I have been reading a book that I hope to share more about upon completion, but this week it has had me really thinking about rejection and the role it has played in my life and in the world’s history. Currently I am writing, waiting to hear back from my editor, writing some more, sending out requests for notice, editing and writing more. It is all the beginning, only it feels like the waiting to hear back from someone that could validate my work or reject my work has always been a constant. When I was a little girl I would write songs and then I would wait for the right moment to sing them to someone I thought could give me the validation I needed to keep pursuing song writing. I would write poems and short stories to tell my friends and then hope they would give me the validation I was seeking in order to feel like I was on the right path.
Sometimes I would get what I needed from the people I loved enough to share my heart with, and sometimes I wouldn’t. As a parent I see now that children have a way of finding you right in the middle of something when they choose to show you their deepest dreams. They walk in while dinner is being prepared and announce they know what they want to do with their lives. I can’t hear them fully because my mind is thinking about the onions on the stove, the chicken on the grill and the pasta in the boiling water with a running list in the background constantly playing the “did you get enough done today to justify sitting down?”. I barely hear the dreams being served to me. I smile and tell them they can do anything they are willing to work hard for and I kiss them and then ask them to stir the noodles.
I have no plans to introduce rejection into my children lives. I know that this world will offer enough of this for them. I know, you know, that this is part of life. Rejection is going to take the place of acceptance. I would like to say this makes me angry but the truth is if I had been granted acceptance to every dream I have had, I wouldn’t be here in this dream. I know that and yet there are rejections that sit deep and unhealed. As much as I try to soothe them they are still too fresh to keep pain away.
In 1 Samuel there is a story about David that I have not heard much about until recently. Lysa Terkeurst writes about it in her new book and it is sparking quite a few insights into the Bible stories I know. The story talks about David, a man named Nabal and his wife Abigail. David asks for food. Nabal is a man of wealth and doesn’t see why he should help the future king and tells him no. Nabal says the words that get David all kinds of angry. Then comes Abigail, she knows her life is in danger because of her husband’s actions. She knows everything she holds dear is at stake. These days we call it hangry, the future king of Israel was hungry and he was on his way to kill the man that was keeping food from him and his men. I never thought about the fact that there was a past wound that could have added to this current anger, and I would like to thank Miss Terkeurst for pointing it out because my opinion of David was at stake. I was thinking, “How on earth did this guy get the title, ‘Man After God’s Own Heart,’ if he went around killing people because he was hungry”?
David had been wounded by his father, he was left in the field to tend to the sheep while his brothers had been brought before Samuel. When Samuel asked Jesse to bring his sons so he could find the one God had chosen to be the next king, Jesse didn’t think enough of David to bring him. Then the wounds of rejection were cut deeper when Saul, the current king, started to hate David and swore to end his life. Now Nabal is telling him, while he is very hungry, that he is not important enough to share food with. David was ready to kill all the men in Nabal’s family to get revenge because of rejection opening wounds, something this hangry man was not capable of dealing with.
I am one with David in this reaction due to past pain, current rejection and fear of it never truly healing. I find myself snapping and casting blame on people who just like me have their own wounds to soothe.
Something I wasn’t prepared to see clearly is the rejection I give myself. Most days I love who I am. I love that I am a morning person. I love that tying knots with a hook and some yarn makes me happy. I love sitting and listening to my little girl sing her song she wrote and my son’s dreams of working for NASA. I love looking at photos of my husband’s latest peace of art and hearing a joke my youngest thinks is belly jiggle funny. I love where we live and who we are. Then there are the moments that I rip the wound wide open without the help of anyone else. I think it’s easier to live with someone else hurting me than it is to realize that some days it’s me who causes my pain.
It usually begins with something as simple as wanting sugar in my coffee when I know it will mess with my head, or my house isn’t as clean as I would like it to be and the school work needs to be completed before the dishes, and I begin to reject who I am and begin wishing I was someone else. I wish I could trust the school systems to take care of my children’s education so I could take care of my house and my health. I wish I could homeschool and had enough money to pay someone to do the cleaning, FYI, I like this one the best. I reject my real job and look for another one. One that pays money and has health insurance, one that from this perspective will come with a shiny bow on it and no regrets. Only the truth is gray and the reality is, there is always hard. No job, no life, no moments come without difficulty.
What happens next is I become the one who has been wounded, rejected by someone else and now in a moment of vulnerability I reject my own self and I go to war against my own mind. I know there are times to go to war against one’s self, I write about it, I live it and I teach it to my children. However, this is not one I recommend. I get lost in the “what could have beens” and the “what should I do’s”. I focus in on what I think will make it all feel better. I set goals and let them run away with my thoughts until I can’t see myself anymore. I then will become desperate and spend days looking for the parts of me that hold my true identity and pray that God can put me back together. I know I am not alone in this game of seeking out self love. However, when I get all tangled up in the lies and I send medicate with rejection I feel alone. I feel the kind of alone that you feel when you show up to an event you had to convicted yourself you would have fun at, only to find that non of your people could make it and your introverted heart cries desperately for a hiding place.
I find myself in accepting who I know I am supposed to be and the truths that the spirit has breathed into me. The wounders of my past can’t all be blamed for my own reopening and believing of their lies. It is my love for who I know I am meant to be and the Spirit of Truth’s soothing of my wounds that will heal me. Just like David should have taken a moment to realize his own hunger and past were causing his desire to take the life of the man keeping food from him and his men, I need to take time to think through why my anger is present and where it is coming from. What have I lost focus of or put faith in that I need to find and readjust? When did my self evaluation become self destructive?
Rejection is painful, it can cut deep and take years to heal. Love for myself and kindness to myself takes practice but they will forever be my weapons of choice in this war. I will choose love for myself and I will choose kindness towards my faults. I may always see what I would like to improve but that doesn’t mean I have to reject my whole self to become better at what I am called to do.
May you find that choosing kind words towards yourself can soothe your pain and that love wins the war on hate every time.