Have you ever felt rejected? I have. When we are not accepted by family members, friends, or colleagues we may experience rejection. For example, when a dad is too busy to give attention to his daughter, she may experience feelings of worthlessness.
When a mother favors one child over another who is prettier or smarter, the unfavored child may feel helpless and unworthy. When we are not selected as part of a team or we are passed up for a promotion at work or friends make fun of us because we are too thin or too fat, we may question our worth and value. When a spouse leaves the marriage for another person, the abandoned spouse may feel lost and rejected.
No matter the cause, rejection is deeply painful and it leaves us feeling less than when we are not chosen to be part of the team. It is not unusual to agree with the negative labels of rejecters and embrace the feelings of being unwanted or inferior.
How do I respond if people reject me? Should I permit their label to stick for the rest of my life?
Let me tell you about Leah, a woman who experienced the pain of rejection from her father, sister and husband. Leah was the oldest daughter of Laban. She was not as attractive as her younger sister Rachel. The records suggest that she had “a weak eye.” Her story is recorded in Genesis 29:15-35.
Back in the day, a father was responsible for finding a husband for his daughter. However, Laban didn’t think highly of Leah’s prospects so he did not even try to find her a husband. He promised Jacob that he could marry Rachel. But instead of keeping his promise, he used deception and manipulation to marry Leah off to Jacob like some damaged goods. To make matters worse when Jacob found out that he had been deceived into marrying Leah instead of Rachel, he was furious. He looked at Leah with distaste. Laban’s actions showed that he did not respect Leah.
Leah did not deserve to be rejected largely because of the way she looked. No one saw her inner beauty or character. Rejection is not only harmful, it destroys peace, harmony and love in relationships.
How do you think Leah saw herself?
Unloved, Unwanted and Unworthy.
However, God took notice of her. He affirmed her by allowing her to have children. Her journey towards accepting the reality of her situation and embracing God’s love is reflected in the names she gave her sons. She named her first son Reuben, which means the Lord has seen my misery, my husband will love me now. The second son, she named Simeon meaning, the One who hears, because the Lord heard that I am not loved. Her third son’s name Levi means, now my husband will become attached to me. Then she gave birth to a fourth son and she named him Judah, which means, this time I will praise the Lord.
Leah longed for love and acceptance so she confessed these feelings to God through these names. Her awareness of God gave her strength to endure the painful circumstances. With time, she accepted her situation and embraced God’s love for her. She made an important shift in her focus from pain to praise. Her focus on God gave her a sense of self-worth and value.
Like Leah, I am familiar with the pain of rejection. From my experience, rejecters often struggle with their own pain and insecurities which they project on others. However, I have learned that there is no need to waste time and energy trying to make another person change or like me. Friend, let this sink in.
The problem is not yours.
You are not at fault.
You are not unworthy because someone rejects you.
To overcome rejection, choose to give up unrealistic expectations and embrace the truth of who God says you are. Your mom or dad may never love you, like you want. Your spouse may be unable to share the deep intimacy you desire because he is afraid to let down the walls of protection around himself. Your adult children may resent you. According to the psalmist, Though, my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Psalm 27:10
We don’t need to tell our stories for pity however, like Leah, we too need to shift our focus from the emotional pain of rejection to acceptance of God’s love. His acceptance gives us value and a sense of self-worth. He accepts us unconditionally. We are chosen, accepted, blessed, forgiven, lavishly loved and approved.
Friend, let us refuse to allow those who reject us to put a price tag on us. You and I are worth so much to God that he sent his son to die so we could be saved.
Jacob chose Rachel
God Chose Leah
Leah found acceptance, value and contentment in God.
To overcome rejection, we too must focus on God’s character and our identity in Him.
Prayer: Father, thank you for taking away the sting of rejection, for reminding me that you love me unconditionally, and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you for the gift of my identity, value and self-worth in you. Amen.
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the spiritual blessings that Christ has brought us from heaven! Before the world was created, God had Christ choose us to live with him and to be his holy and innocent and loving people. God was kind and decided that Christ would choose us to be God’s own adopted children. God was very kind to us because of the Son he dearly loves, and so we should praise God. Ephesians 1:3-6 CEV