I can think of several people over my lifetime of whom made me feel utterly and completely rejected. People who caused me to doubt my worth in this world, as a person, a woman, and a child of God.
I imagine you can do the same, because everyone has experienced rejection at one time or another. Maybe you were rejected by a co-worker or supervisor, similar to what I mentioned in today's Proverbs 31 Devotion. Or maybe your "rejecter" was a parent, boyfriend, spouse, child, friend, or family member.
Regardless of who made us feel rejected, the fact is, rejection is painful. It hurts to the core, and it can have a long term and lasting negative impact on our self esteem and our identity, if we fail to consider our choices in the midst of our heartache.
You see, when we feel hurt and rejected, regardless of the circumstance, we always have two choices:
1. Choose to allow another person to define us and determine our worth
2. Choose to allow God to define us and give us worth
Choice #1 gives other people the authority to determine our identity. If we choose to believe the hurtful words they say, then we are giving them permission to determine our personal identity. We accept their words as truth, even if we don't actually believe them.
Choice #2 gives God the authority, and opens the door for Him to remind us that our true identity is in Him. An identity that is based on the fact that we created by a God who never makes mistakes.
Unfortunately, I must admit that I have spent many a day choosing Choice #1; shedding countless tears after someone rejected me, criticized me, or hurt my feelings. I have wasted way too much time over the years allowing other people to make me feel inferior or worthless.
Why? Because during those times when my heart was wounded, I was so focused on the hurtful words or actions of another person, that I neglected to focus on who I was in Christ. My mind would become so ravaged with insecurities, pain, and feelings of inferiority, that I would inadvertently give my "rejecter" the power to convince me of who I was. As if their opinion trumped God's Word about the value of His children.
But in more recent years, through God's grace and mercy, I have learned to choose Choice #2 first. When someone hurts my feelings or rejects me, despite my pain and feelings of rejection, I immediately turn to God for confirmation, instead of soaking in the criticism of others.
I choose to focus on the real me.
The me, who God knew before He formed my body and soul in the womb. The me, who God had a special plan and purpose for. The me, whose Father knows the number of hairs on her head. The me, whose Savior catches all her tears in a bottle. The me, who is treasured enough to be forgiven of her sins and mistakes. The me, who is loved unconditionally by the Creator of the Universe.
The me, who is far from perfect, but who Jesus believed was important enough to die for.
The me, whose identity is determined by John 1:12 which says "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God —"
The me, who is precious and honored in God's sight as we are told in Isaiah 43:4.
When I choose to allow someone else to determine who I am, and lose sight of my value in Christ, then I get lost in a case of mistaken identity.
If you have been hurt by the sting of rejection, whether from years ago or just recently, maybe you have been struggling with a case of mistaken identity too.
Maybe you have been allowing the words of a hurtful person to make you feel "less than". Will you ask God to help you push aside those feelings, erase the wounds in your heart and mind, and embrace who He says you are? Will you commit to making Choice #2 a choice that you make every day?
If you are ready to toss out your mistaken identity, and reclaim your identity in Christ today, post a comment sharing your victory over the enemy! With God on our side, who can be against us?!
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