She saw me, from down the hall, and in the nanosecond it takes for recognition to take hold, she looked me up and down.
As her eyes swept from my face to my feet and back again, I saw her expression, unmasked:
I wilted within, even as I kept walking. Tears burned behind my eyes, and my throat constricted. In that moment, my very soul was crying.
I don’t know why her eyes said what they did. She was actually a friend of mine. I don’t know why, in that moment, she felt I did not measure up.
But what I do know is that we all have people in our life who will respond to us this way, for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes it will be because of decisions we make in work, or in relationships. Sometimes it will be our political opinions (or lack thereof), or our religious affiliations (or, again, lack thereof). Perhaps our tastes in food, or art, or even dress.
And sometimes, we will not have a clue as to why we are rejected.
But it will still happen.
Rejection can be a matter of perspective, certainly — sometimes we will carry a viewpoint with us that causes us to feel rejected when, in fact, we are not. But other times the rejection will be crystal-clear, and outright.
Regardless of whether we feel rejection that isn’t actually there, or are receiving deliberate rejection, the answer is still the same.
Know who you are.
In Christ, we have been accepted.
We are righteous.
We are chosen.
We are beloved.
If we understand that our true identity does not rest in how we are received, if we are welcomed, or who finds us acceptable, then we can still be confident and at peace.
Rejection will still hurt. Knowing this does not dismiss the sting, but it can downsize it.
Healing can be had, for the taking, if we are grounded in our belonging to the One who loves us best.
Many of us grow up believing that we can disappoint God.
We’ve been taught that in order to receive his favor, or his smile of support, we must earn it. We have to get it all right.
News flash: we can never disappoint God.
He may dislike our choices, and be grieved or disappointed in our decision to try to go it without him…to refuse his love…to ignore his wisdom. Just as any good and loving parent.
But he will never be disappointed in US as his children and his creation.