I came into my role as a Pastor's wife full of ideas and plans to implement them. I recall one time in particular when I saw a need for a ministry and I was going to run with it. I was overflowing with excitement and anticipation for what God had planned. I was absolutely convinced that God had called me to this and He was going to do BIG things.
So, when the powers-that-be pumped the brakes on my excitement and subsequently excused me altogether from that ministry, I felt an overwhelming sense of rejection. I was hurt and confused.
And I was angry.
I was angry at God for allowing me to get so excited about something only to have my hopes and dreams crushed. I was angry with my husband, who I felt should have stood up for me more. I was angry at the woman who could so flippantly excuse me from something I was so passionate about. And I was angry at myself. Did I not listen to God well enough? Did I misplace my filter (as I sometimes do)?
I became stuck - wandering around aimlessly in my own spiritual desert. I continued to show up at church with a smile on my face, but my heart was no longer in anything I was doing. My anger turned to bitterness and it festered like an undiagnosed cancer - making me weak and exhausted.
And Satan celebrated.
You, see, my Sweet Friends, Satan wants us to stay in this place - this dark hole of fear and rejection. As long as we remain stuck in the middle of our own pathetic pity party, we can't be effective for Christ. It's near impossible to love from a deep pit of bitterness.
As time went on and I desperately sought out God to reconcile my pain, I came to realize that I was confusing my rejection from people with rejection from God.
I was reminded that God has a plan for me and maybe this particular ministry simply wasn't a part of it. Maybe, just maybe, He was protecting me - teaching me, loving me, building a more resilient me. I was presented with an opportunity for God to do some intense heart work. Part of this heart-work was learning to forgive and trust in God's bigger plan.
Pray for Those That Have Hurt You
As I continue to heal from this rejection, I have come to recognize that this ministry was never mine to begin with. It always was and always will be God's ministry and my role is to simply pray for those leading it. God reminded me that I cannot control the words and actions of others but I can control my choice to forgive them. And I can love them.
Beyond overcoming my own hurts, God showed me that people often reject others out of their own fears and insecurities. As it turns out, the woman I felt rejected by is every bit as human as I am and struggles with her own feelings of insecurity. While I can't fix that, I can be obedient when God instructs me to pray for her.
Ephesians 4:31-32 tells us to "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you." This is not always an easy task. However; what Paul doesn't tell us is to "forgive once they've apologized" or "it's all good to let that nastiness fester for awhile and then forgive when you're ready." We're simply instructed to forgive.
When feelings of anger and resentment begin to smother my heart, I fervently pray that God will release me from the chains of these ugly emotions so that I may better serve him.
Because the desire of my heart is to do just that. To serve Him in whatever capacity He places me in. I've come to realize that feelings of rejection often come from disappointment when plans we made don't work out. I wanted that job. I wanted that friend. I wanted to be chosen. It has little to do with God's plans and quite a bit to do with what I wanted and what I thought was best.
In order to declare freedom from the hurts of rejection, we must be reminded of John 3:30 "He must become greater; I must become less."
Our focus must shift from us to Him. We must put our own motives and our own desires aside in order to clear out the rooms of our hearts. Once we've done that, God can move in. Then, and only then, will His desires become our own.
Let's talk rejection. I'd love to hear your stories of rejection and how God pulled you through.