Handling Rejection (Killing Insecurity Part 6)

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God chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He  predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will—to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves, Ephesians 1:4-6.

Rejection is something we all have to deal with in life. I have not met a person untouched by rejection. God deals with rejection daily, and I can assure you it does not feel good on His end either. He’s not destroyed by rejection, but it does touch His heart. Read about His relationship with the Isrealites. The old testament is filled with stories of God’s chosen people rejecting Him, building idols to worship instead of Him, complaining about Him, and walking away from Him. God knows intimately what it feels like to be rejected. He is rejected every day, all day. Many love Him, and many refuse Him.

In our own lives rejection comes in many forms. You apply for a job, they say “No.” You try to make a new friend, the person seems uninterested. You may have even put your heart out on the line only to have to other person say, “Not interested.” Your family may reject you. Your peers may reject you.

Rejection hurts. There are no cute quotes that make it feel better. It hurts. It hurts us to be rejected because as the picture shows above we often view rejection as the opposite of approval. Our minds may think, “This company did not approve of me. I was not good enough, my product/art/manuscript/design/ (fill in whatever you want) was not good enough, this person did not or does not want me. I am not valuable…” Or the response may be, “They don’t know what they are missing, I am awesome and they just can’t see it!Misplaced value makes rejection hurt so much more.

Here’s Key Number 1:

It is NOT always about you! God allows people to make choices. For the most part, people do what’s best for themselves. They are not thinking about you, your feelings, your heart, your ego. Most human beings assess a situation and say, “Will this benefit me? Is this good for me? Is this what I want? Is this what I need?” If the answer to those questions is no, guess what? You may be rejected.

The company that says no, isn’t always rejecting you as a person. You may not fit what they need or have not represented that you do fit what they need. The person who does not want to be your friend, may not have room for more friends or time for more friends or feel compatible with you. They may be going through a rough spot in life and can’t handle more relationships. The person who doesn’t want to date you or marry you, thank GOD they rejected you. Though it hurts up front, it’s so much better than a lifetime of hellish experiences with someone who doesn’t love or want you. To sum it up…it’s not always about you or me. People approve of what best suits themselves. I don’t know many people who sign up for relationships where they see no self benefit, employees that don’t fit what they need or want, or a mate who they cannot benefit from. Human are born self-focused and self-centered.

Here’s Key Number 2:

If you are in Christ, you are already approved of. Your value and worth does not come from what people say, think, feel about you, or how they treat you. God cannot lie. He calls you chosen, loved, and His beloved. It’s not about man’s opinions, it’s about God’s opinions. He determines where everyone will spend eternity.

If our worth is tied up in people’s approval we will never have joy. We will be destroyed by their criticism and rejection. Jesus was hated by people, yet completely approved of by the Father. We live from an already approved of state. So when rejection comes, we cling to our true identity and sense of worth in Christ.

Here’s Key Number 3:

God may be protecting you or have something better up the road. You’ve heard the phrase, “Rejection is God’s protection or redirection.” I agree that sometimes it is. There have been many situations in my own life where a door shut and I didn’t find out why until years later. I was SO thankful for God’s no.

God loves you. He will not give you anything or anyone that will destroy you or your relationship with Him. He also loves to bless His children. So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him, Matthew 7:11.

Final Thoughts:

Rejection will come. I’d love to tell you that everyone will love and adore you. The truth is, in this sinful world, that is not going to happen. Rejection can cause insecurity or it can be used as a tool. Sometimes we are rejected because we need to learn. Maybe that company needed someone with more experience or a particular skill set. Maybe our approach of people causes  them away to shy away. I don’t recommend too much introspection, as it can be dangerous. 🙂 I do recommend resting in an identity in Christ, finding worth in who God says we are, and if possible learning something from the experiences. Next post I will give you some examples from my own life and how God helped me navigate through them. You are and will always be DEEPLY loved!

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Power of Words

Great Post on the power of words…

She speaks with wisdom“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

…and there goes one of the most popular and well-known lies of all time.

