Picture of Ashley outside resting against a tree trunkHer greatest strength, the one that had enabled her to overcome incredible challenges, was not only being called into question but was condemned. It was our daughter’s first real job, her first time out of state, on her own. Really, her first steps into the world of adulthood. But a critical roommate turned what God intended for a blessing into months of rejection and pain.

And as I listened to her relay all her roommate had said and done, my anger and sorrow began to rise. Had we been discussing an issue of sin, then perhaps I could’ve understood. Even agreed with the young woman, encouraging my daughter to embrace truth as she attempted to grow in her faith and talents.

And perhaps had our daughter been home, surrounded by her friends, her support system, the criticism wouldn’t have cut so deeply. But there she sat, over 1,000 miles away, barely twenty years old and embracing a role many adults would find intimidating, and her every move, her every word, her very identity, was being challenged. To make matters more confusing, this other woman, who was older than my daughter, claimed to be a Christian, and often used Scripture to back up her condemnations.

“Mom, what’s wrong with me?” my daughter asked.

My response: “Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Do not let her challenge the core of who you are. Those things that make you strong. That make you you.”

Though my daughter knew I was right, it was hard to shake off the insecurity her roommate triggered. Those inner lies that cropped up when life became hard and others acted ugly, lies that told her she was annoying or not good enough kept playing through her mind.

But my daughter kept pressing, kept praying, and kept going to work each day, refusing to cower to one woman’s faulty opinion. And over time, reality hit. She began to notice instances when her roommate was critical of others, belittled others behind their back, and viewed everyone and everything through a lens of judgment. This provided the context that allowed my daughter to see the situation more clearly.

She gained the wisdom necessary to shake off the rejection and move forward in godly confidence.

In Matthew 7:5, Jesus instructs us, when in relational conflict, to first remove the beam out of woman praying with text of quote pulled from articleour eye so that we can see clearly. In context, He’s addressing the person doing the judging, the person with a critical spirit, but I believe the general principle applies to both sides. So often, we have planks, whether pride, areas of deception, or wounds caused by past hurts, that distort our vision. Only God can see the situation clearly. Therefore, the best thing we can do, whenever conflict arises, is to seek Jesus. To ask Him to show us what’s really going on—our role and the other person’s.

When we do that, we may find, as my daughter did, that the issue isn’t about us at all. Other times, He may show us areas we need to change. Either way, by leaning into Him and seeking His wisdom, we step deeper into freedom and in situations like my daughter experienced, learn to move from rejected to deeply and wholly loved.

If this post encouraged you, pop over to the Wholly Loved website to watch a short video devotion on “shaking off the dust” of rejection. You can watch it HERE.

I also encourage you to sign up for my free quarterly e-mailing to receive great content (short stories, inspirational messages, recipes, and more) sent directly to your inbox. You can do that HERE.

As a freelance writer, I love helping new writers and as a result, I spend a fair amount of time doing critiques. The other day I had to send a less than glowing critique to someone I care about. It was hard. Selfishly, I wanted to cushion my words, but I knew doing so would only hurt my friend. And so, praying our relationship withstood my honest feedback, I sent the email. Why? Because one thing I learned early on–if I want to grow, in life or in my career, I need to learn to accept, and grow from, rejection. In fact, as Julie Arduini points out in the following article, quite often, rejection can be a great opportunity for improvement, even promotion…if handled well.

Thankful For Rejection by Julie Arduini

I thought I’d share today why I’m thankful for rejection.

You read it right, I’m thankful when I experience rejection.

That doesn’t mean I enjoy it or look forward to it, but I’ve finally reached the place that I understand it isn’t just part of life, it’s necessary and an opportunity for me to grow. A few years ago I read Becoming Lovers: From Disciple of Christ to the Bride of Christ and I believe it was in those pages Joy Chickonoski talked about rejection meaning promotion.

Yep, you read that right, too. Rejection means promotion.

That took me a long time to understand. Not so long ago I went through a season of personal rejection that if it were possible, could have turned me inside out because it felt so brutal. It was consistent and one of the most painful times of my life. But when it started I clung to the Lord and asked for His help. I relied on His strength and became a true picture of the person being carried in the “Footprints in the Sand” poem. The more I surrendered my hurt and fears, the stronger I became. I received step-by-step direction on how to lovingly respond that I believe was Holy Spirit led. When that season reached the apex I was able to deliver truth with a peace that absolutely passed any definition man could have. I knew whatever happened next, it would be okay.

Fast forward and everyone involved in that season is better for that rejection. It was a valley experience that refined me. Since then I’ve faced writing rejection and things of that nature that I feared for decades. After thriving past that true rejection, the other kinds didn’t seem that daunting anymore. If anything, I licked my wounds, laughed, and moved on.

Photobucket image

I read a lot and I interact with a lot of people in different circles. As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach I’m observing so many people battling rejection. Perhaps it is marriage related and custody or perhaps in-law issues. Family wounds with parents or siblings. The unemployment rate is a big factor this year to families across the country and although most of the time a layoff or job loss isn’t personal, it sure feels that way. Friendships or relationships that are barely hanging on or ended. Rejection is the understudy in a play praying the lead gets sick so they can take over.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. When I write things I’ve either recently come through it or am going through it right now. If you can relate to rejection, are you able to embrace it? Can you be thankful for it?

(BTW, Jeannie Campbell has a great post about a fundraiser for author Sandi Rog that includes prizes. Sandi is going through her own valley experience and your help would be a blessing. Thanks!)

Julie Arduini is a writer and speaker residing in NE Ohio with her husband and two children. Her work is included in such works as the Peculiar People Project’s Delivered and Guideposts Incredible Answers to Prayer series. She’s editing her contemporary romance, Spectacular Falls. She’s a webinar presenter through Christian Women Affiliate and is a team blogger with Christians Read. Her passion is to encourage audiences to find freedom through surrender, but knows it has to start with her. She’s surrendering the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate. You can contact her through her website.

**Remember, if you loved today’s post and want to see it in my top three of 2011, FB share it, tweet it, “like” it, or leave a comment.