Rejection — it’s inevitable. Sooner or later, every one of us will experience it. Some of us, more than once. And every time it happens, we can’t help but ask ourselves some questions. Usually the first question is Why? Then come the thoughts we rehearse over and over, replaying that moment of rejection … wishing we’d asked more questions or said less in response. Sometimes we wonder for weeks, What did I do wrong? Often we think, What can I do to fix this? How can I get him or her to accept me again?
Rejection typically leads to one of three responses. We will …
- Reject the person who rejected us.
- Reject others we think are like the person who rejected us.
- Reject ourselves.
- Reject God.
Rejection engages our emotions to respond in hurt and carry offense.
Our thoughts determine our beliefs, and our beliefs impact our responses and actions. It all starts in the mind. When we rehearse what the other person did to reject us, then we have begun the process of solidifying a belief into an offense. Offense leads to resentment, resentment to anger and anger to hatred. Obsessive thinking builds a case and often becomes justification to punish others for their actions. Many of the tragic stories we hear about involving abuse, violence, murder — stem from rejection and are fueled by obsessive thinking.
It’s vital that we gain control over our thoughts — which puts us in control of our actions. When rejection is from a family member or someone we are in a serious relationship with, it’s hard to move on right away. The level of pain is often tied to the level of commitment. If we have been deeply invested, it is hard to move forward without looking back. In fact, it’s such an intense experience that the brain feels emotional pain the same as physical pain. (Psychology Today)
Thinking differently engages the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
God gives us the key to overcoming negative thoughts in response to rejection: prayer. Philippians 4:7 says when we pray, we will experience “… the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Romans 12:2 says we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds; by discerning the will of God we will know what is good and perfect. God made sure to tell us how important it is to guard and renew our minds. By submitting our will to God’s will through prayer, we will have a renewal of peace.
What do prayer and renewing our minds in the midst of rejection look like?
You will be rejected again — but it doesn’t have to hurt.
Great news, right? But when you can learn how to overcome rejection, you won’t respond with so much hurt the next time. Knowing that what someone meant as rejection, God meant as protection, is freeing.
Jesus experienced the worst kind of rejection by His friend Judas and the leaders of His day. Rejection even to death. But that very rejection is what allows us to overcome the real enemy. Remember, your real enemy isn’t the person who rejected you. Don’t let the enemy lie and say that person is the problem. In fact, it may be God who is protecting you and making sure you get His very best.
Feelings are real — but they’re not always truthful.
That can be confusing because feelings run deep and it’s hard to think differently than our feelings. But we can do it with the help of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible indicates that we are three-part beings: spirit, soul and body. In other words, we are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a physical body. God comes to live in our spirit, and the soul is comprised of our mind, will and emotions. And that’s where the battle lies. Although emotions aren’t bad, they’re not always a reflection of what God thinks. Isaiah 55:9 tells us, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” We need to line our thoughts up with God’s thoughts.
Overcome the enemy of your soul with the Spirit of Truth. Don’t let your emotions tell you what is true. Ask God what He thinks of the situation, then wait for an answer. As you read His Word, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what God wants you to see. Once you know His thoughts, you can commit to think like God. Rehearse His Word in your mind.
Words have power — but only you can say them.
Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Once you know the right thing to think from God, then declare it out loud.
If someone told you, “You’re never going to be married because you are so horrible,” then speak the opposite from God’s Word — to yourself. It may sound like this: “I am wonderfully and fearfully made. I am going from glory to glory and God will bring me someone who sees me as the gift that I am.” And then bless the very person who rejected you. “But I say love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Bless that person in prayer and watch the enemy lose his hold. Your pain will leave, and the enemy will be defeated by your love!
By applying God’s Word, overcoming rejection will be a shorter process than it has been in the past. You can have the life God meant for you to live. You can walk free of the enemy’s lies and enjoy the Christ-life by getting rid of the thoughts that have kept you bound! Line up your thoughts and your words with God’s Word … your emotions will follow and you will have the joy of the Lord deep in your soul.