A lot of self-reflection and conversations with loved ones recently have helped to sprout a bit of a revelation.
Allow me to digress…
I believe that rejection hurts far more than loss. But please don’t misunderstand me – both hurt in lots of ways – but for me, rejection hurts more than loss.
Specifically, I think back to the time in which I experienced my biggest losses. The biggest loss I can recall was when my mom, Betty, died in 2001. I was a 21 year old kid that had just finished my junior year of college. My world came crashing down because I lost the biggest support, cheerleader, and friend I had ever known. I was angry at God. I was overwhelmed with emotion. And I thought that I would never recover from that pain.
There were – and still are – little triggers that remind me of my mom. In fact, it’s near impossible to forget.
Rejection, on the other hand, has a few more complexities to it. When someone or something whom you love rejects you or closes the chapter you had together – the hurt has a large amount of inner workings that are near impossible to get rid of.
Recently I had a great conversation with a dear friend that just went through a nasty divorce. He experienced the same emotions that are associated with loss. However, those were coupled with shame, self-doubt, embarrassment, blame, and more.
I told this dear friend that he’s not all those things that he imagines himself to be. He is not defined by his mistakes. This rejection is not a reflection on who he is. But that’s a hard message to get across, I know.
Last year I lost some relationships that I held quite close to me. Mistakes and bad choices happened on both sides (most often that’s the case) but I felt completely rejected. That emptiness and hurt were paralyzing for me.
One of the biggest reasons I believe rejection is harder than loss is because that chapter might be closed or over – but the book is still being written by both sides. It’s as if you awkwardly run into that person and your blood pressure shoot up immensely – and almost instantaneously. You ‘creep’ on Facebook. You want to be happy for that person (well, at least I do…most of the time…) but their joy just pisses you off.
Maybe it’s just me – but rejection is a pain that takes more work and more effort than loss.
I have a full belief and understanding that heaven is real and that God has a special place for those who believe in Him. So, when death or loss happens – I can rejoice, because I know that God has rescued that person from the pain and suffering of this world.
When rejection happens, it’s not only loss – but it forces us to re-examine our lives and our choices while still living, basically, in proximity with the person or thing that rejected us. I think about my friend who recently went through the divorce. I don’t believe divorce is a good choice in many situations – but for this one, it sure was.
As my friend reflects and examines what he could’ve or should’ve done – the mistakes that he made over the course of numerous years – there is a lot to learn. But I have to believe that God rescued him from the misery and the pain that was self-inflicted. I imagine that God had and has something better in store for my dear friend. That rejection happened because the relationship was not giving God the full glory he deserves.
And I think about the rejection and pain I experienced last year. When I was in those relationships, I thought undoubtedly that this was as good as it gets. That I was my best with them. But it was as though I had asthma and I didn’t know what a breath of fresh air really felt like. I was part of the problem – and there’s no good for either side that can come of continuing to fuel the wrong fire.
Because God knows what’s best, some relationships have to die. Chances are you have that person or persons that are holding you down – holding you back – and keeping you from being the person God designed you to be. I’m not saying if you are struggling with your marriage to get a divorce. I’m not saying to abandon those work environments that don’t make you fulfilled. I’m not saying to walk away from friendships because things aren’t going your way.
What I am saying is that if something breaks – if rejection happens – and if you’re left completely torn apart because that pain is intensely real and large – then FEAR NOT. Jesus Christ saved us 2,000 years ago – and I’m confident He rescues us from things on this earth, too. If you’re rejected – amidst the pain - better things are yet to come.