Rejection is inevitable. It happens to all of us at some point in our lives. When we get rejected we can’t help but stop and ask ourselves some questions. The first question we usually ask is “Why?”
Then come the thoughts that we rehearse over and over again. We replay that moment of rejection, wishing we’d asked more questions or said less in response. Often we wonder for weeks, “What did I do wrong?” Sometimes we think, “What can I do to get them to accept me again?”
When we are rejected we tend to do one of three things:
- Reject the person who rejected us.
- Reject others we think are like the person who rejected us.
- Reject ourselves.
Rejection engages our emotions to respond in hurt and carry offense.
Our thoughts about rejection determine what we believe and ultimately what we do in response to the hurt. But 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. This is what so many tragic shootings stem from — hatred develops after obsessive thinking becomes justification for an offense to punish others for their 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.
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 renewal 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 the will of God through prayer, we will have a renewal of peace. Goodbye feelings of rejection!
What do prayer and renewing our minds in the midst of rejection actually look like?
Remember these three things:
You will be rejected again!
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 you to overcome the real enemy. Remember that 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 and yet are not always truth.
That can be confusing because you feel it so deeply that it’s hard to think differently than your feelings. The Bible says that we are made up of a soul: body, mind and emotions. Although emotions aren’t bad, they aren’t always a reflection of what God thinks. And that is what matters. 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 the Word, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what God wants you to see. Your feelings should align with God’s feelings. Once you know His thoughts you can commit to think like God. Now you are rehearsing His word in your mind. Renewal will come and you’ll find peace.
Words have the power to keep you stuck in rejection or help you overcome.
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 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 that 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. Go as far as blessing them in prayer, and watch the enemy lose his hold. Your pain will leave, and the enemy will be defeated by your love!
Overcoming rejection can be a shorter process than it has been in the past. You can have the life you were meant to live by getting rid of the thoughts that keep you bound to the lies of the enemy, and stepping into freedom to think like Christ. Your emotions will follow suit, and you will have the joy of the Lord deep in your soul.