“I gotta go straighten up, I’m having the girls over tonight,” she said as we got off the phone. I sat there with the phone pressed against my ear long after the call had ended. She was having her friends over and I wasn’t invited.
Throughout life, each one of us has experienced exclusion. From classmates chatting excitedly about this weekend’s sleepover to friends planning get-togethers without you to coworkers talking excitedly about last night’s dinner in the break room. This particular conversation on the phone, however, stung more than usual.
The woman on the other end of the call was my childhood best friend.
Over the past few months, I watched her form friendships with pretty amazing women at church, many of whom I had become friends with as well. But on this day it became apparent that I was not one of “the girls.” As the night went on, her social media profile filled with pictures of the ladies on their fun night together. They were smiling, laughing, and enjoying wonderful fellowship. Each picture was followed with the hashtag #jesusgirls.
Oh, how I wanted so badly to be a part of the #jesusgirls that night. Rejection slithered in like a snake and began feeding me lies. Que the feelings of abandonment and the negative inner monologue that many of us have unfortunately had.
Rejection comes from the Latin word rēicere which literally means “to throw back.”
And that is exactly what it tempts us to do. We can be thrown back into the shadows of despair. That’s what I did. I retreated. I stopped attending social functions. I canceled plans and stopped opening up in group Bible studies out of fear of further rejection. I pretended that I was comfortable in isolation. That I preferred to be home on the couch eating a Ben and Jerry’s and binge-watching Netflix. Fear of rejection kept me in a place of familiarity and isolation.
Retreating from relationships out of fear doesn’t actually help us in the long run though. Trying to do life alone is detrimental. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity and one who falls and has no one to help them up.” This verse emphasizes the benefits of companionship, friendship, and that sharing of life that brings relief from isolation.
It continues in verse 12 which says, “though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
The nerdy nurse inside of me couldn’t help but think of the human heart when reading that verse. The chordae tendineae, commonly known as the heart strings, are a group of elastic/collagen strands in the heart. To prevent the valves in our heart from blowing out under the extremely high blood pressure within the ventricles of the heart, these strands hold and support the valves to remain closed or open while the heart pumps vital blood to our body. Since the force of the blood is so strong one cord would not be sufficient enough to do this job, so there are multiple strings working together, supporting life. Isn’t God amazing?!
Just like the heart, we need people in our lives for support. We need them in the good times and in the bad times. We need them to keep us from blowing out under pressure, much like the strings in our hearts.
It didn’t’ take long for me to crumble under life’s pressures in my isolation.
I began longing for friendships once again. I cried out to my Father. I immersed myself in His truths and protected myself against the lies. In Christ, I found comfort and healing that I never could have found from another person. God used this season of loneliness to draw me closer in my relationship with Christ. And in that, I found freedom. Freedom from rejection and the chains that come with.
As I realigned my identity in Christ, I once again embraced His love for me.
From a place of fullness in Christ, God gave me the courage to start branching out again. I started by simply keeping plans that were made with friends. I determined to make my yes a yes and my no a no. I accepted invites to things I normally would never have said yes to. I went to a Lauren Daigle concert where I knew only one person in a group of women. I accepted coffee dates on my only day off of work while my house was a mess. I joined Bible studies as well as began leading one.
None of these things are easy for someone who has dealt with relational rejection. These simple things were difficult and awkward for me internally. I had to fight the lies that told me I was unloved and would never fit in. God has been faithful to me.
Throughout this journey, I have met people that I never would have met and formed relationships that would have otherwise never happened if I didn’t say yes.
Once we step out of our comfort zone and pursue relationships from a place of love, things begin to change.
As we navigate through life we form many different types of relationships. Some of these relationships are lifelong and some are for a season in our life. Each relationship formed in your life needed to happen in order for you to be who you are today. God is using the joys, sorrows, rejection, and acceptance to draw us closer to Him.
Looking back now, I’m grateful for my friend on the other line that day. I will park my mind in a place of sweet memories and gratitude of the journey God has used to grow me closer to Him and to others. I now know that I don’t have to be a #jesusgirl to accepted. I am already Jesus’s girl — and because of that, I will never be alone.
Please share your thoughts with me below!
- How have you faced relationship rejection?
- What do you think God wants to teach you in the midst of that rejection?
This guest post was written by Christina Zambrano. To submit a guest post to Girl Defined, please see our guidelines here.