Ever had somebody show up at your door uninvited? Depending on who that person is, this can be kinda cool, or really awkward. When my kids were little, we lived in a constant state of toys on the floor, dishes in the sink, socks stuck to the curtains…you get the idea. If anybody stopped by, it was most likely another Mom with kids in tow and her shirt on backwards. It really didn’t matter what my house looked like. She was here to see me. To let our kids play with abandon, whilst we caught up over coffee. If my mother or somebody from church stopped by, now that was a different story. I’d spend a frantic few minutes rushing around, tidying and trying to remember if I brushed my hair that morning.
I am not a neat freak. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t have one junk drawer. I have several. Yet it bothers me when people come to my house and things aren’t perfect. Why is that? Why do I prefer to put on the mask that says everything is perfect rather than telling it like it is?
Why? Because I want to be liked. I want to be accepted.
I avoid rejection at all costs.
But…you say…aren’t you a writer? Yes. Yes, I am. God does have a sense of humor.
Once I began the search for my birth mother, it didn’t take me long to figure out where all these weird and wonderful feelings came from. The minute I saw that space on my adoption papers where my name should have been –
The last name was my birth mother’s surname, but I knew it was not my own. Not the name she wanted me to have. They may as well have written bastard. It’s an ugly word, but it speaks to the depth of feelings that slammed me that day. Rejection moved in, shoved all logic aside, rearranged everything I knew about myself, settled in and waited for me to feed it.
And I did. For days.
I wrestled with that image of myself as a newborn, laying in a crib. Who held me? Who talked to me? Who fed me or comforted me when I cried? The nurses at the hospital, I suppose. I wonder what they thought of me, this tiny abandoned baby with no name. Unwanted. Unclaimed.
Someone who has never felt such soul-deep pain cannot possibly understand it. I still don’t fully understand those feelings. Why now, as an adult, mother, wife, did I suddenly want to curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep? Why did I ache for that baby? It all turned out okay in the end. I was given two loving parents and a wonderful home. What did it matter how that happened?
It matters because it did happen. And I needed to acknowledge it.
If you want to overcome rejection, accept it.
There is nothing I can do to change the way I came into this world. I accept it. I see it now as part of God’s plan for my life. And I know that in the deep places, the recesses of my memory where that first small seed of rejection was planted and allowed to grow, something else was placed there.
God knew who I would become. He knew who my parents would be. He turned a hopeless situation into victory. He created a family. He had a plan and it was good. I am forever grateful for His loving hand on my life.
And those feelings I dealt with all my life, and still deal with? Sure, they show up once in a while and I invite them in. Sure, it sucks to read a nasty review of my writing. It hurts to hear that a publisher doesn’t want my next project. It’s sad when a relationship crumbles, when people reject you and choose to walk away. But this is life. This is how we learn. This is how we grow. I process what I’m feeling, but then I move on to things that make me feel good. My family. My friends. Pictures like the one above.
When I find myself drawn back to that dark place, I back up. Fast. It doesn’t always work. Some days I give in, open the door and have a chat with my old friend. That unwanted guest. But we don’t have that much to talk about. He doesn’t stay long and I am glad. He doesn’t belong here anymore.
I am no longer threatened by rejection. I know it will show up again. And again. I don’t welcome it, but I refuse to run from it.
I have lived through it.
And I have survived.
What about you? Have you ever felt rejection so deep you thought you’d never get over it?