I came home today, and wept. My eyes are still a little blurry, and I know that they are still drooping down in a sad expression. My mouth is fixed in a slight grimace and I’m pretty sure I’m deepening the “sad wrinkles” on my face. Rejection is weighing down on me. Somehow, in an isolated conversation today, I learned that someone doesn’t like me. It’s actually someone that I don’t even know, but I still felt the sting. Funny how social media can bring people together when they’ve never even met – or drive them apart. Every thought I had about myself that tells me I’m unlikeable seemed to come screaming forward. I found myself going back to places in my past where I experienced rejection and reliving them as if they happened yesterday. Pretty ugly stuff.
I love people and I love meeting new people, but today as I walked into a room full of people, I felt overwhelmed with who to talk to and who would want to talk to me (essentially what rejection is at its core). I know that most people would look at me and think I have it pretty much together, and sometimes I do have it together – whatever that means. But walking into a room full of people is not always easy, especially when you already feel small. For me, today, add stupid to that, too.
For a short time, and completely out of self-pity, I tried to convince myself that I’m the only one who must feel this way. So and so would for sure not feel this way. Look at what they’re wearing, their amazing hair – beauty just exudes out of them. But the truth is, all of us are susceptible to rejection and have experienced rejection on some level. I’m guessing that each of us have walked into a room and felt uncertainty, even fear. I’m guessing that each of us, without exception, have cried because someone has rejected us. I’m guessing that each of us has felt stupid for something we’ve said or done in a certain group of people.
Truth be told, writing for Sequoia has brought out more insecurities in me than I even knew existed. I honestly love how social media brings people together – hence our motivation for doing this project! But I have also never experienced the rejection or anticipation of someone choosing not to follow us until now. For the first time, I’ve truly understood the students I work with and how anxious they can get because of social media. I know that what I say and write won’t always come out right, and I know that using social media has its risks. But many, many good things in life come with risks. On this note, I’m putting it out there right now that, if I ever write something that hurts or offends you, ASSUME I didn’t mean to (!), and please talk to me about it! Eek!
Today is one of those days where I want to hide in my basement (sort of what I’m doing) or just put myself straight to bed, where no one can hurt me. But then I remember the risks that I have taken in friendships and the reward that has followed. The incredible gift that so many people have been to me. The things I have learned by surrounding myself with others. The encouragement that I have received. The list could go on and on. This is just what I receive from my friends; never mind what I offer them within our relationship (love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – Galatians 5:22). What is amazing is that, so often, healing from rejection involves relationships in which one doesn’t experience rejection, rather than too much “alone” time to reflect on past hurts – but that requires risk!
Giving of myself to others shifts my attention off of myself – it stops me from being the centre of my own world and being the most important matter in my life. Giving also makes me dependant on my Saviour. Sometimes I don’t have patience to give, but God does. Sometimes I don’t have goodness to give, but God does. Sometimes I don’t have love to give, but God does. Dependence on Him makes me more like Him, since it’s His character and strength coming out, not mine.
As I sit in my self-made cocoon, I feel my wings stretching and wanting to engage with the outside world again, but this time with God. There are risks involved, but God is not one of them. He is constant, stable, always present even when I say and do the wrong thing. His love for and acceptance of me? Unconditional.