The truth is no matter how much we pretend that words don’t hurt, no matter how hard we try to forget words that people spoke against us, no matter how confident and positive we try to be, when people put us down with their words, it hurts.

You see, the most powerful part of your body is that little tongue inside your mouth. Because what you do with that tongue can damage or help a person more than you know.

It is what you say with that little tongue that has power to bring death or life to a person. (Proverbs 18:21)

That can ruin or make someone’s day.

That can make or break a person.

That can heal a hurt or hurt…

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Surviving the Critics (Killing Insecurity Part 5)

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Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety,~Proverbs 29:25

One of the reasons people struggle with insecurity is due to being surrounded by critical people. God doesn’t want us to be insecure. The problem comes when you are bombarded with real life experiences with people who are curt with their tongue, critical, and some even abusive.  Here are some things I have learned along the way.

1. The way a person treats you or talks to you is a reflection of their heart.

It has nothing to do with you. You may be the target of the day or week, but the Bible says the mouth speaks what the heart is full of (Matthew 12:34). Someone who is rude or cruel to you is most likely rude or cruel to other people. We give what we possess. If there is no love or compassion in a person, they can not give it to you.

2. Insecure people are easily offended and often the greatest offenders.

When we are insecure with who we are, we put other people down.  When we love who we are, we  build others up. I had an old acquaintance who was constantly making fun of other people, one day as a side experiment I begin to lovingly tease her about something (not mean, cruel, or embarrassing,… just teasing). She became extremely offended and stormed off. She had spent the entire night making fun of others, but she couldn’t handle it being dished back. I don’t recommend my little experiment. I was at the time very annoyed she was picking on people. The right response would have been to pull her aside or ignore her. I mind less people picking on me, than to see them picking on other people, especially for things they can’t help (ie. being bald, or their ethnicity, etc…).

3. The criticism hurts the most where you are the most insecure.

If we are secure in Christ and confident, then the criticism doesn’t bother us as much. I had a secretary who was very critical. She would call me bald (though I have long, thick hair) or she’d call me pale, old, or critique my clothing. None of her comments bothered me.

I have found the hardest criticism to get over has come from being involved in ministry, mainly because I am young and learning along the way. Leaders are expected to be perfect, and I am not. Only God is perfect. You expect (though may not be a good idea) for Christians to be loving, encouraging (like God), helpful, supportive, to speak the truth in love (for redemptive purposes), and to want to see you be the best for Jesus. I’ve found there are people in church who will hate you without cause, speak negative words over your life, gossip about you, criticize your every move, question your motives, feel free to give you their opinions on who you should be, how you should live, etc…it takes thick skin to be involved in ministry and even Christian community. If you are not firmly secure in Christ, you will be destroyed by people.

So what do you do with the critics when they come?

  • Respond in love. It’s easy to retaliate and say, “Oh, you want to tell me about me. Let me tell you about you.” Don’t go there. Take the high road if you can. Sometimes you have to say to people, “You are being rude and disrespectful. When you can talk to me in an appropriate tone, then we can talk. ” Or ask them what the real problem is. Hurting people go around hurting other people. Though not easy, you don’t have to defend yourself. I had a lady from a church curse me out in a public restaurant, and I did not respond at all. I continued to walk in grace and love. That was hard, because I don’t like being called names and normally I would’ve defended myself. However, God is my defense. He’s yours too! Here’s a quote I love, “It’s not what people call you, it’s what you answer to that matters.” A gift is only yours if you take it. So let people keep their hatefulness. It doesn’t belong to you.
  • Measure what they say against God’s word and character. God speaks life. Even His correction is to lead to redemption, restoration, and to help us. Is the word leading you to a closer walk with Jesus? Is the feedback something you’d imagine God giving you? Do you leave the situation feeling like there’s hope or do you feel hopeless?
  • Take the criticism to God.  God sees the deepest parts of our hearts. He’s the best person to talk to about the criticism or negative words. “God is this true of me? If so help me.”  Whatever He says to throw in the garbage, pitch it!

