Have you ever faced rejection? Have you ever been turned away for just being who you are? I think on some level we’ve all faced a level of rejection which forever changes us. Some people are more apt to receive a rejection, because they choose to exist on the fringes on our societal norms, but in the end, they still possess enough desire to be a part of the larger collective, and are affected by the rejection of others. I know from personal experience, not looking the right way and acting the right way are two ways we become ostracized from inclusion of popularity. I’ve been on both the receiving end, and I’ve also been the person (to my shame) who has excluded others for something as simple, as I didn’t like how they looked and acted. It was only when I was put out by another, because I wasn’t agreeing with the proverbial mold they put forth, did I realize just what it meant by rejection. I’ve been rejected by loved ones, for being too much of one thing or another. I’ve been rejected by jobs, for failing to have whatever it was they were looking for. I’ve also been rejected by ignorance, people failing to understand my faith and what I am completely about, and subsequently rejecting me, by their apathy or avoidance in hopes I would, “get the message”, and leave quietly. I’m quiet about hardly anything, and instead of avoiding conflict, I ran to it, like a moth to a flame.
When I was a kid and growing into my teenage years, I was “big-boned”, flabby around the middle, I was a food connoisseur of sorts. I enjoyed eating, and working out wasn’t on my list of to-dos’, I did enjoy playing sports, but because of my increased girth, I found it difficult to keep up with the other boys and subsequently I sat on the bench a great amount of time as the games became more competitive. As I grew older, I felt more rejection by people who I once considered my friends, for little more than I couldn’t keep up with them, sort of a natural selection. I was hurt at the time, but I masked it with laughter or anger and tried to move on. Although, it did one thing for me, it gave me a drive to attempt to work harder to prove, I could do anything they could do, but the rejection was solid, although I attended all practices and ran all the miles, I still wasn’t chosen for the team. I was given a conciliatory job to keep score, and fetch the sandwiches for the portly coach during our practice (subsequently, I was still required to run when I finished fetching the sandwich, as the other boys laughed at my expense). To make matters worse, I was also a singer, and to my horror, while asking for a practice off to sing at a school competition, I was instructed to sing for my teammates as a proviso requirement to have the practice off for said competition. I shudder just thinking of looking at the amusement of those boys watching me humiliate myself for the coach, once again. This for me was a form of rejection which even stings a little to this day. Now, I don’t want to insist, my embarrassment was something along the lines of comparison for anyone who has felt degradation at the hands of rejection (i.e. rejection based on racism or xenophobia). Though, I think I bring enough of a point as to draw similar situations for all who might be reading this. Perhaps you were the butt of jokes, maybe you made a fool of yourself trying to impress the girl you just knew would be the one, or even deeper, you felt self-rejection over your own actions towards another you considered lesser.
Rejection is a powerful motivating tool for the devil. To take one’s insecurities, magnified by the loss of inclusion, and submit them to inverse scrutiny whereby the ones who’ve rejected us would be subject to our sinful vengeance. He promotes the utilization emotive actions where our anger seemingly takes control, and when we’ve lashed out, we’re subject to feeling even more worthless, which becomes a never-ending spiral into the abyss of death. The farther we fall, the abyss becomes darker and darker, giving us a perpetual sense of despair. Although this may seem an extreme example, I’m sure we can all think of someone who has suffered from a sense of rejection, and altogether isn’t sure how to handle it. Sometimes people handle rejection by embracing their differences and rebelling against anyone who they perceive to be apart of the rejectionists, and further complicating their lives by creating a sense of mandated solitude so as not to face anymore rejection.
My daughter and I were watching a classic movie, Back to the Future, and there is a scene where “Marty” says to his girlfriend, “I just don’t think I can take the rejection”, and I think this is so relevant, because anyone watching the movie would probably think, “come on, you played the guitar well, what could that teacher possibly know?”. Though, if we think back to those moments where we put ourselves out there and were soundly shut out of the group we hoped to be in, we might think the same thing, Marty, did and avoid pain wherever possible.
For anyone who knows me, knows the story of how I met my wife. I coolly walked over, to what I perceived as being an older woman, and proceeded to stumble my way through a proposal of a date. I was so nervous, I even made sure she knew it was with me, and not anyone else or a big group. In retrospect, I probably sounded like a gigantic moron, but I muddled my way through, and she said yes. Decades later, she is the love of my life, and we have a home and kids together. I think this is all because I faced my fear of rejection and I didn’t care if I failed, the prospective of not failing far eclipsed her saying “no”. The chance to be seen with this beautiful girl was worth every possible pitfall imaginable. My rejection from the team, I so wanted to be a part of, gave me courage and understanding, not everyone will understand who I am or where I need to be. Even to the detriment of my honor, reputation, or even good humor, I was going to sing and do the very best job possible. It was all a matter of perspective, when we can see past any situation and begin to understand, we don’t risk rejection, we gain understanding. I was always told by my parents, “if someone is making fun of something you are doing, or the way you look, it’s to cover up their own insecurities”. I’m sure this may be true in a lot of cases, and in others, people are just reacting to their own sense of rejection of fear of rejection and preventing it by striking first.
