From a young age, little girls learn what is expected of them and how to achieve that expectation. Perceived failure to meet that expectation leads to the painful feeling of rejection.
Whether being rejected by family members, teachers, coaches, or peers in the classroom, rejected girls become rejected teens become rejected women. Rejection is a seed that, once it takes root, spreads its negative emotions and behaviors in other facets of life. It impacts decisions and life choices.
In No Longer Rejected: A Woman's Journey from Rejection to Freedom, author Janice Broyles highlights several aspects of rejection and takes a look at what it means to be rejected and how isolating it can be. Through inspirational narratives and a study of Biblical accounts of women, connections will be drawn from one circumstance to the next. Women who have experienced heart-wrenching, agonizing rejection will be discussed, along with how God proved to be ever-faithful in every situation.
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About the Author
Janice Broyles has been serving in ministry since she started teaching Sunday school at fourteen. Currently, she teaches English and communications at a local college while assisting her pastor and his wife with their Sunday school program. She also speaks at women's meetings, encouraging others to overcome through Christ.
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No Longer Rejected
A Women's Journey from Rejection to Freedom
By Janice Broyles
CrossLink PublishingCopyright © 2016 Janice Broyles
All rights reserved.
What Did I Do Wrong?
Do you remember the first time you experienced rejection? I do not necessarily recommend dwelling on past events, especially negative ones, but this memory seems to be easy for most of us to recall.
I remember distinctly the first time I ever felt rejected. A little girl in our church had turned six and her mother had decided to throw her a party. All the girls from the Sunday school class had been invited. Other than me. At least that's what I heard.
Interestingly enough, I would have never discovered the birthday party in the first place if my mother would have handled the situation better. Or more quietly. One Sunday morning after church, my mother came to the classroom to retrieve me. One look and I knew Mom wasn't happy. She snatched my arm and dragged me out of the room. My little mind worked frantically trying to figure out what I might have done to upset her.
That's when the confrontation began.
We had just turned the corner when the mother of the other little girl tried to walk past. My mother stepped in front of her. "Why isn't Janice invited to the birthday party?" My mother was never one to beat around the bush.
The woman glanced down at me, then smiled at my Mom. "I'm sorry, Sharon. We could only invite a few."
"All the other girls are invited," my mother countered.
At this point, the hall had become crowded, and I realized that Mom had attracted some attention. I tugged at her arm to leave.
I don't recall any more of the embarrassing conversation, but I do remember sitting in the car on the way home. Mom ranted almost the entire way about how when we have a party we wouldn't invite that family, and that I shouldn't feel bad. But I did. Mom was upset, so I should be upset. She cried, so I cried.
Little did I realize I would struggle with rejection for the rest of my life.
* * *
For many of us women, understanding rejection doesn't take a lot of science. Not when we've been rejected. One definition I found interesting says that rejection is "to discard as useless or unsatisfactory."
Have you ever felt discarded? It could have been something as simple as a boy walking away from you to shower some other girl with his attention. It could also be something deeply rooted, such as years of pining for your father's attention and love but him never being around, whether physically or emotionally.
Rejection, at its core, is a struggle of worth. It says we aren't good enough; we're not worth loving; we're not worth caring about; we're not worth the next job or promotion; we're not worth fighting for.
None of those statements are true, especially when it comes to our Heavenly Father:
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
II Corinthians 12:9
Yet, it seems easier to believe I'm not worth anything than to believe that my worth is of great value. But here's a news flash, God's Word doesn't lie:
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her place is far above rubies.
"Tell that to the person who rejected me!" you might counter. "They didn't act like I was above the dirt beneath their shoe, let alone some priceless gem!"
I get it. Truly, I do. Inadequacy is a powerful emotion, and one that our enemy uses relentlessly to keep us from living out our purpose in Christ. Thus, it is an internal battle that we must win. In order to do that, we have to come to terms with the "Why" behind it happening in the first place.
The question that is normally asked (at least it's what I normally ask) is: why did it happen to me? Other variations include (but are certainly not limited to):
What did I do to deserve this?
If I had tried harder, could I have been successful and avoided rejection?
What can I change to make them like me?
Am I unlikable? Unlovable?
Will I ever be good enough?
The challenge with asking these questions is that it places the blame on the one who had to face and endure the rejection. This is not to assume that we do not bring negative circumstances upon ourselves through bad decisions and negative actions or reactions, but many times we are rejected for reasons outside of our control, or for reasons that are not logical, or we are simply rejected without ever knowing why.
