I’m three weeks postpartum, so I’m hosting a guest blogger again. This time it’s Elisabeth Scheffel–an alumna of Nyack and an alumna of the Woman Rite of Passage. She is great–check out her message below!
Do you know what it’s like to feel rejected? I do. I just go on Snapchat, and I feel it instantly. Every time I view my friends’ stories, I see parties I wasn’t invited to, people living my unfulfilled dreams, and reminders of my past hurts. And my past is filled with hurts. From family members who favored others over me, to ex-boyfriends who dumped me because someone better caught their eyes, to the time my English teacher told me I had plagiarized my essay because it was too well-written to have possibly been mine–rejection after rejection has cut deep into my soul, leaving me broken and desperate for acceptance from anyone.
Rejection makes me feel alone. But I know I’m not alone. I know that people all over the world—people like you—are suffering the wounds that rejection had left them. Rejection separates us. Because we have been rejected, it is difficult to trust again. And yet we all long for someone—anyone—to truly accept us so that we could somehow wipe the memory of rejection from our minds.
I have tried to find the antidote to rejection on my own. I spent hours scrolling on Facebook trying to find anything to satisfy and encourage me. All it left me was discouraged about our world and angry at my friends for not inviting me out. I seek new friends, hoping there is yet someone out there who will not forget about me. As a result, I have become discontent with the friends I have, forgetting that they have been with me through so many storms of life. When I search for acceptance, I end up feeling more rejected than I had before.
I only began to understand true acceptance when I walked into church for the first time. While I was afraid that those around me would reject me, they welcomed me with words of encouragement. Then, after making friends, I heard the message that God wants to be my friend. In that moment, I learned that God loves me with an infinite love. Reminding myself of this truth is the only way I will truly be accepted in the way I crave. Because I am accepted by the God who created all things, I have begun to understand that while rejection by people is only temporary, God’s love is eternal.
This is easier said than done. Though we need encouragement, all I see and feel is rejection. And even when my friends invite me to their houses, a man asks me to marry him, or a person of respect reacts positively to something I posted on social media…there is still a sense of emptiness. In the midst of these moments of acceptance, I remember how I felt when others had rejected me, and I am afraid to experience that feeling again. Moving on from the rejection is difficult.
Rejection hurts. But it doesn’t have to hurt forever. When I was in college, I learned that rejection affects me emotionally. My emotions are indicators that there is something harmful going on. Instead of running from the emotional pain that rejection brings, I have learned to embrace the pain and walk through it. I usually make time to journal, and truly allow myself to mourn over others’ lack of acceptance of me. Then I pray. I let God’s love for me wash away the guilt, hurt, and bitterness. God’s love sets me free. My heart gains a little more room for others to come in and accept me for who I am.
Rejection prevents us from true contentment. When we finally acknowledge the pain and bitterness that rejection has left us, and then choose to walk through the journey to healing, we can finally let go of the junk in our souls. We do not deny our feelings, but we choose to believe that the life God has offered us is much better than our feelings. Once we let go of our hurt, we are free to fully receive God’s acceptance of us.
While this does not happen overnight, the process of learning to be loved again draws us closer to God, allowing us to experience a relationship with God. This process for me started in college six years ago, and I still have much to learn. God has used the various seasons in my life—from being away from my family in college, to preparing for marriage—to reveal His love and forgiveness to me. We can trust God to bring us to acceptance. We can feel the love and acceptance that rejection had stolen from us.
Elisabeth is an Administrative Assistant at Living Faith Christian Church in New York. She is engaged to Lenny, who she will be marrying next week! Elisabeth enjoys using stories from her own life in her writing to share about finding contentment in the midst of a world striving for more. For posts about her journey to freedom from anxiety, her musings from planning a wedding, and her exploration on true joy, please visit writinginfreedom.wordpress.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @writing_free1.