Sitting in a dorm room eight years ago I felt it. The anxious devastation that wells up in chest, the sick that lives in pit of stomach, the tears that threatened to blind, the lump in throat sure to block sweet air to lungs. Breathing came fast, individual breaths hitching as they came out torn.
“But… why?” I cried soundlessly, the anger having long blazed out of me, leaving only sorrow and confusion. “Was I not good enough?”
Rejection burned a hole in my identity as my tears slipped down my cheeks and I turned inward with my wondering. There was a part of me that knew this was not a problem with me. That this was not my doing, was not because I hadn’t “performed,” was not because I wasn’t pretty enough, talented enough, didn’t give enough, listen enough, wasn’t funny enough. But then, maybe it was that I was too much. Too emotional, too clingy, too loud, too opinionated, too honest, too… too many things.
But deep in the hallowed chambers of my heart, in the places we often neglect, where truth rings out like clock towers begging to be heard as more than just background noise, I knew intrinsically that it wasn’t my fault.
It wasn’t my fault that I had been cheated on.
I knew it, but I did not believe it. And knowing something never kept me from entertaining ideas that I shouldn’t.
Because what if… what if it was my fault? What if there was a problem with me? What if I was doomed to live these feelings of rejection for the rest of my life?
And in many ways I have. I have kept the fear on me, wearing it like a cloak of self-protection, afraid to feel the pain again.
There were other relationships that didn’t work out, messages that reinforced the idea that maybe I was experiencing rejection because there was something wrong with me. Someone would always be more desirable.
For years I lived under this idea without realizing it. Because if you asked me, I would have told you what I knew: Those relationships weren’t a good fit. Even friendships that didn’t work out or faded away, that’s just a part of life, of learning. It was not a testament on who I am as a person. Or at least that’s what I would have told you if you had asked me. It’s what I knew, but it was not what I truly believed.
I have lived as a woman at war with myself. Knowing the truth, but believing the lie. The lie that rejection was destined to follow me. Only a matter of time until it catches up… and then I would once again be the sobbing 18-year-old in a lonely dorm room wondering why such pain was happening.
All is grace? ALL?! Jesus, how is being cheated on grace? How is rejection grace? It certainly didn’t feel like grace. It felt like a curse.
I read on, “What if that which feels like trouble, gravel in the mouth, is only that- feeling? What if faith says all is… I think it. But do I really mean it?”
No, I hadn’t ever really meant it. I’ve wanted to mean it but never have. I thought back on the truth that I knew, not the fears I had believed on my bad days, my days of doubts, my days that did not go according to expectation so it was easy to believe the lies. The lies that said I was completely and utterly rejectable.
“All is grace only because all can transfigure.”
How was living under the weight and fear of rejection grace? How was it transfiguring? It felt like it was only making me afraid, neurotic, and insecure because of the scars of my past.
I thought harder. Thought back to eight years ago, to what my life would be now if I had not experienced those events that made me feel and question.
I would not live in California. I would not have gone to Australia, encountered God in fullness, found myself. I could be married to someone who was not pursuing God, perhaps even divorced due to more infidelity. I would not have the friends I have now, the relationship with a hilarious, God-loving, honorable man who challenges me. I would not have learned and grown in faith as I have. I would not have started She Has Worth. I know all of this with clarity. I would not even recognize my life. I shudder, not with rejection but with gratitude.
God opens my eyes.
I have never been rejected. Me, who I am as a person, has never been rejected, not truly. There have been experiences and hurts that have made me feel rejected, made me wonder if perhaps I am not good enough, if I have what it takes to be loved. But in the light and full revelation of His grace, I can see those events for what they are: transfiguring grace moments.
I have never been rejected, I have been protected.
God knew the deeper lifetime of hurt that I would face if I did not experience a little pain. He saw the big picture, the picture of the life He has for me, the people and adventures I would miss if I did not go through feelings of rejection to spark a change in lanes.
And I can see it now, the grace that was in the rejection. The absolute divine protection that was wrapped up in what, to me, looked like the ultimate dismissal. It goes further. Rejection did not mean that I wasn’t good enough, it meant that God loved me enough to protect me. To build a future brighter and better than the one I thought I wanted as an 18-year-old.
I was rejected because God was saving me for my purpose, rerouting me to deeper experience His glory. The rejection I thought was a curse, thought I was doomed to relive, was a blessing. It was the opening of a doorway to a fuller life and a deeper understanding of God, of who He has always been for me: Protector. He was my shield, even when I was unaware of Him
Yes, all is grace because all can transfigure.