Overcoming Rejection

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I told you I would post some personal experiences with rejection to hopefully inspire you to press on.

Family:

Before I was even born, I was rejected by my biological father and his family. My parents were married, yet my father didn’t want kids at the time. He had his own dreams he wanted to pursue. Being tied down to a family wasn’t in his plan. So when my mom was eight months pregnant with me she came home one day to an empty house.

I didn’t see him again until I was 16. I went looking for him. He hadn’t told his new family about me.

I will say that was the hardest to get over. It took God’s help, loads of forgiveness, and I grieved his actions for a long time. God gave me a new set of parents as an infant; they gave me more love than I could imagine. God did me a huge favor in setting up my adoption.

Peers:

As a kid the only friends I truly had were my adopted parents and cousins. I never fit in with other children. My mum used to say, “Erin you have the heart of a child, the soul of an old lady.” I’m an introvert, who did not enjoy socializing with other kids. And it’s true, as an adult I get along really well with children and the elderly. I’ve never truly fit in with my peers. I’ve encountered rejection due to my ethnicity (experienced racism living in the south), my personality (I’m too direct or too happy), or for reasons that made no sense to me.

I learned through the rejection of my peers to be friends with God and to have compassion for people who are different from me. I learned to appreciate people who treat me well and the good friends I do have. Lessons I’m glad I learned.

Church:

In church I’ve experienced rejection from people who have said I make them feel bad about who they are because I’m quite serious about all things pertaining to Jesus. Ironic, but true.

I won’t change or alter my passion for the One who died for me. I love Him. Jesus died for me so I could live for Him. I am more careful in what I share and how I share. If people don’t want to hear the Gospel, you love them and let it be. Learning to share only what God leads me to share.

Being a Scientist:

In engineering, I’ve been rejected by some colleagues based on my age (too young to supervise older people) or based on my gender. A young woman leading men isn’t always well received either. Luckily my current employer has zero tolerance for discrimination, and I’m able to do my job in a pretty pleasant atmosphere.

I’ve learned and am learning to not base my worth, or value on the opinions of people. If you live by the praises or approval of people, you’ll be destroyed by their criticism.

When the insults come, I can boldly say, “Your opinions don’t define who I am. God does.”

Closing Thoughts:

All of my experiences, too many to post here, have taught me seek God for worth, identity, and friendship. He grows even bigger when the world treats you poorly. He is home. He is the one place I fit, and I never feel different, or alone. He is my safe place. He heals any wounds in our hearts. We can trust if something or someone is good for us, God will make it happen. If not, thank God for closed doors.

You, my friend, will encounter people who dislike you without cause, Jesus did. You may be judged, mistreated, talked about, or verbally abused. Stand in your God given identity as a child of God. He will change what needs changed in your life if you’re linked to Him. Stick close to Jesus. Live loved.

How people treat you is a reflection of what’s going on in their heart. Pray for others, and don’t let them steal your JOY! Shine on! You’re here for a divine purpose. ūüôā You are deeply loved!

You were born an original, don’t die a copy.

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The Trap of Success (Killing Insecurity Part 3)

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Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were doing it for God rather than for people,~Colossians 3:23.

We live in a world that measures success by the amount of money a person makes, their possessions, their academic achievements (the highest GPA, or degrees), their intelligence (IQ), their ability to play a sport well, their performance (the best singer, dancer, actor or actress), their ministry (is it growing? is it big? how many people have been impacted?), or even their ability to have a great marriage or great kids. Our world measures success very differently than God does. We base success on externals. God looks at the heart and whether or not we are faithful. Faithfulness is important to God. Winning is something we value.

Faithful (definition):

1. thorough in the performance of duty: a faithful worker. 2. true to one’s word, promises, vows, etc. 3. steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant: faithful friends. 4. reliable, trusted, or believed. 5. adhering or true to fact, a standard, or an original; accurate: a faithful account; a faithful copy.

Let’s investigate this trap….

I. Our worth is based on what we can do (how well we do things) or what we do (are we the best at what we do) or what we have (I’ve achieved so much). If we are finding security in what we can do, what we do, or what we have, then our foundation is as shaky as shifting sands. There will always be someone¬† who has more, can do more…and if our esteem is rooted in those things we will either spend our lives striving for success, competing with others, looking down on people who we don’t perceive are as good as we think we are, or feeling insecure because we are not as successful as we think we should be.

The problem:

  • If our worth is rooted in our ability to succeed, it promotes pride. If we succeed, we pat ourselves on the back and inflate our ego. If we fail (by our standards or the world’s), then we fall into self-pity and shame. We keep striving to be better for our ego. It’s not about being faithful to whatever God calls us to do, it’s about succeeding at whatever we set our minds to do. We are not what we do. We become addicted to success so we can feel good about ourselves or establish identity.

The solution:

  • An identity rooted in Christ. Our worth is not determined by what we can do or accomplish. We are valuable because God says that we are. If we know who we are in Him, we will be lead to excellence for His glory, not success for our ego. People in the Bible had flaws, moral failures, made mistakes, and God still used them. He looked at the heart, qualified the unqualified, restored the broken, and rewarded faithfulness.

II. Our self built monuments are not as valuable as we think. We can build quite a monument for ourselves. And if we have no monument for our achievements, we have a monuments of shame for what we haven’t accomplished.

The problem:

  • The focus is us and not God. Everything we can do is because He enables us to do them. If He spoke to end our lives, He could do so. Everything in the Universe is held together by an awesome God. If there is greatness in us, it’s because He is great. Our monuments of glory or shame are worthless in comparison to who He is.

