We all want to be loved, valued, and accepted. Rejection can quickly smear one or all three of these desires.
Rejection is real but its message is a lie which is why overcoming rejection is so important.
We can cover up rejection and act like it doesn’t affect us, but rejection leaves scars and can accumulate in our spirit.
By overcoming rejection through faith we counteract the feelings of being unwanted or dismissed. On the other hand, if we don’t address rejection’s effect on us, its destructive power can change the way we see ourselves.
To God, we have incredible value and He always loves us. When we are able to confidently walk in this identity we become better at overcoming rejection.
There are many signs of rejection–
- Not being invited.
- Not being noticed.
- A subtle (or not so subtle) expression.
- Not being heard.
- Being turned away from.
- Repeatedly being less favored.
- Being completely ignored.
I can feel the sting of rejection just writing the words.
Overcoming rejection is important because the aftershock of rejection can cripple us and permanently alter our ability to have positive, healthy relationships.
My first memory of rejection was in grammar school. My mom walked up and I suddenly noticed the stares and awkward giggles from my friends.
I had never felt different before, but we were different. That day the great divide was revealed and unfortunately reared its ugly head throughout my childhood.
My mom had arrived from Honduras as an adult and still proudly displayed her culture and language. Sometimes different is all it takes to experience the pain of being rejected.
I wrestled with rejection for years but also grieved for the cruelty my mom endured knowing that overcoming rejection was such a big part of her story.
Experiencing rejection from a stranger or acquaintance is hard, but rejection from those we love and are close to is even more painful. I have experienced both types and have learned the importance of overcoming rejection and moving on from the hurt.
Overcoming rejection can take a lifetime on our own, but with Jesus, it is possible to grow in confidence and strength to deflect its power.
“The Lord heals those who have a broken heart. He heals their sorrows.” Psalm 147:3 NLV
What is Rejection?
Rejection and betrayal are closely related; betrayal is broken trust and rejection is being dismissed or devalued.
When we are rejected, it is a form of betrayal if the rejection comes from a person we love and trust. Both are painful and occur too often in relationships.
Two ingredients that feed rejection are jealousy and self-absorption. But sometimes we reject others out of self-preservation. No one can escape the path of being rejected at some point.
In the New Testament, Paul repeatedly faced rejection from the people He once stood beside. Whether it was fear of the unknown or an unwillingness to be open to God’s spirit, many rejected Paul and his message of hope and salvation.
“But when the Jewish leaders saw the crowds, they were jealous and cursed and argued against whatever Paul said.” Acts 13:45 TLB
Sometimes rejection comes from a wounded spirit that needs affirmation which comes at the expense of another person. Understanding the source of rejection is an important step for overcoming rejection.
What is rejection? Perceiving that we are unworthy. Whether the rejection we are feeling is real or perceived, it is important to understand that overcoming rejection requires us to identify when it happens in order to heal.
Rejection strikes everyone but it does not define anyone. We are all wonderfully made and worthy of love.
Jesus, who was perfect, faced extreme persecution and rejection. Because of His love for us, Jesus experienced humiliating rejection that led to death. Jesus modeled that overcoming rejection is possible. Despite what they did to Jesus’ physical body, no one could alter His spirit.
“Isn’t this Mary’s son, the carpenter, the brother of Jacob, Joseph, Judah, and Simon? And don’t his sisters all live here in Nazareth?” And they took offense at him.” Mark 6:3 TPT
“Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’ Matthew 21:42 NLT
Overcoming the Fear of Rejection
Overcoming the fear of rejection is difficult especially when you repeatedly experience being rejected or are more sensitive to rejection.
Observing my children as toddlers, they did not have to overcome the fear of rejection. They learned about overcoming rejection through experience.
When we are not selected for activities, are left out of groups, and feel unnoticed, we pick up cues and learn the signs of rejection. In order to survive in relationships, we find strategies or tactics for overcoming rejection.
Overcoming the fear of rejection requires a new mindset. A pivot to what our purpose is and who we are in Christ. This eternal perspective guides us and gives us the strength to not fear relationships and the rejection they may bring.
Overcoming rejection does not mean it will stop happening to us. Unfortunately, rejection is a part of life. But rejection does not have to dominate our thoughts, actions, or decisions. We can find freedom, experience joy, and learn how to restore broken relationships.
Darryll Stinton’s theory is that by understanding who we are and what we are uniquely gifted and created to do, we can more healthily process the sting of rejection and turn the initial pain into strength to become a better version of ourselves.
Scriptures on Rejection
The Bible is one of the best tools to help us with overcoming rejection and living a joyful life in Christ despite what others do or say.
