Am I Worth Loving? | Wrestling with Rejection

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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Comments
25 Responses to “Am I Worth Loving? | Wrestling with Rejection”
  1. This is great Ruthie. Just this week a door was closed and it was something I really had my heart set on. Alas, I was only disappointed for a 15 mins because I just know that something better is around the corner (or a few blocks away, who knows!). I trust Him and it feels good.

  2. Rachel says:

    Oh I so needed to hear that this morning! Thanks, Ruthie.

  3. Christy says:

    Thanks for this great post, Ruthie. I remember having those same feelings about rejection in college (and even since then). I love what your husband did for you on Valentine’s Day. That actually makes me want to go back through my journals to find some of the prayers I wrote for my future husband so I can type them up and give them to the man who is now my husband. So thanks for the inspiration!

  4. I got chills reading this! So often we see rejection as something that happens because there’s something wrong with us rather than just a way for God to protect us and keep us in His will. Easier to say than believe :) But it is truth.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      I’m glad it resonated. Yes, much easier to say than believe. I wish college freshman Ruthie had this post to read! Sometimes God does make it easy on us and the guy breaks up with us instead of telling us the relationship isn’t right and waiting for us to take action. I’m glad for all those guys that didn’t find me worth pursuing!

  5. Anna Kaye says:

    “Whenever I look in the mirror, I see a girl hurting herself & others because she only wants to be loved.” So true. I struggle with seeing myself the way God sees me. This line totally defines why I’ve made some of choices/mistakes in my life.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Wow. Anna. Hard stuff. I hate to hear that you are in the place. Please please ask someone to journey with you during this time. Believe the truth. You are redeemed, chosen, accepted.

  6. Madison Miller says:

    I applied for a counselor position at a summer camp too and didn’t get it. I felt like such a failure. So many of my friends got the job or got positions at other camps. I wondered why God wasn’t using me like He was using my friends. A month or so later I realized I would have to take summer school in order to graduate on time (I’ve switched majors once or twice haha). God knew I needed to take summer school, I just needed to trust Him. A lot of times my idea of how my life is supposed to be goes completely wrong, and I forget that God has a better plan for me than I can even imagine.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways higher than our ways. He always knows better. Glad you are discovering the truth of this verse from Isaiah in your own life!

  7. R says:

    Hi Ruthie, good to see you back on track again and I hope Michael is also doing well. I have been going through a break up (I feel like a broken record now) and the past two weeks have been for me the best in a while because I have resisted to calls and texts from my ex. I have been so strong. He seems to be hurting and has been telling me over and over that I am his queen. Actually the final straw was about two weeks ago when we ended up together after meeting at a club and we went to his place. In the morning I needed to call my sister because she had my phone and when he gave me his phone I scrolled through it and saw someone saved as baby. Turned out to be the 21 year old he has been running around with while we were breaking up. I lost it Ruthie broke mugs plates and cups at his house and well…he beat me up. I left his house and I have not turned back…….last week a friend introduced me to this guy who is single and all….we met and somehow (well he works out of town) he ended up spending the night at my house. I felt set up because everything happened so fast…..we did it, day one of meeting. I felt awful in the morning and I knew this was not the path I wanted. I have not had sex in such a while why did this happen this way. Well me and the new guy dont seem so keen on each other…..ofcourse I feel rejected because despite it all at least I wanted him to be all over me. He calls only once in a while. I now dont think he is the one and besides am still healing from my break up…….Ruthie am in shumbles

    • Toun Anjous says:

      Hi Ron, my heart goes out to you. First, you are not alone. Despite what you may think, a lot of people (not just ladies) have experienced what you are going through in varying degrees. You’ve been hurt and are now yearning for a void to be filled by anyone and that is normal. The truth is, that void can only be filled by God. Do not be too hard on yourself. Start to see yourself as God sees you – chosen, not condemned and loved unconditionally. Also read Romans 8:29.
      I am sure Ruthie would have more too say on this.

