Most of us understand the negative aspects of rejection, the part that thrives on our insecurities, bets against our potential and discourages our dreams. But few of us are taught how to embrace the positive aspects of rejection.
Right now you are probably thinking, surely I misunderstood. Are you telling me rejection is a good thing? Rejection is one of life’s golden opportunities. When you are feeling overlooked and forgotten, here are four things you can do to ease the pain and transform:
1. Use rejection to your advantage.
Those who transform rejection and use it to their advantage, understand rejection is not about experiencing loss but discovering who or what qualifies for your future. They also view rejection as an opportunity to further understand God’s love, human relationships, and inner strength. Consider these essential truths about rejection:
- Rejection is simply the reaction or opinion of another person.
- Rejection is powerless without your cooperation.
- Rejection is a friend who withholds no secrets, exposes all enemies and closes every wrong door.
- Rejection is confirmation you possess an achievable dream.
- Rejection reveals those persons incapable of distinguishing your personal worth.
- Rejection is a guide, leading you away from dead-end relationships while directing you towards healthy and positive relationships.
- How you respond to rejection reflects your self-worth.
- Rejection exposes who or what does not belong in your future.
- Rejection reveals who is intimidated by your potential.
- Rejection is motivation to go in a new direction.
2. Know God is close.
The desire to hear unspoken words of affirmation can be tormenting.
I get emotional when I read the story of Joseph. I can’t help it. When I think of the unnecessary heartache, he went through a sigh of empathy escapes my lips. If you’ve been pushed into dark places, by people you love you understand the pain I’m referring to. Sometimes the heaviest sorrows we carry, were placed on us by the people we love most.
Maybe you have wondered where God is in your situation. Not in an accusing way, but in a “Why-haven’t-you-shown-up-yet?” kind of way.
When Joseph’s brothers threw him in a pit, God seemed strangely silent. No thunderous voice from heaven. No angelic visitation. No divine intervention. During one of the darkest seasons of life, the only people who showed up for Joseph were a band of slave traders.
Years later, when Joseph was falsely imprisoned, the heavens were once again eerily still. There were no inspiring words for the innocent. No heavenly mediation that would make the situation hopeful. Sometimes silence screams.
As I retraced Joseph’s journey, I can’t tell you his story was laced with prophetic words. I’ve learned prophecies aren’t always put on paper. What I did discover was something deeper, more comforting than words. God didn’t speak to Joseph. Instead He had strangers shower him with favor.
Sometimes when we go through deep trials, just having a friend show up and sit beside us brings comfort. They don’t have to bring words of wisdom; their presence speaks volumes about her loyalty. This could be true of our Father. We don’t have to hear His voice in order to feel His presence.
He doesn’t always pull up a chair beside you because He has something to say. Sometimes His presence is His way of showing you, I’m on your side.
But the LORD was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the LORD made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden (Gen. 39:21 NLT).
Divine favor defended Joseph in a way that didn’t require God to say a word. In fact, every breakthrough in Joseph’s journey came through the hands of his enemies
God never defended Joseph with talk but with action; He used his enemies to advance His son.
Not every love language comes wrapped as a verbal package. Sometime actions do speak louder than words. God told Joseph in ways that weren’t so obvious …
I see you. I hear you. I love you. I haven’t forsaken you. I still have a grand purpose for your life.
It could be our Father wants us to find comfort in His presence, not just in His voice.
The LORD was with Joseph so that he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master (Gen. 39:2 NLT).
3. Don’t bury your feelings.
Isolation isn’t our friend. If anything, isolation slowly steals our identity.
I know it’s easy to cower from things that require confrontation. But if we can learn to walk through trials with our identity intact, we will position ourselves for promotion.
This fall, at a convention, I had lunch with a colleague. Warmhearted and caring, she is someone I greatly admire. Her family heads up a nonprofit corporation providing clean water and clothing to families in economically depressed areas. Both family and corporation have a reputation for being honest and generous. That is why my face went pale, when she told me about a handful of big-names that pushed her organization out of running for a well-deserved grant. I wanted to tell her their words didn’t carry weight, but I knew they did.
I hope you’ve never had your good works slandered or overlooked. More than likely you have, probably more than once. It’s not easy when people ignore or talk evil about your labor of love. And it is almost unbearable when you are blindsided by people who should be supporting your cause.
There is no pass that can prevent us from overlooked or passed over. But we can take charge of how we respond when arrows are pointed at our hearts.
If we are to cast off feelings of being pushed aside, we must resolve how we will handle being mistreated. A great starting place is learning to celebrate when clouds of persecution begin to gather on the horizon. Rather than desperately trying to protect our heart, we run toward challenges. That may sound like a Pollyannaish approach. But it’s comforting to know that even when we walk through seasons of injustice, if we hold on to God’s promises, He will keep our hearts and emotions from unraveling.
4. Let love lead the way.
Feeling overlooked and forgotten can take a toll on your emotions.
A sign of emotional strength is learning how to carefully watch over our words. To extend healing in areas we have been most wounded. To help the crushed regain strength and the overlooked feel visible.
Not long ago, a friend called to tell me she was feeling lonely and left out. Through social media, she’d discovered two of her friends had moved forward with a dream the three of them once shared. She went on to explain that, months earlier, while on vacation, the friends had spent time planning a start-up company in the travel industry—a company they were to run together. Now seeing that the other two had started their venture without her left her with a crushed heart.
After she’d finished sharing her story, I used the remainder of the call to ramble on about how disloyal people can be, even those we consider to be trusted friends. I passed along stories I’d heard from other people and firsthand stories of my own. A good twenty minutes passed before I heard soft cries on the other end of the call. I finally quit talking and realized how far off the mark my words had fallen. In an effort to defend my friend, I had overlooked the obvious: she didn’t need the words of a warrior; she needed the warmth of a woman with a listening ear. And if I were going to say anything at all, it should have been words of empathy and healing, not a diatribe against those who had hurt me. Since that conversation, I’ve learned to pray for wisdom before plunging into someone’s pain, so I’ll know whether to listen or to speak. If I do speak, I will be more diligent to speak words of life and healing rather than let my words run wild.
If we are not vigilant in guarding our hearts, we will allow careless people to drain the life right out of our dreams.
Let your speech at all times be gracious and pleasant, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to answer each one [who questions you] (Colossians 4:6 AMP)..
The LORD looks down from heaven and sees every person. From his throne he watches all who live on earth. He made their hearts and understands everything they do…But the LORD looks after those who fear him, those who put their hope in his love (Ps. 33:13–15, 18).