Ok, so what do we do with this new perspective? What do we do, when people are willing to shut us out of our coveted position or place or thing? Remember, there will be no other gods, then the God of all creation, and when we risk the rejection of something other than God, then our focus is misplaced. God will never reject you or me, or anyone. He holds us up and gives us abundant graces where we are never rejected. However, us turning away from God, is our rejection of Him through our want to fulfill our own selfish needs in our sin. Think of our journey as a path where we run from God and think of His Grace as a light to the path we walk. The further we get from God, the dimmer the light will become, but it will still let us know we are walking in the wrong direction. When we finally do figure out our rejection of God has pushed us so far away, we must begin the journey back towards his warmth which is His light. Our journey back if we are focused on the light maybe perilous, but when our attention is on God, nothing else matters. Not the rejection of others or of society, but just the warming love of God and His unending love for each and everyone of us. So the rejection we felt from others is just their way of dealing with their path as they too walk from God, or possible their rejection could be their recognition of their own sin, and leaving us to walk our path as they begin their journey back to God.
As fathers we face rejection from our own children, which must in some manner of speaking resemble how we also turn from our Heavenly Father. Our kids become so defiant and willing to risk everything to face our wrath and anger, all because their perception is they trust us, and we won’t abandon them. I think this is much like us to God, we trust God will always be there for us (in some cases with atheists, they never believed anyway, so they have determined they are the authors of their own destiny, although be it, many of the moral and societal norms they regard as necessary are based on a moral religious teaching). We assume, a loving God is unwilling to turn His back on us, even when we’ve rejected Him. What some of us don’t fully comprehend is, He loves us enough to search our hearts, and where we’ve really rejected Him, He loves us enough to let us go. Hell is a door which must be opened from the inside, we must request a place. In God, the door is always open, but we must accept His love before we can do anything else.
We reject love, and so society tries to replace the absence of love with material items where we are happy for a while, but never filled with joy. Our rejection of God, is the rejection of faith, hope, and love. This rejection feeds on everything it sees, and so we are faced with rejection daily from people who’ve also faced rejection, and in their pain are willing to exact the same sort of contrived acceptance we so desperately need. Our supervisors in work reject us or what we do, no matter how hard we try, society might reject us because we don’t look or act a way befitting their expectations. Our families might reject us, because of the lifestyle we choose to lead. There is more rejection in our culture than there are reasons to reject. Why? We’ve rejected God!
Rejection can become the worst enemy we ever face, because it’s ramifications are long-lasting, and in some cases the negative consequences could take years to be fully realized. Our boorish behavior to women, is a rejection of love and charity as it pertains to God’s creation. Our rejection of our elders is a disrespect to life and the courage or even necessity to live it. Our dismissal of those who are fervent in a loving belief, all because it doesn’t suit our selfish inclinations, is our rejection of sacrifice which is a cornerstone belief in any faith and the building block of any stable society. Currently we reject common sense for the much sought-after study which will explain away all our doubts and put to rest any contrived notions of the past. We strive to think our generation and the time we live in now is more enlightened, more knowledgeable, and more capable of creation of a better society than any generation before. This ironic twist to rejection is, we’ve failed to reject hubris, and instead we’ve accepted it with open arms. We’ve failed to reject our emotive desires to concluded amidst turmoil to create a culture focused on its own feelings and especially feelings associated with being a victim are held in the highest of esteem and given carte blanche until they are then rejected themselves. Even those things which once were held subjectively sacred, have been rejected for a more constrictive perception of life. A life where we should be told what to do, what to think, and who to accept base on empty platitudes or superficialities (e.g. criticism of celebrities by celebrities on the red carpet for a show to give awards to people who already lead a rejection worthy lifestyle).
Men, in my past writings, I’ve acknowledged the need for strong men and a presence which dictates a caring need for us to be good husbands and likewise good fathers. I know I’m guilty for rejection of anything which ran counter to my own expectational beliefs and was unwilling to discuss. I rejected my family at one point, which had more to do with my stubborn pride and misguided sense of honor, than anything else. If you are feeling a sense of everything slipping through your fingers, remember, God is holding you up in His own hands, so to speak, and nothing slips through. Learn to let go, and be willing to focus on God’s will, this doesn’t mean everything will turn out the way you want, but it does mean, you can focus on the bigger picture. Teaching our children to be fishers in a world so willing to have other people do the work for them, will create a fire which will spread to all corners. Christianity is global, but there are entire generations of people who seem to have forgotten just who Jesus was and what His sacrifice was for all of us. He not only rejected the way of man, He sanctified His existence with His sacrifice, and in doing so He embraced us in all in our malevolence and our every attempt to reject God by serving our will instead of His.
It takes a stronger more faithful man to embrace his enemies, including himself, acknowledging his own faults and his rejection of God as a matter of truth. We can hardly expect to teach a truth if we fail to live the truth ourselves. Don’t reject those you see no matter who they are, embrace them (accept them), in the best possible way you can. Sometimes this will just mean to pray for them, because we don’t always know what someone is going through, and anyone who rejects us for some reason or another, needs prayer. If your focus is on God, and within your focus, you show compassion and love, then prayer is your greatest ally. May God bless you and your family!!!
God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!