      • Ruthie Dean says:

        Hi R,

        I’m so glad Toun stepped in to encourage you. I cannot imagine the pain you are undoubtedly experiencing now. This story truly broke my heart. I know you feel like those broken plates and mugs, but you will not forever. God always always always always always always redeems. He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west and sees our pain. I love that Toun told you don’t be too hard on yourself–please accept God’s grace & know you are never condemned! We are all sinners–in the same sinking boat. God will piece you back together slowly and the broken places will become healing for others down the road. Just fall back in His arms and remember–He always redeems!

  8. Rachel says:

    You’re post really just encouraged me in so many ways. I have been rejected in the sense of seeing guys I liked end up with other girls. Most recently I liked a guy and I just found out he now has a girlfriend. It’s so hard and it really hurts. I know the Lord has a plan for me but sometimes it’s just so hard. I know the Lord is good and I know his ways are higher. I am really trusting in Him and leaning on Him more than ever…I feel as if His grace and goodness is the only thing that keeps me going.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Sister–so hard to read about your rejection. I remember all the guys I liked in college who chose other women and it was incredibly difficult not to compare. You are good enough. Just remember. Blessings to you!

  9. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I don’t know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already ;) Cheers!

  10. AJ says:

    Oh gosh! Good post!

    I do want to say that this doesn’t just apply to women, it applies to men out there too!! If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been rejected, then well I wouldn’t still have school loans from my undergrad (that would be amazing lol)! God really does work in our lives and after the times I’ve traveled on The World Race (11 countries to 11 months) I see every instance where God was there working, protecting me, planning things for who I would meet who have had impacts on my life, and everything! It’s pretty remarkable!! It’s also why I have a poem/letter to my future wife on my blog haha.

    To all you ladies (married, dating or single), you are BEAUTIFUL, completely LOVED by God for the reason that He loves you because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you (infinity), and you are special to Him! Psalm 116: 1-2. He hears your voices, prayers, cries, sighs, tears and He is working on YOUR behalf! He is always faithful! In the meantime, I would encourage you to treat every man in your life or who you come across with respect and love as the Prince of God He is for God loves them and calls them Princes just as He calls you all Princesses…that does NOT mean be walked all over and what not…it means to just love. Also, love yourself! You cannot truly love others without loving yourself and by ‘love’ I mean ‘agape’ love…which in the ancient Greek meant a love that desired the best for someone else!

    To all the men out there (married, dating, or single), frickin’ stop being boys and actually be men! Some of ya’ll are doing fantastic, continue doing what you do by loving the women in your life or that you will meet with respect and care and as the Daughters of God they are! You don’t have to see all of them as ‘sisters in Christ’ b/c realistically that’s going to get awkward at some point, but you do have to treat them with respect and love. For those who just play video games and act more immature than some ten-year-olds out there, put on your big-boy pants and man up! It’s time for the men of God to rise up and take care of the women around us and stop letting the enemy perpetrate so many wounds on the ones God loves so much!! Also, the same about loving yourself and agape love as above applies to you too as men! Don’t be insecure…own who you are! He created you to be mighty warriors, so be mighty warriors capable of praying for others and bold in every aspect of life! Don’t just pray for boldness, He’s already given it to you…so BE BOLD!

    Okay…rant done. I think. Thanks for the post!!

  11. Cameron A. says:

    I was recently rejected by a girl I was interested in on Facebook. And, it wasn’t the first time that I was rejected on Facebook, but probably will be the last because I feel like Facebook doesn’t have the same affect as talking to someone in person. On facebook people don’t have to reply to your message, which can leave you feeling confused about your self worth and whether you said something wrong. But, in person, people can’t simply ignore your approach or they will be the ones to look weird.

  12. Nicole says:

    Wow…this is exactly what I needed to hear. I am going through exactly what you’re saying about a guy who called me to hang out a few times and was so charming and all that…and then I don’t hear from him for three weeks. I’ve been asking those EXACT same questions you mentioned! And it’s hard. But thanks for reminding me that’s not WHO I am…only WHAT’S happening.

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