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The earliest memory I have is one that I have relived many times. I am standing at the front door—no more than five years old—where my dad has come to get my sister to spend time with her. The problem: I am his daughter, too, but he doesn’t acknowledge that and leaves me behind. It was not the first time, nor was it the last time, that I felt rejection. That one moment, seemingly stuck forever in my mind, flavored the way I looked at the world and how accepted I felt—by others and by myself. I learned far too early to reject others before they could reject me—and I have spent most of my life fighting a spirit of rejection.
Rejection is a regular occurrence in our lives today. It is easy to feel rejected by the myriad of social media actions that create false acceptance in our lives. Did someone “retweet” you? How many “likes” did your status update receive? Did that person “love” your picture? Did someone “pin” your story on their board? If not, does that affect how you feel about yourself? Do you then try even harder to get acceptance through these false mediums?
Surely God shakes His head over humanity and our deep misunderstanding of what acceptance truly is. He has told us in “eternal ink” where our acceptance should come from and how we can get it. To change our mindset and feelings about being rejected, we must know what His Word says about it:
God will never reject you. Psalm 27:10 says “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.” It does not matter how many humans have rejected you and in what way they have done it. God will take you in and He will not forsake you, reject you, or throw you away—no matter what you have done.
God chose you. It is more than just NOT being rejected—the truth is that you are accepted and chosen by God (John 15:16; 1 Peter 2:9). Though there are different theologies behind the term “chosen,” this simply means that God has always wanted you. From the beginning of time, He chose you and desired you and wanted a relationship with you. Think about that for a moment: the God and Creator of the entire universe chose you personally to be His beloved. And God does not make mistakes. Shouldn’t walking in that reality change how you view the rejection or acceptance of others? (Yes, it should!)
God appointed you. He did not just choose us and leave us. He then appointed us, calling us out of darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). He appointed us to be His spokesmen to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). He appointed us to bear fruit that would last so that whatever we ask in His name, we will receive (John 15:16). These amazing truths tell us that God wants us so much, He has special assignments for us. No human acceptance could ever compete with this glorious truth.
Even today, I struggle with remembering that other people’s rejection of me is not what matters; what matters is how God feels about me. And though I sometimes struggle, I remind myself–and that little girl–that God loves me and is constantly pursuing me, and that He is the only One who will never reject me and always accepts me—just as I am.
What are some Bible verses that help you overcome feelings of rejection?
I am frazzled. Since September 1, 2013, I have woken at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. most mornings and struggled with making it through each day on 6 hours or less of sleep. I know why it is happening—I am called to be an intercessor and night watchman—but honestly, I just want to sleep. I have asked everyone I know to pray that I would start sleeping through the night. I began taking Benadryl to help me fall asleep and stay asleep. In my mind, I was the victim of a sick, horrible joke because those who know me know that sleep is one of the most important things to me. (I usually average 8-9 hours a night.) I’m not just frazzled; I’m frustrated.
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There I am, caught in a mind trap. Satan has snuck into my head and told me one small little lie: that I need sleep more than I need to obey the Lord. You may not think wanting more sleep is a mind trap or a lie, but there it is, plain as day: disobedience disguised as a need. God had asked me to do some important work, and I was incensed, believing that I would be of better use to him if I had eight to nine hours of sleep instead of if I simply obeyed Him. Because of this, I launched into action against the very thing that God was asking of me.
In living this out over the last few weeks, I have realized that there two important factors to remember about what Joyce Meyer calls the battlefield of the mind:
It’s not just what you think, it’s how you think. Sometimes we believe that as long as we aren’t thinking BAD things, it’s okay. As long as I am not thinking about cheating on my spouse, it’s okay. As long as I am not thinking angry thoughts about my boss, it’s okay. But therein is the lie. We must replace those bad thoughts with positive thoughts. The Bible instructs us to think about things that are true, noble, honorable, just, pure, commendable, and excellent (Philippians 4:8), and we must be proactive in thinking these kind of thoughts. For me, this means replacing my frustration with God (and my assignment!) with humility. It means viewing my assignment as an honor, not a bother. It also means accepting that God will keep me in perfect peace as long as my mind stays on Him (Isaiah 26:3)—and I obey Him.
Sometimes, you need a change in perspective. The Bible says that we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). To be renewed, we cannot think about things in the same old ways. I had asked my friends and family to pray that I would get a full night’s sleep and that I would stop waking up so early in the mornings. This past Monday, I shifted my perspective: instead of asking for prayer that I would sleep the whole night through, I asked for prayer that I would be energized and refreshed from the sleep I did receive. Now THAT is a prayer that God was willing to—and DID—answer.
I do not always win these battles for my mind, but I am a work in progress, and God is renewing my mind daily. The most important thing to remember is to saturate your mind with His Word, and you will begin to see your thought patterns change for the better.
What strategies do you have for dealing with the battle for your mind?