aka The Frazzled Mom
In chapter 3, Lisa discusses how she added words and a story to what she thought was rejection from another woman at the gym. She was convinced she’d offended her. But the next time at the gym, the woman genuinely smiled at her, proving that the thoughts of rejection she’d mulled over weren’t necessarily true. That she’d filled in the gap with what she thought was the story.
This was one example of rejection that we might experience. I’ve had some similar moments, though not to that extreme. But there have been times while at the gym that it felt as if I were putting someone off by being there. Or when filling my cup with water at Corner Bakery, I have to be fast. I don’t want to inconvenience the person behind me otherwise they’ll get annoyed, only to hear them say “take your time”. If you’ve never felt this way, consider yourself lucky!
But what of true rejection, the kind that I didn’t make up? Lisa describes it like a bird flying in the sunlight only to slam into a glass door that it didn’t see coming. It stuns, it hurts. And I’m left reeling at what happened. Rejection is bad enough when it’s random people I don’t know. Actually, I might be able to handle that better.
Rejection from my friends? Or how about my church family, a group I’ve grown up with and trust?
That’s what happened to me a few years ago. I’d taken up a leadership position when no one else would. Let me back up, because the rejection started even before that moment.
It happened at a planning meeting in someone’s home. We were gathered around a table, our papers and pens out, our sodas and snacks at the ready. It seemed like all was going well. Keep in mind, my mother was the leader and had been so for a long, long time. She’d grown tired of leading, but no one would step up to take over. So she kept on. Until that day.
While going through ideas for what events to hold in the year, the dynamics of the meeting suddenly changed. Like a dark cloud moving across the sky, the mood dropped. To this day, I wish I’d done or said more. Actually, I wish I’d packed up, gathered my mom and her things and walked out. But I was so stunned, as these people I’d grown up with, loved and trusted, ripped my mother apart. Picking at her from every angle. And what was being said had nothing to do with what was discussed at the meeting.
I won’t go into details. That isn’t important. The point I want to get across is that despite the fact that I wasn’t the one attacked, I still felt the sting of rejection, the injustice from those attacks. It wasn’t until that rejection was rehashed over and over in my mind did I start to become angry. And that is never a good thing for me. When I get angry, my friends and family can attest, I REALLY get angry.
So why on Earth would I accept the very position my mother gave up? Why would I serve and lead the same people who rejected her? I should say a lot of prayer went into it, but honestly, I was trying to pick up the pieces of what remained of the group. I can do this! I can fix it! I was hoping to use the talents from my job to organize and get everything going again. I created templates, forms and documents to help the communication between the women and church boards. I’d scribbled down lists of possible fun events for the year. I gave everyone time and didn’t insist on a lot of meetings. In fact, we only had one.
Now ask me how long it lasted.
Four months. Tops.
By April, I had one person upset with me for wanting to include my mother and another lady in on the meetings. Because I didn’t back down, she quit. And then another followed her and quit as well. Despite the promise in January to back me up, to be there for me as I take on this role. That was yet another rejection.
There are times when you feel like you’re in a sinking ship, but really you’re just being dramatic. I’ve had those moments with work. But I’ve regrouped and managed to pull something out of whatever problem we’ve faced. But in this instance, with this group? I was done. Never having gotten over the initially rejection from the previous year, and now this double rejection? I was so done. So I left the church for several months. I needed a break.
Fast forward to today.
I’m no longer the leader. Obviously I gave that up a long time ago. Every once in a while, they want me to help, and if I have the time I will. But I will never step foot into that leadership role and I will never serve in that group. The sting of rejection is so great that no matter how much time passes, it will always be there as a reminder.
“Walk outside for 2.3 seconds and the music comes to a screeching halt.”
Live loved sounds good, but isn’t easy to live. What about the days (like the ones I described above) where I was definitely not feeling it? I’m a pessimist, so I easily fall into that funk, that depression. The idea of this study, and the reason I wanted to try it, was the learn how not to be a slave to those emotions or the moods of others.
Now with hosting this Bible study, the funny thing is while the subject is on rejection, those feelings are starting to resurface again. Perhaps this is meant as practice to help me learn to deal with rejection in a healthy way, to know that even though I may not be loved by those people, I am loved by Him and that really is all that matters. If Jesus managed through His series of rejection, He can help me get through these minor ones.
Maybe I should post the following on my mirror, by my computer, and so on… Paul’s thoughts and prayer on God’s fullness and love:
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14-19, NIV)