Am I Worth Loving? | Wrestling with Rejection
In preparation to share my story at a Vanderbilt Greek retreat next weekend, I spent hours yesterday reading back through my college journals.
Several themes emerged from the pages, but I mostly wrote about desiring love. And rejection that seemed around every corner. I find it intriguing that when asked about my college years, I usually say something along the lines of, “Vanderbilt was great! I loved college”, but my journals show differently.
Everyone experiences rejection. We don’t get the jobs we apply for. We aren’t asked on a date to a formal or prom. We aren’t the class president. We experience break ups. I receive the most emails from women recounting rejection from a man they thought would be their husband.
Depending on where you are in your spiritual journey, rejection can surface deep questions about self. “Am I worth loving?”, “Is there something wrong with me?”, “Am I worthless?”, are a few questions I wrote over and over in my journals. Rejection can lead to deep self-hatred as I found in many failed dating experiences in college. What kind of questions do you ask when faced with rejection?
The spring of my freshman year in college, I picked up journaling after six months of ignoring God & prancing around fraternity row in midriff bearing shirts and wrote:
“So he calls me a bunch of times and wants me to come party in his suite. So I drank and went to towers. . .then basically ended up making out with him. He is such a great kisser–and didn’t even try to go farther. He kissed me like he loved me.
Today, he didn’t talk to me. Didn’t email me. Didn’t IM or call. It hurts–I feel so unloved, unattractive, and used. I hate myself again and again. I want him to call. I want him to want me. I want to fall in love. I want him to love me. . .
Whenever I look in the mirror, I see a girl hurting herself & others because she only wants to be loved.”
A few weeks after this entry, Mr. Come Party in My Suite told me he wanted to stop hanging out. I applied for a job as a camp counselor–at a camp I considered my “home away from home”–and wasn’t offered the position. The last journal entry for the year read, “Please God, do not let me be rejected again. I cannot take it anymore. . .or else I will have to wall my heart up and not feel anything.”
The rejection continued throughout college. I didn’t meet my husband. I wrestled with my decision to save sex for my husband. I may have “missed out” in college, but as a 26-year-old married to the love of my life, I cannot express how glad I am all those frat boys didn’t call me.
We must not quickly forget that when rejection takes the wind out of our sails, redemption is waiting to beckon our hope in a living God. This past Valentine’s day, Michael gave me a letter he wrote his future wife after a hard breakup. His words penetrated my heart, “My love, saying ‘no’ to her was in essence saying yes to you. I will continue to wait patiently for you.”
I believe all the rejection I faced in college was God’s protection. What if we started to see rejection differently–as protection from a loving God who has already accepted us.
“And Grace calls out. . .You may be insecure, inadequate, mistaken or pot-bellied. Death, panic, depression, and disillusionment may be near you. But you are not just that. You are accepted.’ Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted.” ― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
What is Grace telling you?
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