a lot out of me to decide to walk away from such. I ask this because having been on both sides I can attest to how much freedom forgiveness brings.
I believe an unforgiving heart can trigger some mental challenges. I am not referring to studies or any research done but I am speaking from a place of experience, as I have said, being on both sides i.e., unforgiving and forgiving. When you make that decision to forgive, you are not immediately presented with the evidence of change, support, or progress. It may even feel very silly to do it because as human beings we can expect sudden reactions to our decisions, especially the hard ones. However, I have come to learn that forgiveness and letting go of situations beyond our control takes strength and courage. For a person to forgive, it takes a brave heart, so when you make that decision, know that you are a soldier and should be proud of yourself. Please do understand that doing so may require time and the same decision being made multiple times. It is a heart condition and therefore must be dealt with internally. When your heart reacts to the thought of the season of rejection, and it feels uncomfortable and painful, know that it is okay and normal to feel that way. It does, however, tell you something significant, that change needs to take place, you cannot continue living in that space for much longer as it will affect your mental and even physical health. You might not be able to control all that goes on around the world but between you and your heart, you are somewhat responsible to nurture and preserve it. When you are ready to do so, God will meet you where you are and give you the grace needed to reject the spirit of rejection.
What rejection does is, it brings shame and insecurity. It magnifies the negative voices in your mind that say you are not worthy to be treated well. It tells a story that may be half true. For instance, if you are rejected by a lover, the voice may say to you “nobody wants you”, yet when you look around your family, friends, and colleagues adore you and think you are a fantastic person. It convinces you that without the approval of this current situation, you are doomed. That is a half-truth, yes maybe that one person did not see your value (perhaps they do not see their value and therefore would not be able to recognize yours) but it does not mean that the rest of the people God has placed in your life do not love or appreciate you.
To heal from rejection, we must be comfortable in moving like tortoises. Tortoises have no sense of urgency, but they eventually get to their destination. When danger lurks, they enter their shell and are kept safe and life continues. We tend to be in such a rush with the healing processes because we do not necessarily want to go through it, but there are no short cuts. As we journey through this and we release the pain and humiliation of rejection, we will start to heal. It might be a very long way to go but let us be at peace with that.
Today, I hope you may go back to that place where you felt most rejected, revisit it but do not stay there. As you revisit, allow the gift of forgiveness and the cleansing of healing to cover you. As you think about it, say it aloud so that your brain and mind may capture your act of forgiveness which will alert your system that you are ready to move on. Say “I forgive so and so, I forgive myself, I forgive this situation”. Do it as many times as you need to. Start to practice it as a habit. Protect your mental space, even though the world out there may present you with extremely challenging situations, guard your heart, and regularly release the heavy burden of unforgiveness and rejection- your heart will thank you.
“…you shall weep no more, He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears, He will answer you” – Isaiah 30:19