How to Overcome Rejection and Find True Significance

My True Worth

Overlooked. Ignored. Forgotten. Alone.

We’ve all been there and perhaps are right now. Whether it’s an event we weren’t invited to, a relationship gone south, or walking out of church feeling ignored, the feelings of rejection and insignificance hurt. Sometimes those feelings come from simply being single and celibate in a world that glorifies being in a relationship with a significant other.

But what if the reason for these incidents and for our singleness isn’t rejection, but because we are chosen – chosen by God for something bigger than the warm feelings we get from being included, spoken to, or valued in a relationship? What if God thwarts our attempts to experience false significance in order that we find real significance?

Many voices, Christian and non-Christian alike, tell us our significance comes from being loved and accepted by others and from our performance – including our abilities, roles in life, and obedience of rules. In other words, others’ opinions + our performance = our value. That’s an impossible formula of variables that we can’t control and that in reality have nothing to do with our true value!

Loved. Forgiven. Fully Pleasing. Accepted. Complete.

There’s only One who can place a genuine value on us, and that is the One who created us. That value is reflected in the fact that He gave His life for us (“No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13). In addition we have His Word that reveals our true worth.

Quite a few years ago a group of friends and I met together to discuss the book, The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee, which had a huge impact on all of us. Originally published in 1985, it is still being published over 30 years later, indicating the impact it continues to have on countless individuals.

At the heart of the book are four lies that prevent us from realizing our true significance, and the four truths that reveal our true worth. Not everyone believes all four of these lies, but almost all of us struggle with at least one. I know I do.

 

The Four Lies and God’s Truth to Replace Them

The Performance Trap

Lie # 1: I must meet certain standards in order to feel good about myself.

Believing this lie results in fear of failure, perfectionism, being driven to succeed, manipulating others to achieve success, withdrawal, anger,   resentment, pride, depression, and low motivation.

God’s Truth: I am completely forgiven and fully pleasing to God and no longer need to fear failure.

This truth is based on justification in Christ. Because of Jesus, it is just as though I had never sinned!

“Therefore, since we have been justified [declared righteous] by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)

The Approval Addiction

Lie # 2: I must be approved (accepted) by others to feel good about myself.

Believing this lie results in fear of rejection, people-pleasing, being overly sensitive to criticism, withdrawing from others to avoid disapproval, being easily manipulated, codependency, and trying to control others.

God’s Truth: I am totally accepted by God and no longer need to fear rejection.

This truth is based on reconciliation — being brought into a right relationship with God through Jesus.

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” (Colossians 1:21-22)

The Blame Game

Lie #3: Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished.

Believing this lie results in fear of punishment, blaming and punishing others for personal failure, withdrawal from God and others, and being driven to avoid failure at all costs.

God’s Truth: I am deeply loved by God and no longer have to fear punishment or need to punish myself or others.

This truth is based on propitiation, which means that God’s requirement for holiness and justice is satisfied completely by Christ dying in our place.

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:9-11)

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

Shame

Lie #4: I can’t help it, it’s just the way I am. I cannot change. I am hopeless.

Believing this lie results in feelings of shame, hopelessness, inferiority, and helplessness; passivity; loss of creativity; isolation; withdrawal from others; and being resigned to failure.

God’s Truth: I am absolutely complete and righteous in Christ. I am a new creature and have a new identity—who I am in Jesus!

This truth is based on regeneration — the fact that we are reborn through Jesus.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:22)

The Truth Will Set You Free!

If these lies and the need to replace them with God’s truth strike a chord in your heart, I encourage you to get the book and read it, and perhaps even get together with a group of friends to study it together.

I don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t benefit from learning these truths or being reminded of them. I’m amazed how often I think I’ve finally mastered being secure in my significance in Jesus, only to be blindsided by another of Satan’s tactics to get me to believe his lies about me rather than God’s truth about myself!

One of my favorite Scriptures is John 8:32: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The problem with the lies about our worth is that they cause us to struggle in our own attempts to attain a standard we never can. But choosing to believe God’s truth in their place can instantly set us free to know our significance in Jesus, and to focus instead on living purposefully for Him!

How about you? Do you struggle with any of these lies? Have you been set free by God’s truth, or are you still struggling to meet what the lies demand of you?

Related posts:

Escaping the Blues

When we choose to praise God no matter our circumstances, we naturally begin to trust His goodness, and that trust leads to joy!

We’ve all experienced it. That feeling that ranges from simply feeling “blah” to feeling downright hopeless and depressed. It’s called the “blues.”

“Nothing can make a trusting Christian blue,” I’ve heard somewhere along the way. The implication that if we’re feeling blue we’re not trusting God puts us all on the defensive a bit. After all, I doubt any of us have escaped a time when we felt down.

Isn’t it perfectly normal to feel down at times, especially when bad things happen, or when life isn’t the way we’d like it to be, or when others treat us in hurtful ways?

