Reframing Rejection

I’ve dealt with rejection all of my life, and while it often leaves a bitter aftertaste in my mouth; somehow, I have managed to keep it from turning my heart tart.

We’ve all seen it depicted in film. There’s a group of kids huddled up in a circle, and one kid is left jumping on the outside or having to crawl in-between legs because no one thinks enough of him to give him a space in their little, private world. While I’ve never been excluded from a kickball game or pushed out by a group of mean girls, I have oftentimes felt very alone–even among a sea of folk. Maybe it’s them. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s the guard I have put on my heart after being misunderstood, mistreated or rejected after choosing the risk of trusting someone. This is how I learned that rejection can be uncomfortable and unsettling if it’s not framed properly.

Whether it was a toxic relationship with men who chose other women over me (rejection), or a “friend”ship where my love and affection was swatted by a person who only wanted to knock me low (rejection), or whether it was publishing companies telling me that my work wasn’t good enough (rejection), or whether it was folks deliberately ignoring my work and my worth (rejection), it all had purpose. No matter how much it hurt at the time, it has ALWAYS worked together for my good.

Over time, I have learned that rejection isn’t always something to be mourned and lamented. I’ve learned that it’s not tied to my worth or my value. It’s not a true measure of where I am going because God has already settled that over my life. Rejection (even though what I am about to say is cliche’) is protection.

If you are like me, you tend to hold onto people long after you should have let them go. There is sign after sign that your relationship has run it’s course; they are constantly rejecting your love or your efforts and instead of thanking them for the time you spent and moving on, you hold on to them and a bit of bitterness that grows heavy and sags. It weighs you down and ironically, it causes you to reject others who may be purer with truer intentions.

If you are like me, you also probably ask why you don’t fit in. No matter how hard you try, there is something different about you that can’t connect with just anybody. You feel uncomfortable and odd among others. I mean, you enjoy short-lived moments together, but it rarely translates into a lifetime thing.

You know what I have learned?

I have learned that when you are on a journey, you pack light. You carry only what you can tote on your back and in your hand. That’s it. No more. No less. There is no room for anything that is non-essential. Drama. Hurt. Betrayal. Distraction. None of that can go with you. I mean it can, but you end up starving on the journey because you don’t have any room to pack nourishment and sustenance.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think the Lord knows that if I found just the right group in just the right environment, I would sit and stay too long, forgetting about my journey and my assignment. I need to remember that I’m going somewhere.

Now, this doesn’t mean we live life void of relationships or authentic connections. That doesn’t mean we remain loners for a lifetime. What that does mean is that seasons change, and we can expect relationships do the same. That means some will take a few steps with you in your journey, while some will go all the way. The challenge is to see value in the one (or the ones) who go all the way. Quality will always override quantity, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Rejection will hit all of our doorsteps in this lifetime, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have value. It just means that those doing the rejection were not designed to be a part of the journey at all or for long, and that, my friends, is okay.

I promise you that I hold my head a little higher now that I realize two things: God has chosen me, and I have chosen myself. Anybody else choosing me is just a cherry on top. It’s cute, but not necessary for the journey.

I wish you all love, peace, prosperity, and, of course, genuine folk for your journey!

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