The roots for our fear of rejection start with childhood experiences. They can stem from something deplorable such as parents constantly belittling their children or perhaps from what some might consider minor such as being chosen last when captains pick teams in the school yard. (Those who consider it minor have obviously never been chosen last for anything.)
Eventually we feel like failures when we are turned down for dates, don’t get asked to dance, don’t get into the college of our choice, don’t get the job we want, don’t place in the contest, don’t receive the promotion, don’t win the election, or a loved one leaves us for another. Most of us writers have more rejection slips than pay stubs for manuscripts we’ve submitted to editors.
If we let it, rejection will sap our courage, immobilize us and keep us from pursuing our dreams. Fear of rejection can cause us to focus more on the approval of others than doing what is right, giving manipulative people the power to control us. Sadly this fear of rejection can become a motivating factor in daily decisions. Building walls of protection around ourselves, we determine not to get hurt again. Most spend their lives trying to avoid rejection rather than learning to deal with it.
Unfortunately there are no courses on “How to Bounce Back 101” so we travel life’s highway feeling unwanted and unloved. Rejection’s influence feeds into the lies Satan would have us believe like: we are alone, we aren’t good enough, no one cares, and God has forsaken us.
The Bible is full of stories of rejection. Joseph was rejected by his brothers (Genesis 37). Moses was rejected by those he put himself in jeopardy to help (Exodus 2:14). God was rejected by the Israelites who wanted a physical king like other nations (1 Samuel 10:19). David was rejected by King Saul although he was Saul’s loyal servant (1 Samuel 18:7-11). Paul was rejected, stoned and left for dead by those to whom he preached (Acts 14:19-20). John Mark was rejected by Paul (Acts 15:36-41).
No one is immune from rejection – not even Jesus Christ. Jesus was rejected by those in his hometown (Matthew 13:54-58), by many of his disciples (John 6:60), and by those he came to save (Isaiah 53:3). He was the cornerstone of salvation and was rejected (Matthew 21:42).
Perhaps this is why in God’s plan of salvation everyone is accepted (Acts 10:34). No one is unloved or unwanted. God loved us from the beginning. While we were sinners he died for us (Romans 5:6-11). So God wants us and loves us just the way we are. Of course, we might want to make a few changes but not so we can earn God’s love because we already have that. God does not want anyone to feel inferior. We are automatically part of the in-crowd, on the team, chosen, winners, and loved.
God sees us as beautiful and worthy of his attention. And it’s his opinion that really counts – not the opinion of others or even our own opinion of ourselves. God asks us to dance and all we have to say is, “Yes!” That’s the catch, you see. We have the power to reject God. We are the ones who must say, “Yes!” He will not force himself upon us.
God’s invitation to us is always there, but we must say, “Yes!” And if we do, we will never have to feel alone or rejected again (Hebrews 13:5).