Have you ever experienced rejection? That feeling of not being wanted or accepted. Rejection is a deep bruise that destroys our whole being. As a result of criticism, abandonment, and other forms of abuse or neglect, we end up with a bruise – a physical or emotional injury.
And so, we build walls which allow no one into our world.
My first memory of feeling “left out” was around age ten. I didn’t know about rejection. I only knew what I felt when excluded. (Growing up with eight children in the house you would think there was no time ever to feel left out.)
I clearly remember one day in the middle of winter. We had just experienced heavy snowfall, which meant we had a day off from our chores on the farm. Some of my fondest memories of fun on the farm happened on these days.
We were snowed in because of this storm and couldn’t go anywhere. Usually, these were the days we bundled up as best we could to play in the snow until we were numb from the cold. Our fingers and toes were freezing, but we were having too much fun to care.
We decided it would be fun to walk to town, about two miles from our house. The snow was probably about 12 inches deep and would make the walk difficult and tiring, so we asked Mom for permission.
She hesitated for a minute and said my sisters could go, but I would have to stay at home because the walk would be too long for me. I had terrible hay fever as a child, and at times, breathing was a problem for me. (This is why I became the family baker – I wasn’t allowed to do outdoor chores, so mom put me to work in the kitchen.)
I felt such disappointment that snowy day. My sisters bundled up for the walk out the long lane on the farm and up over a steep hill towards the little town nearby.
I felt left out. This memory is my first recollection of rejection.
I clearly remember the feeling as I went upstairs, stood by the window, and watched my sisters until they were out of sight. I stood there for over 30 minutes and cried.
As I look back over my life, I see that as a moment that planted the seed of rejection.
I could have told my mom how I was feeling, and I’m sure she would have comforted me in some way. Instead, I never said a word and began my journey of “don’t talk” about what I feel. I never said one word to my sisters about how disappointed I was.
That became my life. I internalized my feelings time after time when I felt left out.
Little did I know how crippling rejection can be once it enters a person.
I know there are degrees of rejection and what I experienced that day was not crippling or destructive, but it was the first time I felt the sharp sting of rejection.
I know now that I could have released what I felt if I would have been able to talk about it, but we often struggle to communicate when we are emotionally crippled.
As a child, I couldn’t communicate my feelings, and I don’t hold anyone responsible for my inability to express what I felt that day. This early moment in my life was when I developed my response to being left out. Time after time, I didn’t talk about it.
Over time it took its toll in my life as I experienced the attack of rejection in its ugliest forms.
As an adult, I still believed it was not okay to express my feelings when I was lost in my world of pain, blame, and shame.
It took me to the bottom of an abyss of isolation that would not let me go. I felt defeated and even believed God had rejected me!
Eventually, I overcame the bruise of rejection when I tapped into the power and miracle of confession that comes from James 5:16.
It has taught me to confess my sins, troubles, struggles, secrets, feelings, and rejections to others, and pray for each other so that we can be healed.
Do you feel left out? Rejected? I understand and feel deep compassion for you.
Don’t allow days, weeks, months, and years to rob you of the freedom you are meant to enjoy. Start finding healing today by telling the truth about what you feel.
Disarm the bruise of rejection by communicating to God, a trusted friend, or your spouse.
If the bruise is too long and too deep, then reach out to a recommended counselor to help you find your way to freedom.
Reject the bruise of rejection and become all you are meant to be.