I went to a wedding the other day. Perhaps the best wedding I've ever been too (but I have a feeling I say that about every wedding I go to) either way- it was definitely in my top two!
This one was so very real, that's what I loved about it. The groom really was head over heals in love with his bride. Their vows weren't about the crowd. It wasn't about the photos... or the decor... or the cake, though all of those things were gorgeous. It was about love. The love that the couple had for each other. The love that Jesus had for all of us. And the love shared between the couple and the small group of honored guests that were invited to attend the celebration.
It felt like heaven and earth were hugging for those few hours, and I got to be right in the middle of it. :)
After the sun had set that evening, we all gathered in a small group to listen as musicians were invited to get up one by one and serenade us with their incredible abilities. The groom happens to be one of the greatest musicians I have ever heard, and he has 7 siblings that are all prodigies too, so you can imagine the quality of music we were able to enjoy. It was better than a concert I could have paid for.
I was sitting in the 3rd or 4th row- not that it affected my ability to hear or see, because there were only like 20 of us there. But in front of me were a couple of rows of beautiful single girls. Maybe ten of them were in my direct line of sight. And as I was sitting there, soaking in the lights, the music, and the beauty of the evening... I felt sad in my heart for these girls.
I didn't feel sad that they were single, because being single is a gift that sometimes, if I'm honest with you, I envy.
I felt sad because I know that sometimes weddings, even though they are completely wonderful, have a way of highlighting our own feelings of insecurity and loneliness. They can remind us of a deep desire to be in a relationship, or even to be married, and sometimes those reminders can be torturous. As I looked at these gorgeous girls sitting before me, I imagined the rejection that each of them may have faced so far in their young lives.
I knew a few of these young women personally, and I had heard their traumatic stories of loss and heart break... so that was definitely impacting my thought process. But even for the precious ones that I didn't know... I could imagine their stories, because I know my own story, and the stories of other girls in my life... and that filled me up with enough emotion that I was seriously considering walking up to the front, taking the microphone from the guy singing the love song, and giving these ladies some kind of motivational speech about how stinking valuable they were.
But instead I sat in my chair. Praying. And thinking about rejection.
Thankfully this little blog has become my own microphone and though I'm not always sure if anyone is listening, at least it satisfies my desire to get the words out.
So here's my "speech".
Rejection has a way of ruthlessly haunting us females.
Since we were little girls it has crept up on us and attempted to steal our security and sense of worth.
I know it too well. It plays out in different scenarios, but the outcome is all the same.
Parents divorce, one of them leaves, maybe they remarry, perhaps they even have more children and you are left trying to sort out why you feel so unwanted.
Third grade, the guys prefer to chase her- instead of you- around the playground, and despite everything you do to try and get their attention, nothing works.
Middle school. The guys make a list of every "hot girl" in your grade. You didn't make the list.
Or maybe you did. But even once you're on there, it doesn't stop. The guys proceed to rate every girl's features on a scale of 1-10. 10 being best, 1 being worst. Every "hot girl" is compared, and picked apart. Leaving you wondering where you fall in the eyes of others.
High school. Or even college. Still trying to recover from the past rejections, you look to relationships to redeem yourself and restore the value that you no longer see. You give ourself away. He breaks up with you. You begin again with someone else. He cheats. Or you cheat. By this time you've have gotten so mixed up, its hard to know what is right and wrong. Finally you find someone you are ready to fully invest in. You dream of marrying them... you plan life together... you give your body to them... everything. But then somehow it doesn't work. Or even when it does work you still battle feeling insignificant and valuable. You and him don't trust each other.
Or perhaps rejection crept in simply because you have been single your whole life. Or most of your adult life. And so you hear this thing inside of you that says 'no one will ever want me'. And every time you see others start relationships, or get married, it just confirms that lie that it will never happen to you.
When we are single we imagine this rejection thing will go away with marriage. Well dear ones, I'm here to tell you its not true. If it were true there wouldn't be so many affairs and divorces in our world.
And for me... I personally wish it were true. Because I'd have been free from this garbage for over 3 years now and I wouldn't still struggle so much hoping that guys view me as desirable, lovely, and wanted.
Rejection happens within friendships too. I was just sitting with a friend the other night who expressed to me that she believed that she was easy to forget. She believed that she was disposable, because she had a series of friends who expressed love to her when she was around, but as soon as she left they stopped talking to her, and never invited her out with them.
I'm hoping you are seeing what I see. Rejection is everywhere, affecting all of us, and convincing us of things that, if left alone too long, could lead to the end of us.
When we believe that we are rejected, and our value is left in the hands of other people, we are in a place of constantly striving to be enough. It drives us to change ourselves in order to be what we perceive other people want us to be. Or it manipulates us into being bitter, hardened people, that think we are protecting ourselves, but are really starving ourselves from the sweetness of deep relationships.
We are created to be whole. Rejection messes that up.
We can pretend to be whole for a while, but eventually the reality of our brokenness will come out in things like:
-constantly feeling disappointed in other people because of our own unrealistic expectations
-imagining that people are thinking things about us.. that they probably aren't actually thinking
-obsessing over where people are and who they are with (especially boyfriends) fearing that we may not have been invited
-being jealous over the successes of others... especially when it comes to their relationships
There are plenty more examples... I've probably lived a hundred of them.
We can go through life pretending that we don't have a problem with rejection. We can call it other things and disguise the condition as something else.
Like, "No I don't have issues trusting my boyfriend, its just that tonight he is being weird, so that's why I'm going crazy texting and calling him nonstop. I just want to be sure everything is okay."
"No, I don't think I'm overly needy. I'm just loyal. And most people don't get that. My heart is just bigger than most peoples'" It is probably true, your heart is big, but precious girl, you're swimming in a sea of rejection... and its time to ask for a life vest.
We were created to be whole. Rejection is not a state that we are meant to live in forever. Yes we may get rejected from time to time. But all of heaven wants to see us get free from that, and move into the awesome plans God has for us.
There is a vibrant, beautiful depth of life that we are missing when we allow ourselves to remain "rejected".
Because the fact is that many of us have been legitimately rejected. Its true. But God has the power to swoop into the most broken parts of our hearts and heal us, so we can be redeemed from those bad situations.
Isaiah 49:15 says,
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!"
That is God's heart for us, even when people closest to us reject us. Even when family, friends, loved ones... anyone... forgets us... we have a God that has never taken His eyes off of us. When we grasp that truth it has the power to set us free from the pain of even the deepest wounds.
In Him we can find healing, wholeness, and restoration.
In Him, we have everything we need.
Thank you for whoever you bring to read this blog post. Please will you heal them. Show them how you see them. Free them from whatever residue of rejection might be left on them and bring them to a place of wholeness. Please God fill them with faith in you, and please fill them with hope for the future. You love them so much, please help them to see it. Help me to see it too. We need you.
In your name, Amen.