Well, yes and no. While it’s true that feelings of sadness, grief, and disappointment are perfectly normal responses to undesirable circumstances and it’s important we process those feelings, we can still simultaneously be experiencing joy in Jesus.

Seem impossible? How do we move from being overwhelmed and controlled by negative feelings to experiencing joy even in the middle of undesirable circumstances? Don’t the circumstances have to change first?

I’m so grateful that joy and contentment in Jesus are not dependent on circumstances! We can’t control circumstances, but we can experience continual contentment and joy, no matter what. How is that possible?

The number one step to experiencing joy is fully believing that God is good, no matter what.

Belief in God’s goodness is foundational to trusting Him. When we doubt that He is good, or that everything He does is good, our trust in Him is on shaky ground. Our joy is, too.

We doubt God’s goodness when we blame Him for the bad that is a result of living in an imperfect world full of imperfect people. When we blame God, we create a distance in our relationship with Him that keeps us from turning to Him in full trust so He can help us. How can we receive help from Someone whom we are blaming for the bad?

When my brother-in-law was sick with cancer, my sister often made the statement, “God is good all the time.” Even though at the time she didn’t know if her husband would live or die, she was intentionally reinforcing her belief in the fact that no matter what was happening or would happen, God was just as good then as He was when all was going well.

Experiencing negative circumstances does not mean that God is not good!

God’s goodness is that He never forsakes us, even when everyone else does.

God’s goodness is that He walks with us “through the valley of the shadow of death.”

God’s goodness is His mercy and grace when He sends a friend to encourage us or points us to a Scripture that lifts our spirits.

God’s goodness is in the many little blessings of enjoyment we encounter every single day: a million stars sparkling against a black sky, a child smiling at us, the delicious flavor of a food we love, or a phone call from a friend.

The second step to finding joy is being grateful.

“Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 HCSB)

Some have debated whether this verse means to give thanks for everything, even the bad, or if it simply means to give thanks to God no matter what happens.

Whichever it means or however you choose to interpret it, it seems evident that God is looking for a heart that praises Him because it shows our complete trust in Him and His goodness. Not only does our gratefulness bring Him much glory, but when we choose to praise Him our hearts naturally begin to trust His goodness, and that trust leads to joy.

The next time you feel blue, first of all recognize that experiencing negative feelings is a normal human response to a negative situation. But before you allow those feelings to take over – and they surely will if you let them – identify God’s goodness in the midst of that situation and thank Him for those signs of His goodness.

If you can’t immediately see signs of His goodness, choose to believe that God is good, no matter what, and then start praising Him whether you feel like it or not.

Feelings of joy may not immediately flood your heart, but it’s impossible to focus on God’s goodness and continually praise Him without eventually experiencing at least a little bit of joy!

Related posts:

Finding Peace When We Don’t Understand

Finding peace when we don't understand

I am analytical by nature. When it comes to figuring out how something works so I can use it, or getting to the root of a problem so I can move forward, that characteristic serves me well. But when it comes to finding answers to questions which have no complete answers, it costs me way too much time and energy.

Years ago after experiencing a relationship gone sour and trying to figure out why it happened, a wise person told me, “These things never have only one reason. Some parts we can figure out, others we never will.” I’ve thought of those words often. Realizing some questions have no humanly-known answers has relieved me of a lot of angst over the years.

But there’s another concept that has helped me even more. It is realizing that while God has given us freedom of choice, and our choices do have consequences, ultimately He determines the outcome. God can and does override our best efforts and redeem our worst mistakes to accomplish His purposes for us.

God is redemptive

Could God have redeemed the “mistakes” made in that relationship gone sour and kept it intact? Absolutely. But to accomplish His purposes for good in each of our lives and far beyond them, He chose not to. How do I know that? Because I know God has our good at heart (Romans 8:28-20) and His ways and purposes are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). We have every reason to trust that the outcome He determines is the best possible one. He knows the purpose for which He created us and is faithfully directing our steps accordingly. Our part is to trust Him and accept what He’s doing, even if we don’t understand.

The wisest man who ever lived said in Proverbs 20:24, “Since the Lord is directing our steps, why try to understand everything that happens along the way?”

I think of Job and his friends and their attempts to reconcile his godliness with his suffering. Unknown to all of them was what was happening in the spiritual realm, which, if they had known, would have answered their questions. What we know now that they didn’t, was that God had a purpose for it all that was greater than Job, his family, or his friends. In the end God blessed Job abundantly in spite of His seeming abandonment of him earlier.

While sometimes it seems God has abandoned us when life doesn’t go as we planned, if we but trust and wait, we too will see His faithfulness. It often comes in ways we had not envisioned. But we end up welcoming it with joy when we realize how it all fits into His purpose and plan for us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 HCSB)

Wanting to Know Your Purpose?

Visit our Finding Your Purpose page to learn more!

Related posts: