I was recently part of a book club that chose a book about something I think we all experience but don’t like to talk about: rejection.
You know, those moments when people or situations make us feel small, unworthy or less than. In my own life, I’ve experienced rejection in lots of forms, and many of those experiences, I can still recall pretty vividly — the seemingly small moments of being excluded from a group of girls on the playground when I was eight-years-old, or finding out my 13-year-old crush liked somebody else. The times of not getting a job my heart was set on. The times of wondering if the person I want to impress really likes me. Moments of friends calling attention to my flaws. Moments of people dismissing me because of my gender or skin color or hair texture or speech pattern or beliefs. Moments of wanting my dad to love me in ways he wasn’t able to.
The book Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst deals with rejection in all these forms and is a worthwhile read for any Christian who wants to process the inevitable rejection life will throw at you.
This is the kind of book that I marked up dozens of times, because there were just so many good teachings and quotes. I sent an excerpt to a friend going through a tough time. I even read a passage during one of our church staff meetings (I’m sure Jordan loved that). I just found Lysa’s writing to be that rich.
Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from the book…
On why rejection stings:
“Rejection steals the best of who I am by reinforcing the worst of what’s been said to me.”
On the sneakiness of negative self talk/self-rejection:
“Self-rejection paves the landing strip for the rejection of others to arrive and pull on up to the gates of our hearts. Think about when other people say or do things that make you feel rejected. Isn’t it in part due to the fact they just voiced some vulnerability you’ve already berated yourself for? It hurts exponentially more when you’re kicked in an already bruised shin.”
“Which has really gotten me thinking about all the many times I assign thoughts to others that they never actually think. I hold them accountable to harsh judgments they never make. And I own a rejection from them they never gave me.”
On trying to earn love from people and things:
“Live from the abundant place that you are loved, and you won’t find yourself begging others for scraps of love.”
“People in everyday life can sniff out the neediness of a performer trying to earn love. Their instinct isn’t to clap but rather to be repulsed by the fakeness of it all and walk away.”
“He [God] waits every day with every answer we need, every comfort we crave, every affection we’re desperate for, while we look everywhere else but at Him.”
On how rejection can give us the ability to offer grace and forgiveness:
“Let your past rejection experiences work for you instead of against you by allowing them to help you sense the possible pain behind other people’s reactions.”
Uninvited gives really thoughtful steps on how to think less about the approval of others and focus on God’s unchanging love for us. If we’re secure in that love, rejection may still sting, but it certainly won’t have the power to define us.
Have you read Uninvited or any other good books lately? Would love to hear!