The one thing everybody’s looking for is unconditional love. We all need somebody to love us just the way we are – Joyce Meyer
There are days that just lend themselves to moments of reflection… when we look back over our lives and see things that maybe weren’t quite so obvious at the time or that, when taken together, impact us in such a way that we realize our perception of things may be a bit skewed. There may be a moment that has such a significant impact on us that it forever changes how we view ourselves and those around us. For me, that moment happened when I was in the sixth grade.
Everyone in my grade signed an “I-Hate-Lori Lynn” petition–everyone, that is, except for one other girl who was also an outcast at the time. I was devastated. Even though everything pretty much blew over by the end of that summer and I was friends with everyone again in seventh grade, it had a profound effect on me. It has caused me to spend the majority of my life thinking people don’t like me. I have spent a large majority of time thinking there is something wrong with me. I have often felt that I’m not good enough. It is only now that I am getting older that I realize it doesn’t matter so much, because we are all flawed in some way. The older I get, the more I realize almost everyone deals with low self-esteem or insecurity at some point in their life. Despite that realization, I still have moments of sadness and loneliness that stem from that root of rejection.
Rejection causes us to act weird. We may try too hard to make or maintain friendships. We may be afraid to speak up, too timid to make a suggestion or give our opinion on something. We may fall into a pit of despair. We see everything we’re “not” instead of the beautiful creation that we are. I heard Joyce Meyer say once that it is proven that at any given point in time, there are always going to be 10% of people who will not like you. Instead of lamenting that statistic, I have learned to view it in a different light. I now say to myself, “Well, too bad for that person. It’s their loss!”
The father of the man I dated before I met my husband absolutely hated me (more rejection). I never quite understood why, as he never had an opportunity to get to know me very well. He had formed some preconceived idea of me and refused to get to know me better to see whether or not his preconception was accurate. That bothered me for years, especially since I really wanted to marry his son. I always thought I wasn’t good enough for this very well-to-do family. I thought the flaw was in me. I found out later that the man was an atheist. When I found that out, my first thought was, “Good grief, no wonder he didn’t like me!” What I find really amazing is how God was using my encounter with that man to change me on the inside. A few years ago, when that man was dying, I felt so compelled to pray for him. God laid on my heart this intensity to pray that I had never felt before. As much as I disliked that man here on earth, because I saw him as a barrier to my having a permanent relationship with his son, I nonetheless sure hope I see him once I enter the pearly gates of heaven. I am hoping that for a few minutes before he breathed his last bit of air here on earth that he had an encounter with the Lord that forever changed his place in eternity; and how awesome would that be if my prayers made an impact on his final dwelling place.
Any time we enter into a relationship with someone, we risk potential rejection. We have to ask ourselves, is it worth the risk. Is my desire to know this person more important than the potential risk of rejection? What do I have to lose? What do I have to gain?
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to lay myself bare before someone I had been in a relationship with in my 20’s, a relationship that ended too soon due to a rash decision on my part. This was a person I loved deeply, and I had never completely worked through my feelings for him. I was able to express my feelings and give him the opportunity to do the same. Unfortunately, he wasn’t in the same place I was, and there was nothing for him to say. I’m not sure if I was looking for closure or if I was looking for love, but it didn’t take long for the old feelings of rejection to surface. I realize now that the feelings I thought were there on a mutual level probably were never there to begin with; and I guess more than anything that makes me sad. Whereas I often long for what was, I am realizing perhaps the majority of it was just in my mind. Reality can really bite sometimes.
I tried explaining to my husband when he was home this past week that part of what I long for is to matter. I want to matter to someone. I want to matter to the world around me. I want to help people and make a difference in their lives. I wonder sometimes if perhaps I’m my own worst enemy. Have I let the rejection in my past prevent me from taking hold of the love of those around me? Do I have a tendency to reject myself and, due to a fear of more rejection from others, beat them to the draw so to speak by projecting rejection onto myself before they can do it?
We can let rejection define who we are, or we can ask God to open our eyes to Truth. It may be that there is something we need to change about ourselves, because our behavior is abrasive or repulsive to those around us. That conviction is necessary in order to make a change. On the other hand, it may be that there is something in the other person’s past that causes them to see us inaccurately. Then the problem isn’t with us; it’s with the other person. The best thing we can do in that case is pray (continue to be kind and considerate in the meantime).
I am learning that if a relationship is part of God’s plan for my life, it will come to pass. I am also learning that it isn’t so important what other people think about me; what’s important is what I think about myself and what God thinks about me. After all, I am blessed to be chosen by the King.
Wrapped in His embrace…
Dear LORD, when I am feeling rejected, help me remember that I am chosen by You. Remind me again that You love me. Wrap me in a holy hug and warm me with an extra measure of Your Spirit’s presence. I love you, LORD. Amen.