When filing the paperwork to finalize the adoption for Manny we had the option to legally change his name. While praying about what to change it to, the name Nathan came to our hearts. In Hebrew, that name means, “A Gift From God.” We knew right away that our son’s name was to be changed to Nathan and that he really is our gift from God. (His legal first name is Nathan and we moved his former first name, Manuel, to his middle name. He goes by Nathan in a formal setting but Manny is our nickname for him)
After the adoption was finalized Manny still had to deal with the many emotions that come along with finalization. He was still very angry about the hurt that was caused by his birth mom and how his life felt so different from the other children around him.
One day I was listening to Manny while he shared his hurt with me. He looked up at me and asked, “Why did you name me Nathan?” I reminded him that Nathan means “a gift from God” and how we feel that he is our forever gift that God entrusted us with.
Through tears, my son looked at me and said, “I don’t feel like a gift.” I’ve never felt the sense of rejection on someone as much as I did at that moment. I saw how defeated he looked, how his past made him feel less than, how his mother mistreated him which caused all of his struggles, and how she rejected him by choosing her selfish desires over him.
Psalm 27:10 says, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.
Rejection is a real, deep, and an isolating feeling. Rejection will make you think you’re not worthy, alone, and unwanted. Rejection will tell you that no matter how hard you try you don’t deserve acceptance. The feelings of rejection can be triggered in an instant and take way longer to subside.
Just like my son, I’m sure you’ve experienced rejection too. You may not have felt it for the same reasons as him, but maybe you have through your relationships, friendships, or career. Those times of rejection can be confusing and sometimes unmerited and if you’re not careful you can allow those feelings of rejection turn into defeat. When this happens you can be tempted to live a defeated life and those moments of rejection are no longer just moments; they’re a lifestyle.
The 4 Positive Lessons You Can Learn From Rejection
1. Rejection Shines A Light On Your Source: When you walk through a season of rejection, no matter what type it is, rejection will always shine a light on your foundation. It will show if you place your worth in your romantic relationship. It will show if your value is based on the words and actions of your family or friendships. It will even show your career being the supplier of your confidence. When Christ is not your source and firm foundation- rejection will crack your foundation to the core. When you look towards people, positions, and materials to feel love and acceptance, it will never fulfill or satisfy your spirit until you know Who your source of acceptance is from.
Ephesians 3:18-19 says, “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
2. Rejection Has A Name And They Need Prayed For: Whoever is behind the reason your rejection, they’re a person and they need to be prayed for too. You may have experience rejection due to selfishness, a difference of opinion, judgment, or because someone was more qualified. Your rejection may have been unmerited or simply because someone didn’t feel the same way towards you as you do towards them. Whatever the reason is behind the rejection doesn’t change how you should pray for them. Pray for the family member who doesn’t accept you. Pray for the organization who passed you up for a position. Pray for the person who walked away from a romantic relationship with you. When you pray, lift them up. Pray for their success and their relationship with Christ. Praying for the person behind the rejection will heal your hurt and walk in freedom.
Matthew 5:44 says, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
3. Rejection Is Not God Showing Favoritism: It’s common to wonder why God continues to allow rejection to happen and to question it. It’s easy to start the game of comparison and see other’s acceptance as God’s way of favoring them. Scripture is clear that God does not show favoritism. We serve a God who allows free will which when used incorrectly by others it can bring a lot of hurt and pain. However, we serve a God who uses it for good every single time (Romans 8:28). Don’t get stuck in questioning God on the “why’s.” Allow Him to use these feelings of rejection to strengthen your trust in Him. Allow Him to give you a heart and compassion towards others who’ve experienced deep hurt from rejection and to use your story to encourage them. Allow Him to create a sensitive heart within you and to teach you to carefully not reject others.
Romans 2:11 says, “For God does not show favoritism”
4. Rejection Could Actually Be Protection: When you’re praying for the will of God over your life and wanting direction, it’s inevitable that you’re going to hear “no’s.” A door closing, whether it’s to a relationship or an opportunity- if you’re trusting God to guide your steps you must also trust when He closes a door and take it as protection and not rejection. James and I were facing a huge door closing a few years ago and we saw it closing from afar and the entire time I heard God say, “I’m doing this to protect you.” It was still frustrating and still hurt, but there was a peace knowing we were protected. Asking God for understanding and discernment will help you decipher between rejection versus protection.
Proverbs 2:11 says, “Discretion will watch over you, understanding and discernment will guard you.”
If you’ve recently gone through a season of rejection I want to encourage you:
Be encouraged as you press into Christ and stand firm knowing He is your firm foundation and you will not be shaken. Be encouraged as you pray scripture over your hurt and disappointment and allow Christ to bring the good out. Be encouraged that while there is no favoritism in Christ you can carry His favor into all that you do so you’re work will be blessed and multiply.
Have you gone through a season of rejection and learned from it? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Comment below with your lessons learned so we can be encouraged through your story.