The solution:

  • Acknowledging everything we do is only because of Him. Giving Him the credit for the good things in our lives. Thanking Him for we can do nothing without Him. Even those who don’t know Him are alive and gifted because He allows it. The gifts, talents, skills, and intelligence are given by Him.

God is not opposed to higher education; excellence in craftsmanship, talent or skill. He wants us to steward gifts given by Him. The goal is not to find our value in what we do or success at what we do. If we do, then it promotes insecurity. Money can be lost, marriages can fail, children can disappoint you, a head injury could destroy mental capabilities, jobs can be lost, and if success is what motivates us-then we will bail when we’re not successful or be miserable.

Testimony:

I’ve been fortunate to be placed in situations where God called me to be faithful, but in my eyes and the eyes of others there was not success. I devoted 7 years to leading Bible studies and home groups. Looking back on some of those years I felt like a failure or there were moments I felt it was a waste of time. People would show up sometimes and other times they wouldn’t. You’d prepare a teaching or worship and people would be on their smartphones texting, chatting with each other, or disinterested. You’d pour into people and have them tell you they didn’t want to be pointed to the truth of the Gospel. You’d pray and things would get worse. Finally God spoke these words that changed my perspective, “I honor faithfulness. You were faithful to do what I ask you to do.” When I become focused on succeeding or measuring up to some standard, I can be reminded that God honors faithfulness! It’s about Him and His ability, not me and my ability. And I’ve learned from those situations to be more of a helper/encourager to those God places over me and other people, not to expect perfection and to help/encourage others remain faithful to what God calls them to do. So, I am somewhat thankful for those years…

Final Notes:

This world will pass away and all that is in it. There won’t be a world’s most successful person bulletin in heaven. We won’t have a bigger mansion or more privileges in heaven based on success on earth. Money, titles…those things won’t matter. God honors faithfulness. May we be faithful to whatever God asks us to do.

Identity Crisis (Identity in Christ Part 3)

 

 

I am American. I am a woman. I am a daughter and sister. I am Scientist and Engineer. I am a worshiper, artist, and singer. All those statements are correct. However my true identity is a child of the King. Most people will tell you about their earthly citizenship. If we are a follower of Christ, we have a heavenly identity that is the most secure identity. Let’s look at Paul’s instruction.

Philippians 3: 12-21

12b I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Following Paul’s Example

15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Paul was speaking in the previous passage about all the things that made him a model citizen, but none of those things made him right in the eyes of God. We are citizens of this world, but our eternal citizenship is in heaven. If we live from our true identity we don’t have an identity crisis. Many of us walk around unsure of who we are, what we can do in Christ, how valuable we are, and what we have access to as God’s child. We can live with only this earthly life in view struggling with our identity. Here are some examples.

1. People strive to be successful thinking that if they are, they will be more valuable. The truth is every person is already valued in heaven. God views success very differently than we do. God defines success as being faithful. Are we faithful to do what He says and faithful over what He’s given us. See passages on the talents, Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-28. God expects us to use what we are given.¬† We can be rich, respected, and successful and it does not make us more valuable to God. We have the highest value we can obtain in our identity in Christ.

2. People strive to have the perfect body, image, or looks. The truth is that every person is beautiful in the eyes of God. He made all things and people beautiful. Obtaining the perfect body, image, or looks does not make a person more valuable. God is so creative that He refused to make every person look the same. Every person is made in God’s image and the delight of His heart.

3. People strive to please God, instead of living loved by God. It’s easy to get caught up serving God and find identity in doing for God. Our identity cannot be in serving, ministry, or doing for Him. Our identity is in Christ and from that identity we serve, minister, and do things for God. He does not value us more for doing things for Him. Also if our service is out of obligation, it’s not from a pure heart. In Christ we are 100 percent approved of already.

4. People find their identity in their marital status, family, or relationships. In heaven none of those things make a person more valuable. God doesn’t look over at the angels and say, “Hey that’s John’s mom or dad, or Jack’s wife, or Susie’s best friend.” The relationships we use to find our identity and worth are not what God uses. Our marital status, family, or friend relationships are not our true identity. They do not make us more valuable.

5. People find their identity in the things of this world. This world will pass away and only God’s Kingdom will remain. Our identity in Christ will not change.

6. People find their identity in other people’s opinions of them. God doesn’t take a survey of other people opinions. People pleasing, allowing others to label us, and living under the umbrella of others opinions leads to idolatry. We either live for an audience of One or worship the opinions of people. If we live by the applause of people, we will die by their criticisms.

7. People find their identity in what they do. This does not just apply to occupation. It applies to not so positive things as well. People will say, “I am loser,” defining their worth by what they do or have done. People say, “I am an angry person or type A personality or …fill in the blank.” Labels limit what we can do. The way we see and define ourselves is important. If we see ourselves differently, we will behave differently. Also God doesn’t define us by our shortcomings, “That’s impatient Patty and angry Anita.” In Christ we are covered by the blood of Jesus. He looks at us through the finished work of the cross. He says, “That’s My child.” He doesn’t approve of everything we do, but He continues to love us. Our do (what we do) does not define our who (who we are in Christ).

You get the idea. If we are followers of Jesus, then our identity is only secure in Him. In Him we are forgiven, loved, cared for, accepted, chosen, set apart, and valuable. May we not have an identity crisis. Our lives are hidden in Christ.

No one could replace you. tumblr image.