I’ve had people tell me – maybe they assume because I write my feelings and stories into the abyss-of-a-universe – that “I must have a million friends” or “I’m sure you’re surrounded,” and kind words along those lines. Bless.
Don’t get me wrong. I do have friends. Whom I cannot live without. But I feel compelled to share a confession of sorts, some real-time heart stuff, habits I’m noticing and asking God to heal from the inside out.
I also know what it’s like to be rejected. By people I respect. By friends. By people I want to be friends with. By family. By souls who love Jesus. Our family has been shut out of circles. As a couple, we’ve met a stiff hand.
Heck, I’m sure you have too.
We are no strangers to the aching pain rejection can trigger.
And in my brokenness, I’ve gotten comfortable putting up protective guards when people show genuine interest in me because a small voice whispers deep, ‘When they actually get to know you, they will reject you.’ So I bite my lip, and keep the conversation at the water line. I push down all the eager buzz to shriek and ask and hug. Instead, I resemble a junior higher standing at the gymnasium perimeter, eyeing the cute boy but acting aloof.
Recently Bry and I met a fun couple. They are cool. Like really cool. And they asked about us. They laughed with us. They prayed for us, and continued seeking us out.
And we’re over here, wondering, “What in the world is going on? Why do they want to hang out with us? I mean, they’re so cool.”
And the wife would text me and I’d casually wait a few minutes before responding so I didn’t appear like an over-eager child asking for a playdate. Ya know, no big deal status.
Heaven forbid I come across super zealous or reciprocate the care.
And I realize this is where I’ve shot myself in the foot, where I’ve sabotaged relationships. In my fear of being rejected, I reject. In my desire to be close, I’ve gotten scared and haven’t responded in the genuine way my heart backs. Somewhere along the past few years since dad passed, I’ve become a more stripped-to-the-core human, a less hustly, refuse-to-perform-to-be-loved individual. At times I’ve defaulted to isolation because it’s just too.dang.painful to be rejected. Again.
Do you know what I’m talking about?
Have you put yourself out there and been overlooked? Not chosen? Walked past only to notice the person standing next to you being sough out? It stings. It pulls at emotional wounds from early on and brands them front and center on your heart.
This couple, they’ve been Jesus to us. They’ve literally been tangible eyes and welcoming hands and encouraging texts and curious questions and laughter in the form of the Almighty to our hurting souls. They’ve chosen us. And after being with them recently, we hugged goodbye and as they drove home, we admitted how self-critical we’d become. “How sad,” we realized, “that we’ve been starving for relationships who pursue us, and when they do, we doubt them. We question their genuineness.”
Something is wrong when we believe we are not worth being pursued. Chosen. Reached out to, or asked about.
And I’m terrified to be vulnerable and risk opening myself up, only to be rejected again. But I find something else growing. Hope. A desire to hope. To believe. To receive. To trust. To be enjoyed. To be seen. All of me. Not just the protective layers.
And even though I want to pep-talk myself into building high walls and appearing like I have it together, another fragile layer wants to shout from the rooftop, “I know rejection but it’s not my identity. I have worth simply because the Spirit of the Lord lives within me.”
Healing begins with vulnerable risk.
The risk of being demonstrative and honest and silly.
The risk of being open and fragile and human.
Healing invites a perspective shift from me to He.
So I guess if there were a Rejection’s Anonymous, at some point in the meeting I’d stand and say, “Don’t judge a book by its’ cover. I’m Bekah and I need to be pursued. And I’m promising to pursue you back. You’ve been warned.”
Slowly I’m being restored to wholeness. It’s freaking scary work. But I’ve never felt more at peace.