By Lysa TerKeurstv
It only takes a teaspoon of rejection to drown an otherwise very alive soul with sorrow. Its poisonous flow has such a sharp potency that cuts through skin and bone. In milliseconds it gets into the very core of our chests, causing oxygen to be blocked, and suddenly a hollowed-out urgency for air sets in. We don’t give air much thought breath to breath, day to day, until it’s taken from us.
The enemy loves to take our rejection and twist it into a raw, irrational fear that God really doesn’t have a good plan for us. This fear is a corrupting companion. It replaces the truths we’ve trusted with hopeless lies. Satan knows what consumes us controls us. Therefore the more consumed we are with rejection, the more he can control our emotions, our thinking, and our actions.That’s the exact place where panic starts to replace peace. Uncertainty starts to overshadow our faith. And discouragement threatens to override our joy.
What’s a brokenhearted person to do? We must praise God, seek God, look to God, call to God, experience God, fear God, learn from God, honor God, draw near to God, and take refuge in God.
This is how we take back control from something or someone that was never meant to have it and declare God as Lord.To help us see how we can practice this when the worries of rejection try to control us, here are six things to remember and proclaim.
1. One Rejection Is Not a Projection of Future Failures
It’s good to acknowledge the hurt, but don’t see it as a permanent hindrance. Move on from the source of the rejection, and don’t let it shut you down in that arena of life. It has already stolen enough from your present. Don’t let it reach into your future.
No, that relationship didn’t work out. But that doesn’t mean you’ll never find love. It also doesn’t mean you aren’t capable, likable, and lovely.No, your book proposal wasn’t a good fit for that publisher. But that doesn’t mean you can’t write. You don’t have to have a published book to be an effective writer.
No, you didn’t get that job opportunity. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be other interested companies.Replace any negative self-talk that will hinder you with praises for God, who will deliver you.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;he delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:1–4)
2. Rejection Doesn’t Label You; It Enables You to Adjust and Move On
It’s our choice to have either a realistic view or a pessimistic view of rejection.People with a realistic view see rejections as a natural part of life and adjust accordingly. It’s not that they don’t struggle through the hard feelings. They do. But they don’t let them cloud their whole view of life. They are still able to see plenty of positive in themselves, others, and in God’s plan.
Those with a pessimistic view, on the other hand, see life through the lens of their rejection. They feed their outlook by putting negative labels on themselves. When you feed negativity on the inside, it’s negativity that you’ll exude on the outside. This only compounds the hurt. Pessimists don’t want to stay stuck in this downward spiral, but they feel swallowed up by the emotional shame of rejection.
Those who look to him are radiant;their faces are never covered with shame.(Psalm 34:5)
3. It’s Good to Ask the “What” Questions but Less Helpful to Ask “Why”
Decide you’ll only ask questions that help you move forward instead of feeling stuck in the reasons something happened. “What” questions increase our ability to become more self-aware, while “why” questions only focus on things out of our control.Questions you might find helpful: What is one good thing I’ve learned from this? What was a downside to his situation that I can be thankful is no longer my burden to carry? What were the unrealistic expectations I had, and how can I better manage these next time? What is one thing God has been asking me to do today to make tomorrow easier?
You may also find it helpful to write these things down. And get some solid friends around you to help you think through these questions. Chances are they can help you see things you’ll miss on your own. The Lord is wooing us to listen and learn these lessons that will help us look more and more like Him.
Come my children, listen to me;I will teach you the fear of the Lord.(Psalm 34:11)
4. There Is Usually Some Element of Protection Wrapped in Every Rejection
This is a hard one to process at the time of the rejection. But for many of our past rejections, we can look back and see how God was allowing things to unfold the way they did for our protection.
In His mercy, He allowed this.
It was a mercy ruin. It’s easy for us to focus on the ruin. But look for His mercy in the midst of it. In the mercy we’ll find the protection. In the mercy you can see things falling into place rather than falling apart.
When that wonderful, godly man walks away, where’s the protection in that? When that opportunity didn’t come through that would have helped so much financially, where’s the protection in that? When several close friends go on a girl’s weekend and neglect to include you, where’s the protection in that?
Into that space of not understanding, we simply must state, “God, I don’t understand this situation. But I do understand Your goodness to me. I thank You for the protection that is part of this rejection even when I can’t see it. I trust You.”
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,for those who fear him lack nothing.The lions may grow weak and hungry,but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.(Psalm 34:7–10)
5. Don’t Let This Heartbreak Destroy You
Heartbreak is a part of life. Do not let the heartbreak you have experienced be wasted. God is still with you. His promises still stand. Soak in His truth and let them seep into the deepest places of your heart rubbed raw with uncertainty.
God draws you near despite the sharp evidence of your grieving heart. The anger. The deep disappointment and disillusionment. The questions of why you and why now? The comparisons that make you feel as though God loves other people more. How could He let this happen?
Hold fast to Jesus and remember: This breaking of you will be the making of you. A new you. A stronger you. Strengthened not with the pride of perfection but with the sweet grace of one who knows an intimate closeness with her Lord.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
God isn’t afraid of your sharp edges that may seem quite risky to others. He doesn’t pull back. He pulls you close. His love and grace covers your exposed grief. And step-by- step leads you to a new place of victory. A sweet place your soul is so glad to be in though you never would have chosen the hard path on your own.
Rejections big and small just seem to ebb and flow in and out of life. Troubles will probably still find us. But the Lord doesn’t just deliver us from some of our troubles. Psalm 34:19–20 tells us He delivers us from them all!
The righteous person may have many troubles,but the Lord delivers him from them all;he protects all his bones,not one of them will be broken.
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Lysa TerKeurst is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely (Nelson Books, August 2016) and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. For more information, visit www.UninvitedBook.com.