#Singlelife Series: Dealing with Rejection

This post is a natural follow-up to my first #singlelife post about crushes. One horrible result of crushes is that oftentimes the feelings involved are unrequited — leaving you to deal with a tangled mess of emotions for a person who never shared your feelings. Unrequited attraction is a form of rejection, and rejection leaves scars that take considerable time to heal. If you’re like me, all of your worries about singleness come pouring in after rejection: you’re single and lonely in a world designed for couples, yet another person doesn’t reciprocate your feelings, you’re afraid you’ll never be good enough for the guys you like. The list could go on.

To counter those destructive thoughts, I find it is so helpful to consider the following positive reminders rooted in biblical truths.

Psalm 66 - Downtown Demure

Remind yourself that God understands your heartache — and He hasn’t rejected you.

In the past, I attempted to deal with rejection alone because I felt no one could understand the extent of my pain. I concealed my feelings from family and friends, many of whom are married or in committed relationships, for fear they wouldn’t be able to relate.   Worse yet, I distanced from God because I doubted He truly understood or cared about my pain. There were times when I felt rejected by God because my many prayers for love seemed to go unanswered.

Fortunately an intense overview of the Old Testament recently provided the reminders I needed that not only did God answer my prayers by abundantly providing me with HIS love, but He understands the pain I experience from rejection, because He continues to experience it with intensity greater than I ever will. The whole Bible is essentially of saga of God pursuing his people, vying for their love by sacrificially giving them every blessing, including His only son. Yet generation after generation rejects God to pursue to less worthy idols. This concept is illustrated beautifully in the book of Hosea, a prophet whose marriage to the compulsively unfaithful Gomer symbolizes Israel’s constant rejection of God. My favorite verses in Hosea depict God’s heartbreak in such a relatable way:

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. (Hosea 11:1-3 ESV)

Yet in each story of rejection in the Bible, is the depiction of a merciful God continuing to fervently pursue the love of the people He created. I can see this in my life, for He continued to love me even though I rejected Him in the midst of my hurt.

Learning to value the love and acceptance I receive from God through faith in Christ made subsequent romantic rejections more bearable. However, knowing that God understands the hurt I experience when I’m rejected made His love tangible and that much more valuable to me.

Unlike guys who did not prove worthy of your affection, God has not rejected you and he will not forsake you as long as you are faithful to Him. He knows the hurt you’re enduring, and he knows the desires of your heart. As you navigate through this agonizing valley in life, set aside doubt and remain faithful that engaging with God — bringing him your pain, longing and fears through prayers while trusting that he will answer those prayers for your benefit —  will help you overcome your heartache. Find comfort in knowing that as a faithful Christian woman, you’ve already received the greatest acceptance of all.

1 Peter 3 - Downtown Demure

Remind yourself why you are beautiful.

Another temptation when dealing with rejection is self-loathing and intense criticism of our physical beauty. You may begin to wonder if your appearance is the main culprit behind rejection from men. Maybe he didn’t like you back because you aren’t pretty enough. Maybe you’re simply not attractive enough to get and keep a guy’s attention.

It’s time to put those thoughts to rest. Contrary to what the world will have us believe, we aren’t beautiful simply because men find us physically attractive (Proverbs 11:22, anyone?).  Alternatively, we are not unattractive simply because men aren’t constantly fawning over our bodies or pretty faces.

What makes us beautiful is the strength of character we have as disciples of Christ. The attributes we develop as we allow the Spirit to further transform us into the image of Christ — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23); meek and quiet spirits (1 Peter); and modesty (1 Timothy 2:9) — these are the qualities that render us truly beautiful.

The most encouraging part of the oft-quoted verses in 1 Peter 3:3-4 is the latter half of verse 4, which affirms that God values the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. To me that indicates: no rejection from man can dim or negate that beauty which God deems valuable, as such beauty is built from within, and it is independent of the ever-shifting cultural definitions of beauty.

When you are tempted to ridicule yourself because a guy rejected you, remind yourself that you are beautiful through Christ and through Christ you are worthy. If we focus on developing the kind of everlasting beauty consistent with a God-fearing follower of Christ, the worthy guys — guys who don’t make decisions primarily based on physical attraction — will recognize such beauty and treasure it.

Luke 14 - Downtown Demure

Remind yourself to be humble.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the temptation is to dwell on pain so intensely that those negative feelings grow into resentment: resentment towards God, resentment towards men, or even resentment towards the women who are chosen over us.

For me, the underlying issue behind such resentment is wounded pride. My self-esteem is scarred when I don’t receive the affirmation or validation I think I deserve from the guys I like. I’ll admit there were moments when I thought I deserved to receive the love of any Christian guy I pined for because I was also Christian. I went so far as to think I was more deserving of a man’s love than another woman because I was a better Christian (whatever that means…).

Once I recognized the rampant pride in such thoughts, I had to ask myself: If I acknowledge that my worth and beauty come from God through faith in Christ, who am I to be angry with God when my prayers aren’t answered the way I want. Who am I to think I deserve a guy because I do what I’m supposed to do? And who am I to exalt myself above anyone else to think I am more deserving of a person’s love?

It was only when I set aside my pride that I realized what blessed opportunities lie in rejection.

We can allow rejection to help us grow closer to God — to keep in mind the pain we experienced when we consider rejecting Him. We can use rejection as an opportunity to practice sincere love by continuing the serve the men who’ve rejected us. We can also allow rejection to help us grow closer to other women. The hidden blessing of rejection is that we’ve all been rejected at some point, and someone is likely to suffer from rejection in the future. Instead of dwelling on our own hurt, we can use our experiences to encourage those nursing fresher wounds from rejection. That is part of the motivation behind this post. As a 26-year-old women who has unsuccessfully pined for many guys, I have experienced the range of emotions that follow rejection. I thank God I learned valuable lessons along the way that helped eased the pain.

Now, I’m not writing this post as someone who has mastered dealing with rejection. I’m writing this as reminder to myself as well, as I continue this journey of growth as a single Christian woman. Being single is hard. Being single and getting (sometimes repeatedly) rejected is even harder.  But I praise God for reminders of the blessings we have in this moment: we are beautiful children of God through Christ, and we worship a merciful God who will always clothe us in His abounding and steadfast love. Through Him we have the opportunity to use hurt and pain for good.

If you need prayers because you’re struggling with rejection, unrequited feelings, or just the woes of being single, please leave your prayer request and story in a comment below. I treasure opportunities to pray for my sisters.

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    Trena
    05/25

    Divorced after 23 years of marriage.. So lonely but want to find my comfort in Christ, rejected recently by a guy I really like but allowed myself to get too intimate with too fast! Please pray for my heart