I will say that there are constructive and helpful assessments that we should be open to. If you are headed off a cliff and someone yells, “Don’t jump, this isn’t a good decision,” it’s because they love you. Sometimes people get offended when they need corrected and someone genuinely tries to help them. We must be open to people providing feedback, but also take that feedback to God and measure it against His word. Feedback when it’s done right, helps us grow.

Don’t let people define who you are, God defines who you are. What He says about you is absolutely true! May we find our identity in Christ. It is the only secure identity and source of true confidence.

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Growing Up

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Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers, 3 John 1:2

Why is it important that we grow up and grow into the likeness of Christ? Because all of creation is groaning for the children of God to be who God created us to be. “Evil persists when good men and women do nothing.” As we become more intimate with Him, He restores order in us so that we become who we really are. There is no true identity apart from God. We are orphans without Him, without a clue and without a hope. It’s important that we become who we really are so the world can encounter Him. It’s not about us; it’s about bringing and establishing His Kingdom on the earth.

It’s easy in America to be a consumer. We go to church to be fed. We enter into relationships that make us feel good and give us something to do. We engage with God and sometimes others when we need or want something, for our culture celebrates selfishness. The goal of the enemy is to make us self-focused instead of God focused. There will be seasons where we need to retreat with God to be made whole and healed (ministered to), but He never intends for us to be selfish, or stay broken. He longs to heal us, restore us, and grow us into His likeness.

The world needs us to be the hands, feet, and mouth of Jesus. You and I may never enter into full-time ministry at a church, but we are full-time ambassadors for God. We bear His name. We are His workmanship. We were created for His glory. We are the salt and light. We can’t afford to not become who He created us to be. The world needs us to grow up.

The goal is growth (not perfection) and the goal is to prosper (flourish). God loves us whether we grow or not-His love is unconditional. However, no parent delights in changing a 40 year old’s diaper…you want your child to grow up and be the best they can be-for their sake. We suffer when we buck the correction, leading, and guidance of the Holy Spirit. And the people around us suffer. Our sin doesn’t just hurt us, it hurts others. When we are selfish we aren’t serving, helping, loving, or blessing anyone else. The entire Body of Christ was intended to love with the sacrificial love of Jesus; to love one another, to help each other, to serve one another, encourage each other, and to work together to represent Him. It wasn’t something only called out for certain people-it’s a call for every disciple of Jesus. We are all called to lay down our lives for one another; to love even our enemy which requires the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

How we get there?

The amazing part about growing up with God is that He does most of the hard work. Our role is to invest in relationship with Him, submit to Him, obey Him, and follow Him. We invite Him in to weed the garden of our souls. We listen. He leads, we follow. He is the source of growth and it doesn’t come from striving, it comes from abiding. We become like what we worship and as humans we are always worshipping something or someone. He calls us to worship Him, to put Him first in all things. He’s not screaming, “Get it together already!” He is perfect in patience. He’s cheering, “I want the world to see the beauty I placed in you! You were born to shine bright! You can do all things through Me. I am Your strength!” He’s encouraging us to come to Him, to go deeper, so we can be who we were created to be- a tremendous blessing to the world.

Final Prayer:

Papa I ask that we would invite You into the garden of our souls to pull up everything that will not produce good fruit. May we submit to Your correction and direction. May we forgive, for bitterness destroys our souls and damages our relationship with You. May we surrender lies we believe that prevent us from fulfilling our divine destiny. May we cast any and all idols at your feet (things we worship and want more than You). Reveal Your truth about the condition of our hearts and souls. May we come boldly to You; to know You, to love You, to be taught by You, and most importantly to be loved by You. Use us to change the world. The world needs Jesus; may we daily find ways to bring light into the darkness! We love and thank You. In Jesus name, Amen.

If we prosper, everyone around us can prosper too! It’s about allowing the world to see how GREAT is our God! Have a blessed and wonderful day.

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