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Seeing Significance: Rejection’s Sting

Recently my son got a cut on his hand in the midst of playing, my wife was trying to clean it out with peroxide and he was going nuts that it would hurt and he didn’t want to do it. He was in hysterics by the time she finally got the medicine on there, so mad at her for “hurting” him.

Of course, the reality was that he hurt himself. He had anticipated pain and that’s what he received. His perception became reality.

Another symptom of our fear of rejection is our inability to give and receive love. We find it difficult to open up and reveal our inner thoughts and motives because we believe that others will reject us if they know what we are really like. Therefore, our fear of rejection leads us to superficial relationships or isolation. The more we experience isolation, the more we need acceptance. –Robert McGee, The Search for Significance

Like my son, we want to run away. We want to protect ourselves from getting hurt. There is pain in relationships for sure, but if we go into every encounter looking for rejection, that’s what we’ll get out of it.

Every one of us has to make the choice. We can reach out for the hope and strength we need or adopt a “Reject them before they can reject me motto. What we don’t realize is that it’s crushing us.

Every one of us needs to know acceptance and love. We all have wounded parts that are begging for healing, but the more they are covered the more they fester and grow worse.

I’ve certainly wanted to isolate myself for protection, but it just never works. I’m rejecting exactly what I need even though I can’t see it.

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. –1 John 4:17-18 (The Message)

If we are going to live a life of love in God, it will involve real relationship with others. You may not feel like you can trust them yet, but maybe you can make the decision to trust your Father.

What are your thoughts? Have you battled a fear of rejection? Or what do you tell those that do?


I am currently rereading The Search for Significance by Robert McGee (disclosure). It’s an incredible book about “seeing your true worth through God’s eyes.” I have written several posts previously if you’d like to check them out, but it’s just a quote of a sentence or two and a simple discussion.

16 Comments

  1. I think we all “fear” rejection in some way, however, I carried it to extremes because I am a people-pleaser. That was disastrous and it was only when I finally realized that you can’t please everyone that I finally learned how to say either “No” or “Leave me alone.” :)
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..KidGlovesMy Profile

    • Yeah, ditto for me, Bill. :) People-pleasing is such a trap and it makes a mess of everything--especially our closest relationships. Glad there is freedom in Christ! Thanks so much, Bill.

  2. I definitely used to have the attitude of, “do unto others before they do unto you.” That type of mentality makes us live on pure human instinct, just a little above an animal. Understanding that really living a life that is designed by God is going to entail giving to others. It is in that giving that we receive more than we could ever have imagined. It soothes the soul. With the right heart it gives us peace and joy, regardless if someone decides to take advantage of something they don’t yet have…

    Kids… it takes a while to learn the dread is worse than the pain…

    • Wise words, Floyd. Thank you. And kids? I still feel like that sometimes! I get all worked up about stuff that is nothing. God is helping me though. :) Thanks again.

  3. I have struggled with a fear of rejection, and much to my chagrin sometimes I still do. In the struggle I am learning to trust God more and more. He has accepted me and His love sustains me, overriding my fear.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..Extraterrestrial WeaponryMy Profile

    • Don’t sweat it, Dusty. You’re not alone. Every time I think I’ve conquered that mountain, the test comes again just to make sure I’ve REALLY got it. Keeps us close to Him though, and that’s invaluable. :) Thanks so much.

  4. There were times that I would get so frustarated with myself because, I was so afraid to be around others. Most of the time it was because I had believed every lie that was thrown at me that no one could/would ever like me. Still fight it every once in awhile, but luckily I have friends, family, and most importantly God that debunk those stupid lies frequently.

    It’s funny that I often quote 1 John 4:18 and just the first portion of it. In truth it is incomplete without the rest of the verse and really chapter. Perfect love can’t drive out the fear unless we are perfected in love. Great post and reminder today.

    • I’ve been meaning to tell you how stupid you can get. Ha! Kidding of course. I feel the same lies in maybe a different form, but same root. So annoying! Don’t worry, I’m around to remind you how awesome you are. :) Thanks Philip.

  5. I have definitely struggled with the fear of rejection and to some extent I still do. It has caused me to isolate myself on many occasions. I am slowly learning to take the prayerful risk of being honest and open about my struggles with people. There is definitely a blessing when we allow others to help us carry the burdens of life that we can’t carry on our own.
    Kevin Martineau recently posted..How do you respond to adversity?My Profile

    • Kevin, I know exactly what you mean. There are parts of myself that I thought, ‘if anyone ever knew this about me, they would cut me out.’ Through a process of healing, I ‘came clean’ to some loved and trusted people in my life and it was amazing. I’m so thankful for God’s mercy to walk us through the process! Thank you for sharing your heart, Kevin. Praying for you!

  6. I believe every Christian and people in general will feel rejection at some point. But the major key is to not let it bug you and cause hatred in your heart.
    andrew singh recently posted..Christmas-Winterland Photo ExtravaganzaMy Profile

    • Yeah, some people use the scripture ‘guard your heart’ as a justification to block everyone out, but really we’re supposed to be guarding against envy, strife, bitterness, and all that stuff! You’re so right, we all face it. What we do with it is the key. Thanks Andrew.

  7. Fear of rejection has been a big battle just about all my life. I have overcome it a great deal, but at some level, it’s still there. I used to get discouraged when I would struggle with it, even just a little bit, but then God directed me back to Paul’s story -- of having a thorn in the flesh and doing things he didn’t want to do and not doing things he wanted to do. That is my area of brokenness. I may never fully overcome it to the point that I never ever have another thought of rejection, and that’s ok. It’s when I push through in spite of the fear of rejection that I encounter God’s love, mercy and grace.
    Jason Vana recently posted..Fueling Your FaithMy Profile

    • I firmly believe that anything we overcome is not because we are so focused on eradicating it but because we are so focused on Him that we can’t help but be like Him. I think we all have tests to go through and rejection is a part of that, but like you said, we press through and love and give and serve anyway. His grace enables us beyond our human capacity. Thank you, Jason.

  8. The fear of rejections is a terrible feeling. If we’re rejected as children, we tend to carry that baggage with us into adulthood. But, if we focus who we are in Christ, we can start seeing our value to God, which will help with the fear of being rejected by others.
    Mike recently posted..Predestination???My Profile

    • He definitely leads us out of a multitude of enemies and brings healing to our whole being. Those childhood traumas are so strong, but His blood and grace are stronger! Thanks so much, Mike.