Regardless of our age we all have the need to feel liked, loved and valued; to know that we matter. When we experience rejection it crushes us and leaves us feeling small and worthless. Left unattended it festers into a poor self image and attacks our self-confidence and self-esteem, that my friend can make life very difficult.
Have you considered the power behind the words you speak? For example, I have three adult children and I have nicknames for all three of them. My oldest son is Ryan James and since he was about two years old I have called him “Ryan-Bob.” Next is my son Justin Louis who I call “Louie or Little Louie,” although he’s not so little anymore! And then there’s my daughter Randee Gayle who I call “Baby Gayle;” yes, even at the age of 27! Nicknames can be fun and endearing, they can make you feel special and unique and as I’ve seen with my adult children, nicknames can stick.
I’m going to hug the porcupine as I share with you a name that my father used to call me when I was growing up…“Stupid.”
I want to describe my father to you. My father is one of the funniest people I know. He is quick witted and has the best sense of humor. My father has this engaging way about him that draws you in. I like to think that those are a few of the qualities that I inherited from him.
I loved my father dearly. When I was a little girl I waited in the front yard for him to come home, I got so excited when I saw his truck approaching, “dad was home!” I had this need to make my father happy with me; if dad was happy, I was happy.
There was always tension in our home. My parents had their struggles and the frustrations they felt spilled out into our home life. My father was short on patience and exerted his frustrations verbally; it didn’t take much to set him off. During those times of frustration he would seek me out and drill me about the issue at hand, it always included him calling me “stupid.” I never understood why he took his frustrations out on me.
The power behind the word “stupid” was fierce and crippling. The rejection I felt from my father when he called me stupid stopped me dead in my tracks and stripped me of all self esteem. His rejection became the driving force behind my need to find favor with him and make him happy with me. I wanted his favor, his love and his approval. I became a pleaser.
The Scars of Rejection
There are many ways we experience rejection, left unattended our scars can last a lifetime. It amazes me the number of people I minister with whose scars found their roots in rejection; rejection that oftentimes began back when they were mere children. Those scars can cripple us from becoming all that God intended us to be. In my case, I let the power behind the word stupid hold me back. I was in bondage to fear. Fear of not succeeding. Fear of not measuring up. Fear of not fitting in. Fear of failure. Those fears became the crutch I used to make bad choices in my life. I lacked the self esteem to do differently. Those bad choices came with some pretty heavy consequences.
What about you, what has rejection cost you?
Here’s the deal…we cannot escape rejection. It isn’t something that we can always control, but we can control our response to it.
What will your response be? Grow thick skin? Act like you’re tough and don’t care? The truth is…we do care! No one wants to live a life of rejection.
I don’t need to understand why my father behaved the way he did for me to love and forgive him. I believe God can heal my heart and restore my self esteem as I hand these painful memories over to Him. I also believe God can heal my father’s heart and restore whatever brokenness caused him to behave the way he did. We are blessed to serve a God who’s in the business of healing and restoration. When we choose to hand over the ashes of our lives to Him there is healing.
In Jesus we are over-comers! I always say, “You can’t be an over-comer if you refuse to come over.” I genuinely believe that.
Who has suffered more rejection than Jesus? His own people rejected Him; they were expecting a conquering king not a suffering servant.
In John chapter 6 of the Holy Bible it says that even after Jesus performs miracles right before their eyes, still many turned away and rejected Him. In versus 35 and 36 it says, Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.”
Jesus suffered rejection time and time again. Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends and a disciple, yet he rejected him three times. Judas Iscariot rejected Jesus with a kiss which led to his arrest! Jesus never let rejection change His course, He overcame and He continually handed it all over to his Father.
Are you getting the picture?
If we are to be like Jesus then we are to overcome like Jesus. Sometimes the hurts are harder to overcome, I know all about that. I also know all about the healing that takes place in our hearts when we hand over those hurts to Jesus. He is the Comforter of our soul; if you hand over your hurts to Him he will remove the sting and replace it with His loving mercy.
He promised that He would never leave you nor forsake you and I’m here to tell you, He never will.