You’ve been rejected, right? Most of us have experienced rejection in various forms through the course of our lives. When that rejection is balanced with acceptance (and balance in this arena is not a 1:1 ratio, is it?), we grow through it to be more confident. Eventually.
I do know that some rejections wield deeper scars and require far more than a warm handshake and pat on the back to counterbalance. Some rejection (like being rejected by a parent or spouse) causes what we might call — from our human perspective — permanent damage. I’ve not experienced that kind of rejection and won’t even try to say that I know how it feels because I don’t. Some of you do.
I’m talking about the universal experience of being rejected for membership, of having a job application lead nowhere, of being turned down for a date, of not being picked for the team or the promotion or the cast.
What do you do when this happens to you? I know I have a repertoire of responses — some more effective than others and some more healthy than others. For example, a scoop of ice cream as a comfort is not horrid, but it is a strategy (comfort eating) that can result in less than stellar metrics (cholesterol, being one).
You’ve likely observed children do this as they don’t strive for subtle — often the antidote to the feelings dredged up by rejection is a quick dose of sure acceptance. That can come with a quick call to a friend which may or may not address the rejection at all in the conversation — rather it simply re-establishes your equilibrium like when you get knocked off-balance by something and reach your hand out to grab the back of a chair or a wall. This too could become unhealthy, of course, if we become clingy and needy and push ourselves to imbalance so we have to lean on others.
Sometimes we can take the rejection to someone who can help us see it in perspective and, if we’re lucky, we can learn to laugh again not because the rejection is not real and does not hurt, but because there is so much more than it.
And yes, I do know and believe — both because Biblical teaching is clear and my life experience affirms it — that our ultimate source of balance and perspective, of affirmation and definition, of acceptance is the One who was wounded and rejected so we could be perfectly healed and accepted.