Growing Up Rejection: Finding Freedom from Fear of Rejection

I remember we were riding in the car on the way to a friend’s birthday party, maybe I was 11 or 12. My dad starts talking, he taught me a very important lesson that day. He told me to include everybody. He said “No one likes to feel left out. Make every girl there feel welcomed, invited, and part of the party.”

I’m not sure what prompted that from my dad. He knows people really well, he’s very much a people person. He taught me that people like to talk about themselves most of all. To this day whenever I find myself in a new group of people I ask them about themselves. He definitely trained me in his ways that day, going to the birthday party. What truth he imparted! 

Being challenged by my dad to include everyone really made an impact. From that point on, I had an eye for girls in my environment who looked left out. I was homeschooled so I already didn’t fit in with my youth group which seemed pretty segregated by school community. So I became the ringleader for those of us who didn’t belong. Ever since that birthday party, I wanted everyone to feel that they belonged. I saw the sharp pain of rejection all around me and sought to remedy it.

Fast forward . . . Years later . . .

The other day I was watching a video series called “Say Something” with Kay Wyma and Friends, watch it here.

She had Lysa TerKeurst and her other author friends around her kitchen table discussing rejection and Lysa’s new book Uninvited:  Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely. Someone pulled this quote from her book, “Live from the abundant place that you are loved and you won’t find yourself begging others for scraps of love.”

BOOM!

Scraps of love, tidbits of affirmation . . . If my social media feed had a theme it might be THAT.

Think about it:  Let me just put out this picture of my cute kids doing something mundane and see how many “Likes” it gets. I’m going to tell all the world something funny I thought of today and see who comments.

It’s like we are all shouting out loud: Who will affirm me out there?

Who will tell me I’m funny, smart, pretty, etc . . .?

Who will say my kids are cute?

We want scraps of love from anyone who will offer them down to us, like dogs at the kitchen table.

Why Are We So Desperate for Affirmation?

What are we doing?! What happened to making everyone feel welcome, invited, and part of the party? How did I shift from including everyone to begging to fit in, belong, be part of the cool kids team of Facebookers who portray only their best life?

Lysa quoted from her book, “We are either trying to heal from a past rejection, we’re trying to deal with a present day rejection or we’re fearing an unexpected rejection might be just around the corner.” Oh goodness, that’s it right there!

So much of what I portray in my cyber reality is to prevent any future rejection. If I can show the world that I am busy doing fun things, perfectly content to raise “A-Okay” children who always behave, and while I’m at it, look tan and fit doing it. Well, who could reject me then? With whom wouldn’t I fit in? Everyone would want to be my friend.

How have I stumbled so far from the simple truth my dad taught me so many years ago?

Of course I don’t have to live life like this. These are symptoms of a heart that is not satisfied by God’s great, deep love for us, his broken daughters. When I let God’s truth about me sink in–the reason I was put here with this man, this family, this city, this place in time– I can stop comparing with other women on social media. I turn my gaze from all the ways I feel left out to all the ways I am uniquely blessed and BAM! Back to the beginning. Boosted in confidence by my ever-loving Creator God, I do not fear stepping out and reaching out to lonely women who feel like they don’t belong.

Together, we can stave off rejection for one woman at a time!

Have you ever experienced online rejection? What does rejection look like on social media? I have been unfriended. It stings! If feels like I’m being rejected out of her life, out of the community I used to have with her. I’m going to let it motivate me to be even more inclusive.

The pain of rejection lingers all around us. As mothers, wives, women, Christ followers, we are not promised popularity. We are not promised to be the center of attention. Nope, we are called to be servants to all–to put everyone else’s needs before our own. What humility! Maybe then, when I have spent all on loving others, making everyone else feel included, maybe then I’ll be too tired to care whether I was invited to the “It” party of the year.

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Esther V PhotoEsther is a recovering perfectionist who lives in Dallas, TX with her husband of four years, Riqui, their two boys, preschooler Emory and baby Elio. She revels in God’s grace and attempts to dish it out to everyone in her life. And she loves to cook and grocery shop. Read Esther’s posts here.

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