I want to take some time to write about a topic that is very close to my heart – rejection. Not something most people associate with being close to their heart, is it? It is not a happy thing, but it is something that most of us experience at some point in our lives, and working through it is a major life shift.
Just over a year ago, we were betrayed by some of (who we thought were) our closest friends. Out of nowhere, with no legitimate reason except their imagination, we suddenly became their enemies (in their eyes), and our word meant nothing to them. I cannot express in words how incredibly painful this was for our family. We grieved for months. My kids mourned the overnight loss of some of their dearest friends, talking about them constantly (which was so hard for us to overhear). We couldn’t understand why this was happening. Couldn’t understand how people who told us we were “like family” to them could turn around and make up their own story about us and close their hearts to our defense. We wondered why the Lord allowed this to happen – why didn’t he clear things up in their minds and show them the truth?
A few months later, the pain of this betrayal barely scabbed over (and certainly not healed), intense pain hit our family again as another betrayal by someone very close to us was revealed. This one wasn’t directly against us personally, but the pain on top of the still-pretty-raw pain of our friends betrayal was intense. I fell into depression. It was just SO much to handle. School fell to the wayside as I struggled to just cook meals and keep a clean house.
Thankfully, that terrible season didn’t last too long, and the Lord never left me alone in my sadness. He is so good, so kind, so loving. After a little while of healing, He opened the doors for us to start a Messianic fellowship, and brought us a few couples who were encouraging, supportive, and kind.
It has been a year since those intense days of pain, tears, and deep sadness. God has held us up, surrounded us with love (both from Him and from others), and strengthened our faith. But I still think of these betrayals almost daily. I still wonder why. I still miss the friends we lost – still wonder how they are doing, how their kids are growing, and still pray for them regularly.
I have often wondered, why does God allow other Christians to treat someone this way? Why doesn’t He put a stop to it – especially when it is all based on lies? Why does God allow His people to hurt others in His holy Name? I may never have the answers to these questions, and part of trusting the Lord is learning to be okay with the lack of answers.
So, how do we work through the rejection in order to heal and grow in our walk with the Lord? How do we keep these kind of experiences from being a hindrance in our lives, and how do we learn to trust again?
I won’t pretend I have all the answers. But I have learned a lot through this process, and maybe something I’ve learned can help someone:
- Begin each day with the Lord. I cannot stress this enough. If your quiet time is inconsistent, it is imperative to make it a priority right now. You NEED to keep your focus on the Unwavering Rock. Time with Him will help you see everything else with a godly perspective.
- See the spiritual side of things. In our situation, we saw immediately that this was a spiritual attack – the enemy preying on specific weaknesses in order to tear apart our relationship. Remembering that when I was feeling angry and offended helped to keep me from taking it too personally.
- Allow yourself to grieve. Loss of a major relationship is almost like a death, except without the closure. You likely still have to see them living life (thank you, Facebook), going on as if they didn’t just seriously damage yours. Cry, yell, rant to someone you trust (get a therapist if that helps!), and even to the Lord.
- Let a few things slide off your plate while you’re in the most intense time of healing. We didn’t do school for a while, and I didn’t give myself guilt over it. This was a season for healing.
- Try not to over-guard your heart. This is a hard one. It is our default to say, “That person hurt me so much, I’m never going to trust someone again.” As an introvert, I already find it hard to branch out and meet new people, and because of this pain I struggle with a tendency to avoid building other close friendships. But it’s so important to allow yourself to be open to new friendships. Not everyone is like that person who hurt you.
- Remember that the truth will be exposed one day. This may not be until eternity, but God will reveal all truth in His time. Trust Him to defend you in this way.
- Don’t expect to ever not feel some pain. Pain is a sign you’re alive, and at times the hurt is so deep that a tinge of pain will always be there. That’s okay. Let it be a reminder to always treat those around you with grace and kindness, never knowing what they are feeling inside.
- Look for the hidden blessings. My gratitude journal was a lifeline for me during this time. Yes, there were days that I literally couldn’t think of anything to write in it, but most days I could. A lovely sunset, cozy days at home with my family, a husband to share my pain with. For us, this propelled us into walking out in what the Lord has called us to by starting a Messianic congregation. And God brought us people right away as direct confirmation and an answer to prayer. We celebrated this blessing!
Anyway, I hope that perhaps this helps someone get through a hard time. If you have been recently betrayed by someone, remember that God is on His throne, and His love for you is bigger than you can ever imagine!
If you’ve been through a betrayal or rejection, what has helped you to heal from it and grow stronger in your faith? I’m starting this book, Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst, and am excited to see what wisdom I can glean from it. Her writings have really spoken to me in the past. 🙂