Even though the battlefield of rejection is oftentimes played out with spoken words or deliberate actions as weapons, our wounds are internal. We might lash out occasionally, but usually we hide them so that no one will see the fatal blows to our heart. A close look at our society shows that these feelings can develop into self-loathing. And it affects us, changing the way we view our lives and the way we raise our children.CHAPTER 2
Why Did God Let This Happen?
After graduating from the University of Michigan in December of 1999, I pursued a career as soon as I had the degree in my hand. Every day I would mail out resumes. From Sterling Heights to the West side of Detroit, I lined up interviews over the entire Metro area. I would practice my interview in front of the mirror, dress in my nicest business suit, and review my portfolio.
And I would pray. As soon as a school district would call me, I'd begin my prayer routine. It went something like this: "Please, please, please, please, please, give me this job. Please!" I would walk around the house, naming it and claiming it. Out of the dozen interviews over the greater Detroit area, surely God would hand me the perfect one.
I didn't land one of them.
I went through the entire winter and spring of 2000 without a teaching job lined up for fall. June came, and I was officially worried. That's when I received the call for an interview from Rochester Hills Community Schools. This was it. THE job. I had worked for Rochester Hills as a substitute teacher and wanted a teaching position there in the worst way. Man, you want to talk about prayer time! Granted I was doing most of the talking, and most of what I said revolved around the word, "Please," but I was fairly certain this interview was from God, and the position was mine.
The interview couldn't have gone any better. I answered the questions just as I had practiced. I smiled and was engaging. They smiled back. At the end of the interview when I shook their hands, the head principal shook my hand last and said, "You will hear from us."
I walked out of that interview grinning from ear to ear. I thanked God as soon as I got to the car. I told my husband and my friends that God had given me my dream job.
Two days later I received a call from the head principal at Rochester Hills Community Schools. She told me it was such a difficult decision, but they had decided on someone else.
I hung up the phone and felt utterly defeated. At first I cried, asking God "Why?" Then I became angry. "Why are you doing this to me?" I yelled up at the ceiling. This had been the thirteenth school district to say no.
When I called my friend to vent, she quickly put me in my place. "So, you're angry at God because He's not giving you what you want, when you want it? It's easy to trust Him when everything is going your way, but can you trust Him when it isn't?"
Needless to say I hung up the phone extremely annoyed and even more convicted. I had to make a decision. Would I allow the rejections of all those school districts to defeat me? Or would I trust in God to see me through?
At the end of July I received a full-time job offer 200 miles north of the Metro area. God directed us where He wanted us. And that Rochester Hills job? The following year, I read that the district had to lay off all the new hires from the previous years because of funding issues. Now looking back, I can see how God's hand was on the entire situation.
His will is not to hurt us. His will is perfect and good. We may have to deal with rejection, but trust me, God's got it all figured out.
Rejection Was Not God's Plan
Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
Eve just had to eat the fruit. We can't even blame Adam because he took a bite after Eve did. Simply put, Eve had been beguiled. She had believed a lie. One that told her that God was holding out on her. God had secrets and He wasn't sharing, or so said the serpent. Yes, it was a bad decision on Eve's part, but consider the consequences of that decision. She and her husband were evicted. Cast out from the garden and sentenced to a life of toil and hard labor. Can you imagine the conversation between Adam and Eve? I doubt that evening's dinner was enjoyable.
Even though I sympathize over their situation — and try very hard not to judge — it's important to note that none of that was God's plan. He created them to develop a relationship with Him. Part of relationship is choice; choosing to be with someone is much more intimate than being forced to be with Him. By listening to the enemy, Eve altered the rest of existence. Not the best thing to being remembered for, is it?
Rejection then, from the very beginning, grew from a lie. It is the result of sin.
What is comforting, though, is that God had only planned on us receiving his best. Agony and despair were not a part of his formula. And God loves us so much that He already had a plan of action in order to reconcile us back to Him. He doesn't like being separated from us. Sin created a chasm between us and God, and God's own son shed his innocent blood to bridge that gap. When we live a life of defeat and dissatisfaction as a result of past hurts and rejections, we remove ourselves from Him, despite everything He's done to bring us closer.
We can't make the same mistake Eve made and listen to the voice of the enemy.
Rejection Does Not Mean Failure
And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.
And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? Would ye stay for them from having husbands? Nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of theLord is gone out against me.
And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.
And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God ...
