We all want to be chosen for that job or that award or to be that friend. To be deemed not good enough or not wanted hurts. And the pain is even deeper if we are not wanted anymore because we are replaced by someone else, especially when we have invested so much of ourselves into that job or product or person. Rejection feeds into our insecurities and doubts.
What makes matters harder is that there is often little we can do to change it. The choice is not ours, but we must deal with the aftermath, pick up the pieces, and move on.
The best book I have read regarding the subject of rejection is Lysa Terkeurst’s Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely.
I won’t try to summarize what she says as each chapter and each page are full of wonderful insights, and I encourage everyone to read the book, for everyone can come away with something to help themselves or others.
But two points she makes have stayed with me in particular. The first was that rejection does not mean worthless. We must ground ourselves not in what others think of us, but in what God thinks of us. She says, “We’re all desperate to anchor our souls to something we can trust won’t change. . . . [But] things of this world all reveal what incapable anchors they really are. . . . My identity must be anchored to the truth of who God is and who He is to me. Only then can I find a stability beyond what my feelings will ever allow.”
The second point is that she believes “there is usually some element of protection wrapped in every rejection.” God in his mercy allows rejection into our lives to protect us. Protection perhaps from a harmful, undesirable, or ungodly, situation, environment, or relationship, or perhaps something else. We may never know, but we do know that God is good, and He is merciful.
Yes, there are things we can learn about ourselves through our rejections, things we might need to work on and change. But we must never let rejection define our value. Our value was determined when God uniquely created each one of us. The God who said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5). The same God who “so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16). The same Son who himself was rejected by man (Isaiah 53:3).
So if each of us truly believes, as Lysa says, that God is good; that He is good to me; and that I trust God to be God, then she tells us (and shows us how in her book) to “Live from the abundant place that you are loved, and you won’t find yourself begging others for scraps of love.”
TerKeurst, Lysa. Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely. Nelson Books: 2016, Kindle edition.