Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rejection

I recently posted on Facebook "Contemplating rejection on this summer afternoon. I think it is perhaps the largest reason for so much grief and pain. A fear of it motivates so many to pick up habits that are destructive. Even small rejections are incredibly painful. Amidst rejection, I'm trying to wrap my brain around the reality that I am not rejected by God, the Creator of the universe. But, I think many of us feel rejected even by Him, or especially by Him. Rejection is the opposite of love...it is pushing away. God has demonstrated His love reaching out, time and time again."

I got several responses and some were in agreement that they were struggling with feeling rejected that day. As I thought more and more about the topic of rejection, I began to realize how many areas of my life have been impacted by rejection lately.  

The last school year was incredibly difficult for me.  The group of students I was teaching were at a different level (overall) than the group I had taught the previous year plus it was my second year teaching and so I did a lot of adjusting . But, honestly, the students were the easiest part.  I love the kids!  I like figuring out how to help them best and meet their individual needs.  The hard part came with adults.  Everyone thinks teenage girls can be mean girls.  Adult girls can be meaner.  They are much meaner.  They are rude and hurtful and gossips.

I've had my share of mistakes.  In fact, I made a big one in the fall and then paid for it all year.  In fact, I'm still paying for it.  The problem is: I'm not really sure what the mistake was.  I thought it was one thing.  I dealt with that.  I asked to be forgiven and was granted grace. But then I found out it was perceived as something else and others were upset.  Then the gossip began and truth was distorted.  Insecurities made the truth more warped and people were unwilling to come to me.  I'm not really sure why. I guess it was considered too hard to confront me and ask.  People would rather just talk and speculate.  So, it just got worse and worse.  Finally, the year was over and I was relieved.  I was also sad.  I believe the adult junk took away from my focus on the most important aspect of my teaching--my students.  I would love to get back a slice of my time with them and do a few things over.  Oh well, there are no do-overs.

The pain of the year just got worse as I thought it was finally closing.  The pain came from another arena for the second round.  It's lasted most of the summer.  The beginnings of the rejection were incredibly painful.  I thought about it constantly and cried and just tried to wrap my brain around it all.  Then I cried some more.  Time passed and reality just settled.  I accepted it.  

Now I fear there is another rejection coming.  I really hate to say I "fear" it because when I stop and think through it, I do not fear.  I know Who loves me and who I am in Him.  I know life will move on and I will be okay even if I'm rejected.  But, there's still fear.  I do not like pain...physical or emotional.  Who does?! So, I fear it. I worry it is coming.  I've tasted a little of it and I'm worried more will pour in and overwhelm me.  I am afraid I'll be broken by it somehow. But, in reality, I know I won't.

As I stop and think about these times of rejection, I see a vision of arms just pushing out against me.  I try running to them or approaching them and they are like walls.  But, amidst all those walls of hands, I see hands overturned and reaching to me.  Waiting for me to put my hand in theirs.  Arms open for a hug, an embrace.  I will focus on those hands.  They are the ones that matter.  

They are the arms of my God, Who always welcomes me.
They are the arms of my husband, who loves me despite knowing me deeply and completely.
They are the arms of my children, who depend on me and think I'm amazing even when I've failed them.
They are the arms of my mom, who is so different from me in personality but accepts me with all my rough edges and firm stances.
They are the arms of my friends, who have walked with me and know the good and bad--the friends who haven't left me.
They are the arms of the children I teach who know nothing of the drama behind the scenes but just love when I sing and dance in class.

I will not dwell on the rejection.  I will realize that many of those who reject me feel rejected themselves.  I will walk up to the hands raised against me as a wall and say kind words, pray for the person behind the hand to be blessed and loved, and eventually I might ask them why.  But, I'm not really sure I want to expend the energy to find out all the whys.  There are just too many.