I love rejection.
Those are words no one says or at least no one voluntarily says in the middle of it.
Because rejection is horrible feeling. It makes you feel defeated, abandoned, and alone. You feel like you’ve been kicked in the gut. Maybe it’s not the physical taste of bile in your mouth, but you can’t help but have a sick feeling in your stomach. Unfortunately, it doesn’t disappear as quickly as spitting it out of your mouth. It lingers. It haunts. It creeps back in at the most inopportune times no matter how hard you try and fight it. No matter how many times you psych yourself up to get out of the funk, have people say “You’re better off without him or her,” or how far you stuff the hurt down, rejection can loom as an ominous cloud overhead for days on end.
I know this because I’ve lived it. I know this because it’s been an all too familiar refrain for the past 12 months. The same song, different verse.
And it hurts. It cuts to core of who I am. The words “You’re just not good enough” echo in the back of my head hidden amongst words of flattery and apology. It’s those words that hang over my head not the good ones. They are the ones I carry with me not the encouraging ones. They are the ones that occupy my thoughts not the true ones.
And I hate it.
Because you can say all the right words, you can use all the right clichés, you can do all the “right things” and you can smile and say “I’m okay,” but the truth is… you’re not. No matter how hard you try to “grin-and-bear-it” you heart is aching inside. And sometimes, no matter how many hugs, crying fests, or self pep-talks it just doesn’t help.
Now I know, as a Christian, you are supposed to lean on Jesus. I know He says He will be your strength. I know He is always there for you. I know He suffered more than I’ll ever suffer. I know He has felt the pain of rejection, humiliation, and abandonment 100 times over what I’ll ever experience. I know He understands what I’m feeling. I know He wants to use the situation to shape me into being more like Him.
I know all these things.
But, if I’m honest, I don’t always want to hear those answers. Because in moments of of hurt and pain I don’t want to hear the “right” answers. I don’t want to hear a pep-talk about how “There’s someone out there better for you.” I don’t want to hear “It’s all in God’s hands.” While they’re all true words and often meant to encourage and help pull you out of a rut, I don’t want to hear them.
All I want to hear is someone to say “Me too.”
Because it’s in those moments our loneliness finds a companion. It’s in those moments Jesus somehow takes on skin. It’s in those moments we see the Church embodying Christ. It’s in those moments we realize we’re not abandoned.
And what’s beautiful about those moments is that once we finally come out of the rut, once we’ve climbed out of the hole, once we’ve forgiven and begun to move on, we become the person who can comfort those who are in the place we were. We can offer words of encouragement not based on tired (albeit true) phrases but out of a deep empathy because we were there too. Because our hearts understand that pain, our souls understand that ache our spirit understands that groaning and we’re able to step in the midst of that situation and help someone else pick up the pieces and begin rebuilding. We begin to look like the hands and feet of Jesus rather than just parroting His words.
Sure, it’s horrible to be in the valley. Yes, it’s terrible to have to fight every day against the negative lies that hover in your head. Of course it hurts when someone tells you you’re not good enough. But on the other side of that pain, hurt, and abandonment, we find comfort. Not only from God, but from others. Not only for ourselves but for others.
And I wouldn’t wish the rejection I’ve walked through on anyone, but, in the meantime, I’ll choose to love it for the way it will one day be used.