5 Scriptures on Overcoming Rejection
- “Listen to me, you that know what is right, who have my teaching fixed in your hearts. Do not be afraid when people taunt and insult you; they will vanish like moth-eaten clothing! But the deliverance I bring will last forever; my victory will endure for all time.” Isaiah 51:7-8 GNT
- “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 NLT
- “And so those whom God set apart, he called; and those he called, he put right with himself, and he shared his glory with them. In view of all this, what can we say? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 GNT
- “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NLT
- “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4 NLT
Examples of Rejection in the Bible
There are many examples of rejection in the Bible; stories of characters who faced rejection and recovered or lost their way. When we read the Bible and realize the people were real and faced many of the same struggles and trials we do, it leads us toward wisdom, healing, and growth.
Reading about others and how overcoming rejection is possible makes us stronger in our faith and in our relationships.
2 Examples of Overcoming Rejection in the Bible
Hagar is an example of overcoming rejection in the Bible
Hagar, Abraham’s mistress, bore his son, Ishmael. She was rejected by Sara to the point that she fled.
“So, after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.” Genesis 16:3-4 NIV
But on her journey, the Lord appeared to Hagar and guided her back so she could fulfill her purpose. I am sure, Hagar struggled with overcoming rejection but she was courageous; the Lord guided her path and her connection to God grew.
“The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.” Genesis 16:9-10 NLT
“Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” Genesis 16:13 NLT
David is an example of overcoming rejection in the Bible
David endured years of rejection from King Saul who was jealous of him and sought to have him killed.
Throughout this difficult time in his life, by overcoming rejection, David grew closer to God, forgave Saul, and wrote many of the Psalms that encourage us today.
“Of course, Saul was very angry. “What’s this?” he said to himself. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next, they’ll be making him their king!” So from that time on King Saul kept a jealous watch on David.” 1 Samuel 18:8-9 TLB
“And, he (Saul) said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. Yes, you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it.” 1 Samuel 24:17-18 NLT
“When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn. Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me. I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me. Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.” Psalms 142:3-5 NLT
Overcoming rejection is greatly facilitated when we believe God sees and values us just the way we are. Just like David and Hagar he can use you to shine His glory despite any rejection you are facing.
“To all who mourn…he will give beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for His own glory. Isaiah 61:3 TLB
Do you have stories of overcoming rejection in your life? Everyone does.
I recently asked a close friend about her experience with rejection. As we shared stories she said, “of course, I have been rejected but I am not overly sensitive to being rejected.” Overcoming rejection was an easier journey for her.
We both agreed that there are different tolerances to noticing and struggling with rejection. Some people are more sensitive to being rejected which makes overcoming rejection a more treacherous, painful journey.
Rejection sensitivity could be based on our background, choices, mistakes, experiences, or just how we are created, but regardless of our rejection tolerance, overcoming rejection is never fun or easy.
5 Tips for Overcoming Rejection
Overcoming rejection is hard but possible. I have grown so much through my trials with rejection.
Here are five tips to help you with overcoming rejection.
#1 Acknowledge that you were rejected.
To acknowledge means we accept the truth; we have been rejected. Acceptance has nothing to do with deserving rejection or being responsible for it. It is painful and disarming when someone rejects us. In order to not let the pain get buried in our spirit, acknowledging it is a great first step toward overcoming rejection.
#2 Read and study about your Identity in Christ.
When we read and study about our identity in Christ we grow in confidence and become more passionate about our purpose. Knowing we are loved and cared for propels us and helps us navigate overcoming rejection.
#3 Surround yourself with people who genuinely love and affirm you. Place boundaries around those who repeatedly reject you.
The people who surround us have a huge impact on the quality of our life. Living in the glow of people who love us provides a safety net and is empowering, but even people who love us make mistakes and cause pain through rejection. Positive relationships add and multiply exponentially more than they subtract and divide.
#4 Pray for courage to climb over or disregard rejection.
The benefits of prayer are numerous and life-changing. And when we are focusing on overcoming rejection, prayer plays a huge role in fighting discouragement. Communicating with God about our hurt and confusion gives us an important release in our spirit and soul.
#5 Flee from unforgiveness and bitterness.
Forgiving someone who rejected you is tough especially when it is repeated. But in order to be free and connected to God’s grace, we must forgive and let them off the hook. That doesn’t mean we forget and go in for more; that’s when healthy boundaries help us.
Overcoming rejection helps us gain wisdom, strength, and the ability to forgive.
Our connection to God is strengthened when we lean on Him to release us from the grip of rejection. If we carry rejection on our backs, it gets weighty and leads to disappointment, bitterness, and isolation.
God is faithful and will help us embrace our identity in Christ and boldly forgive those who reject us which are both critical elements to overcoming rejection.
Rejection is not the foundation of your identity, Jesus is.
My hope if you are struggling to overcome rejection, is that you turn your pain over to Jesus and trust that overcoming rejection is possible through faith in Him. Be encouraged…Jesus always sees, loves, and values you just the way you are!
“My dear friend, I pray that everything may go well with you and that you may be in good health—as I know you are well in spirit.” 3 John 1:2 GNT