Accepted in the Beloved
Overcoming Feelings of Rejection
This teaching on overcoming feelings of rejection is just one lesson of our free eCourse for personal transformation, 'Matters of the Heart.' All 24 lessons will be helpful to the person seeking restoration and freedom.
All scripture citations are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.
How to Escape the Pain
Traumatic experiences easily sow feelings of rejection within us, especially if these were sins of verbal, physical or sexual abuse directed against us. In fact every sin against us is a form of rejection, even the well-meaning, conditional love of parents and teachers who put their approval of us on a performance basis.
Although perfect love must at times reject behavior and attitudes that are not right, the person we are deep down is always loved by God. To be rejected (for who we are) by the looks, words or deeds of others is a tremendously painful, traumatic experience. We desperately want to find a way for overcoming feelings of rejection, but the true way that leads to life is narrow and hard to find; the broad way (which most take) leads to further entrapment and deeper pain.
Many people - the shy, the perfectionists, the exhibitionists, the high achievers - organize their whole lives around trying to avoid rejection by others, while seeking to gain their approvals. The math on this is terrible: Have you noticed that ten approvals can be easily wiped out by one rejection?
Sadly, the pain of possible rejection keeps millions hiding their true self from others (even from God), running from real intimacy, love and life into the safer, shallow waters of meaningless relationships and purposeless lives. Rejection is an ugly stronghold in the land promised to us that must be brought down!
Watch this short video about rejection on our YouTube channel.
Feeling rejected can be very lonely--unless you get interrupted by God!
Defeating Rejection God's Way
Begin wrapping your heart and your life around this astounding truth: Our Father will never reject or forsake us. From before the worlds were created He has loved us and desired us. We are secure in Him. This is the antidote for any rejection we feel (review The Father's Heart of Love). The Father's total and unalterable acceptance is the Fact upon which the joy of our new life is based: Because of His great love for us, He sent Jesus to the cross to atone for all of our sins and has even given His Spirit to help us believe in the grace He wants us to receive.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ & hellip; According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world & hellip; Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself & hellip; wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6 KJV
People, on the other hand, can and will reject and forsake us. Rejection by others is extremely painful to experience whenever we are secretly looking to other people to declare our worth to us. However, if our hearts had been established in God's love for us, as Jesus' was, we could have handled the pain of rejection every bit as well as He did.
Fortunately, it is never too late to learn! Let the pain of rejection that you have experienced drive you to fastening your heart on what God says about you, not on what people say. God's view of you is the truth that will set you free. Overcoming feelings of rejection means that you will have to fight to fall out of agreement with the compelling power of the enemy's beliefs about you.Learn to resist the lion's roar and the serpent's venom!
Considering what rejection is made of, it is no wonder that it is so painful to feel. So, what is rejection? These are its major parts:
1) It plays an integral role in all mental and emotional illness, since it is very damaging to our sense of self.
2) It is a terrible lie. There may be sin in us worth rejecting, but we are not sin and are never meant to be rejected (Separation from Sin).
3) It is a sin against us. God has commanded everyone to love and accept us as He does. He commands you to love and accept all of them, right? They are under the same command.
4) It is an evil spirit - one that delights to feel and express rejection in us and towards others.
5) It becomes our own sin of unbelief in God and idolatry of others, whenever we agree with it.
Did You Get that Last Point?
The sin of receiving rejection and agreeing with it is the real source of all the pain. The pain of being rejected hurts when it hits us, but holding on to it allows the torment to continue, like a 'death-grip' on an exposed electric wire that was touched while being improperly grounded. We need to learn how to let go and get better grounding!
Rejection can also open doors for the enemy to bring even more pain and problems upon us through the fear of man and through self-rejection (see Love Thyself!). How little did we realize that in seeking people's approvals, we were subtly being trained by an unseen enemy in the ways of idolatry. By trying to get our worth affirmed through others, rather than through God, we began making other people's opinions into a god to us.
