As I sit at my computer reaching out to our community of making space for God folks, I am all too aware that some of you are facing serious rejection; that as you read these words they may be the lifeline that you need to move from off the cliff of rejection and onto the mountain of affirmation.
I know what it is like to be rejected. I grew up in an affirming Christian family and then came school. I found myself surrounded by kids that didn’t think I was as great as my parents had told me I was. Kids can be cruel and I began my journey into the sometimes cruel world of painful rejection. Each week it seemed that someone took their turn at being hurt. Life on the playground was not what I had anticipated. It was the place where kids were kids and sometimes even innocently someone was not included or was criticized for what they wore that day or what was in their lunchbox.
But there is a day when we leave the playground and enter into grown-up life and rejection still happens, yet at a different level. Often it’s us rejecting ourselves.
- I’m not smart enough
- Pretty enough
And we carry these thoughts right into our Christian lives where Jesus stands at the door of our hearts knocking for entry; longing to bring us Truth but we cannot hear the knocking because the voices “out there” are simply too loud.
I remember a day on the playground where I wanted to be part of the Beatles band that we were forming. I longed to be Paul– the good looking one who was, in my opinion, the best singer. But I was told that if I wanted to be one of the Beatles I had to be Ringo. Silly as it seems now as an adult, I still remember the disappointment. I didn’t even like Ringo. But I longed to be part of the band, so I caved. In years to come, I found myself settling for what was second best, deferring to others and seeing myself as someone who could not ever get what I longed for in my heart. Now here is the amazing part. Totally unaware that I was operating from an “I don’t deserve first place attitude,” I was with a friend who came to pray with me. Suddenly during our prayer time the memory on the playground came back and it was as if the pain was as real as if it were happening at that moment.
BUT GOD… that day broke through. I heard Him knocking on the door of my heart and I opened it. He came in and brought Truth; that He would give me the desires of my heart. Now granted this is only half of the promise. Here’s how it goes:
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart (Proverbs 37:3)
The key– delighting in God unlocks the desires of our hearts. The words of others, or our own self-condemning words, cannot stand up against the truth of God’s word. Delight in Him and He will not give us second best, but instead give us His very best.
Friends, our past experiences need not define us. The word of God is our plumb line and what God says about us is our standard. Let’s replace the lethal poison of rejection with the affirmation that comes from the Living Word. His words bring life. And… let’s affirm and encourage one another. Our words to one another can also bring life.
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another… (Hebrews 10:25)