Rejection. It happens in many forms. Perhaps a group of people that thought they knew better dismissed your divinely inspired, gee-whiz idea. Maybe your long-built-up courage was instantly deflated by a crush who just wanted to be friends. Or maybe you were passed over at work for a promotion you deserved. Whatever the case, we’ve all experienced some kind of rejection, and we can all agree that it hurts.
For some, however, rejection is more than an occasional occurrence. It's a theme throughout their lives, deeply rooted and woven into their identities since childhood. These are the people no one wanted to be friends with. They were never good enough for the sports teams. Or as an accident from conception, their families never gave them much attention. With so much rejection, they identify with their feelings to believe I am a reject. And this identity is the lens through which they enter everyday life. It’s debilitating. They live in fear of people and situations because their past dictates that they’ll always be excluded.
The sharp pain of rejection scarred much of my childhood. I began my elementary years with extreme shyness. I was so timid, in fact, that I was afraid to read aloud in class and didn’t apply myself in social or athletic situations. I became a loner and was misunderstood by my peers and dreaded the things most that age live for: recess and P.E. class. I prayed every day that the coach wouldn’t allow us to choose teams because I’d have to overhear why I shouldn’t be chosen and would often be the last one standing.
With this, I entered my adult life with an expectation of rejection. I never pursued friendships because I was too afraid to feel the pain of someone who didn’t want to be my friend. If I walked into a room and noticed people laughing, I automatically assumed they were laughing at me. It was pitiful. My everyday life was controlled by voices of the past and irrational feelings. (I detail much more of my story in my upcoming book, Silence Satan: Shutting Down the Enemy’s Attacks, Threats, Lies and Accusations, which will release this fall.)
But God has a habit of taking nobodies and turning them into somebodies. Not long after my salvation at 16 years old, I understood that one day I would be in front of others to preach the gospel. It all seemed impossible then—for a boy once afraid to read aloud to have the confidence to speak to crowds. Still, I pursued this call and knew that if I was to see its fulfillment, I had to find freedom from my fear of rejection. So, I turned to God’s Word for help.
Today, I am living the realization of God’s call and often speak to crowds via live events, television and Internet broadcasts, and writing. I’m pleased to say that I’m not the fearful person I once was. But my freedom didn’t happen overnight; it came through a decade of applying the following principles of God’s Word.
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