Have we become 'addicted' to approval by others? Thank God, this is not held against us and we can begin to find freedom by recognizing sin as sin and turning from our idolatry of others' opinions to instead live by what God declares about us. Turning from that false god will leave us sorely lacking a sense of worth unless we can stir our faith to truly trust in and rely upon the acceptance our Father is giving us every moment of the day. It is here that we may encounter another problem - our unbelief in God and in what He has told us.
In any moment we could have joy, confidence, and assurance of acceptance imparted to us by our loving Father, but He gives it through our faith in His Word and not very often as a feeling. Faith is like an electric tool - it does little good unless it is plugged into a 'live' electrical current.We need to plug what we believe about God into the current of a living faith. To do this we may first have to confess that the sin of unbelief has been capturing our heart and learn to walk by faith, not feeling.
The truth is that the pain of rejection, as terrible as it is, can actually help us if we learn to let it turn us away from the wrong direction we keep trying to go with our hearts. All along, our hearts were only meant to be 'plugged in' to God. The pain of rejection is like touching a hot stove. Let's learn the lesson and turn away from what burns us and live by what gives life.
Why We're Such Easy Targets
There is a 'secret knowledge' that snares us. Rejection plays into a painful inner sense that already makes us feel insecure - the knowledge of indwelling sin. Even as children we may have known that something was wrong on the inside, though we would likely not have been able to articulate it.
The terrible truth about our fallenness is that for our sins and separation from God, we should all be rejected. Our sinfulness actually deserves hell - the ultimate rejection. Yet, this truth of who we are apart from Christ is meant to be swallowed up by the greater truth of the gospel: Jesus suffered rejection and abandonment by God on our behalf so that we would never have to experience it. The gospel liberates us from the torment of rejection - if we believe it with our whole heart.
Unchecked by a living faith, rejection creates unhealthy defense mechanisms. These failed coping strategies are ways of the fallen nature we may have used to defend ourselves against rejection when it happened to us, whether it was real or imagined. We may have been only half-aware or completely unaware of what we were doing - no doubt it seemed the best way to handle it at the time. Nevertheless, these ungodly patterns now imprison us behind walls that keep the lovely, New Creation side of ourselves from emerging. Choose to repent of and utterly reject these false coping patterns and you, too, will find youself overcoming feelings of rejection.
Did any of these strategies gain a strong hold on you?
Retreating like a turtle into its shell in order to avoid rejection. Remedy: Believe God for His acceptance of you, keep your eyes on Him and stay in the game.
2) Anger and hatred:
Rejecting others when hurt by rejection. Remedy: Forgive everyone from the heart and you won't be carrying around so much anger.
3) False identity:
Searching for an identity other than who we are in Christ. Remedy: Trust and obey Jesus so that the Holy Spirit can unfold your true personality.
Trying to avoid possible rejection by becoming 'bullet proof' against criticism. Beware: If you live by the approval of others, you will 'die' by their disapproval. Remedy: Fasten your heart to the grace that God covers you with, living under His leadership, not your own demands.
Rejection often leads to self-rejection, a deceptive and very destructive snare...
Become so good at receiving God's love,that acceptance from others is just a bonus!
Father, forgive me for holding out my heart to other people to declare my worth to me. You have declared Your unending love for me and my eternal worth to You by sending Jesus to the cross. Forgive me for letting other people's opinions matter to me more than Your own. I repent of and renounce all rejection I have ever taken on. It is not about what they did or said - it is all about my unwitting sin of holding on to it - and letting them be god to me. By an act of my will I am taking my heart back from others and giving it to You. May I only desire to see me through Your eyes. Thank You for Your steadfast love and acceptance. My heart is safe under the covering of Your perfect love and Your promise to never leave me or forsake me.
Read the rest of this article by taking our free eCourse or look it up in the Downloads section (Accepted in the Beloved).
Next Healing Lesson
Overcoming the stronghold of self-hatred and self-rejection
Interested in Going Deeper?
Don't just give these truths a 'head bob' - take our free eCourse for Healing. For further study and for help working these truths into your heart and life, see Accepted in the Beloved Part 2 (Head to Heart Guide 1). In all there are 24 Main Healing Lessons and 24 Head to Heart Guides to help you bring your heart to God and receive His Great Heart for you in return!