I recall in my early teens I was a border at a private religious school where sport was considered a big thing. My brother was much better, and a natural, at sport. But for me—that was another story. I was awkward and clumsy, uncoordinated.
When it came to rugby union teams, I was rejected out of hand and selected to the lowest scoring team. I think there were 15 teams, and I was in number 15, the lowest one. The rest of us in that team were not very talented either. We were looked down on, and laughed at. And I felt deeply rejected. I’ve moved on since those awkward days, but I’m sure it has left a mark.
The Fear of Rejection
In the movie Back To The Future, there is a scene where Marty McFly goes back in time and is trying to convince his father George to ask his mom Lorraine out on a date. George is sitting in the school cafeteria, lost in a world of writing science-fiction stories. When Marty presses his nerdy father to ask Lorraine out he replies, “What, right here, right now in the cafeteria? What if she said No? I don’t know if I could take that kind of rejection.” Marty then looks down and says, “Yes. Yes, I know what you mean.”
We can all relate to George and Marty—no-one likes to be rejected and we have all experienced it at some point in our lives. It may have been an older sibling who overshadowed you, a coach who cut you from the team, a wrongful dismissal from work, someone teasing you for your appearance or being ridiculed for your race or culture. Perhaps someone didn’t invite you to the party, ignored you or ‘unfriended’ you on Facebook.
This sense of rejection makes you feel like you’re not good enough. That everyone is better than you. Rejection is defined as to throw away, the state of being refused or the denial of love and acceptance. No wonder it hurts so much. It is this state of rejection that has hindered many from stepping out and fulfilling their dreams.
The Hurt of Rejection
Have you ever felt rejection like that? Rejection is painful. There’s no other way about it. And many of us face it on a daily basis, whether it’s that job you didn’t get or a partner that broke up with you. And whether the rejection is large or small, it still hurts, and it’s often more painful than we expect.
When we are rejected, many of us tend to become self-critical, and rather than project the anger and disappointment outwards, we blame ourselves. Rejection is one of the most painful words in our vocabulary and always associated with broken dreams and disappointment.
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We scold ourselves for not doing enough work, not being handsome or funny enough, and we call ourselves names and punish ourselves .Rejection is tough at any age—even babies cry when rejected. God made each of us with the innate desire to be loved and accepted just as we are. To reject someone means to refuse to grant that person recognition or acceptance, to discard that individual as being worthless. Have you ever felt rejected?
Rejection is something every person deals with at some point in his or her life. It can be painful and harsh, and it can stay with us for a long time. However, it’s a part of life we just need to work through. Sometimes we come out better on the other side of rejection than we would have been if we hadn’t gotten it. But there is an answer—because the Bible reminds us that God will be there for us to ease the sting of rejection. Psalm 27:10 says, “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.”
Ask God to help you view yourself as he sees you. Clear away the distorted view of you that rejection may have placed in front of your eyes and pray for a vision of how God sees you. Write down a list of all the wonderful, God-given qualities that make you unique and remind yourself of them when you need to view yourself from God’s perspective. It’s not about boasting, but accepting the truth of God’s love for you.
(Read The Sting of Rejection – Part 2)