Sometimes people reject us by saying no. That does not necessarily mean that the door is shut forever. Naomi, from the book of Ruth, had lost her husband and then recently lost her two sons. She would naturally be mourning the loss of her family. When she decided to head back to Judah, her family's homeland, her two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, packed up to go with her. At some point in the journey, Naomi stopped and told the two younger women to go home to their mothers' house. The Bible says that she wished them well, and even cried with them, but none of that changed her mind. She wanted them to go back to Moab.
The Scripture shows us how the two young women handled Naomi's decision. Orpah took Naomi's no and turned around and went home. Ruth did not. Ruth pushed past the initial rejection and insisted on going with Naomi. The Bible says she "clave unto her." Ruth ended up marrying Boaz and was used by God to be the bloodline of Jesus.
When faced with rejection, or someone telling you "No," don't immediately assume failure. How many successful authors and entrepreneurs heard "No," yet continued on the path they thought they were meant for? Sometimes that "No" means God is redirecting you, and sometimes a "No" simply means that you need to press on. Seek God and trust Him to direct you because in his eyes, rejection doesn't mean failure.
Rejection is Not the End
And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.
And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?
And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
Genesis 18: 10–14
When God is given control, rejection will not have the final say. This can be seen in several Biblical accounts such as Sarah, in Genesis 18, and Elizabeth, in the book of Luke.
Both women felt the rejection of their communities because of their barren wombs. Both must have had feelings of dejection and doubt watching other women bearing what Sarah and Elizabeth only longed for. Yet God knew exactly what He was doing and, in the end, Sarah and Elizabeth delivered a promised child of God.
Sometimes a rejection, or a "No," is really a "not right now." Trust that God's perfect timing will be fulfilled.CHAPTER 3
Rejected by Religious Leaders Mary Magdalene
I was the golden child of my church. I even have the awards to prove it.
Camper-of-the-year at church camp. I beat out a little over 200 campers. The reward honored a camper who reflected Jesus and whose heart yearned for a future with the Lord. I guess I demonstrated that more than the others. Yay, me.
Student-of-the-year at our church school. I won the most awards during that end-of-the-year ceremony than anyone else. Not that I'm bragging.
Teen-of-the-year at church. I won that award twice. Once as a fourteen-year-old, and then I won again as a seventeen-year-old. For the record, I think I'm the only one who won that award more than once.
Sheaves for Christ Scholarship recipient. I had the honor of winning this notable scholarship through my church denomination's international organization. It would pay for the first two years of Bible College. This had been a major honor.
When I packed up and headed to Bible College, I thought I was ready for the next chapter of my overachieving, people-pleasing life.
Nine months later I would be kicked out of that Bible College. Heartbroken, scared, and ashamed.
Simple: I met a boy.
I understood the rules of the college. No dating freshman year. No dating members of the foundational church's youth. And no touching. Definitely none of that. But that didn't matter when the young man expressed interest in me. I had been the awkward girl through most of my teenage years, so I fell hard for the fellow from the church. He wasn't a college student, so the rules didn't apply to him. So, what did I do? I learned to date around the rules. This involved a lot of love letters and secret meet-ups, especially during the night. Since I had been on the ground floor of the dorms, getting in and out of my window had been easy.
Getting caught was bad. Every church girl's worst nightmare.
Sitting in the college president's office with the boy's parents and several members of the College Board was even worse. Being called a liar and other cruel words by the president, who happened to be a minister I respected and admired, nearly brought me to my knees.
Excerpted from No Longer Rejected by Janice Broyles. Copyright © 2016 Janice Broyles. Excerpted by permission of CrossLink Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Part 1 Rejected! 1
Chapter 1 What Did I Do Wrong? 3
Chapter 2 Why Did God Let This Happen? 7
Part 2 You Are Not Alone! 15
Chapter 3 Rejected by Religious Leaders-Mary Magdalene 17
Chapter 4 Rejected by Her Husband-Leah 25
Chapter 5 Rejected by Men-Tamar 35
Chapter 6 Rejected by Her Father-Michal 47
Chapter 7 Rejected by Other Women-Woman at the Well 57
Chapter 8 Rejected by Coworkers-Hagar 67
Chapter 9 Rejected by Her Community-Mary 77
Chapter 10 Rejected by Society-Esther 85
Chapter 11 Rejected by Circumstances-Hannah 93
Part 3 Breaking Free! 103
Chapter 12 Breaking Free/The Truth about Rejection 105
Chapter 13 Breaking Free/The Truth about Priorities 113
Chapter 14 Breaking Free/The Truth about Relationships 121
Chapter 15 Breaking Free/The Truth about Yourself 129
Chapter 16 Breaking Free/The Truth about Our Savior 135
Epilogue: My Letter to You 141
End Notes 147