I saw it written all over her face as she trudged down the hill to the suburban. Shoulders hanging, face down, she was defeated. As Cheyenne climbed in, tears began to fall while she told me her classmates didn’t choose her during volley ball. As she stood there, the last to be chosen she had tried to accommodate for her lack of experience, she even complimented the strengths of others and offered her expertise in the areas she knew how to do.
Instead of accepting her, Chy was picked last. Her kind words ignored, her effort wasted.
I hugged her as I pulled out from the curb and drove towards home. Rejection is the hardest part of parenting. We want to protect their tender hearts but we all know too well, life lessons like this don’t go away. It doesn’t stop just because we are out of our formative years of learning. Its a life long process and if our foundations are not built on anything other than what God sees, you and I are in BIG trouble.
As I comforted my teenage middle school daughter with warm cookies, milk and her favorite Barlow girls tunes, I sat reviewing the events of my week, realizing the irritation under my own skin has come from rejection. Tell me if you can answer yes to any of these questions:
No matter how hard you try, its not enough.
- You offer to go the extra mile at work but your co-workers view it as not enough.
- Your shortcomings seem to be the only thing others see.
- You have to change your tone, comments, dress etc to be fit in.
- You are afraid to be the REAL you around other people or certain groups of people.
- No one seems to accept you or give you grace for your flaws.
Like it or not little mama’s, these adults questions are the same ones we have been wrestling with since middle school. And the results are the same, we try fit in. We struggle being who we are in our own skin and more often than not, come up short.
What happens if we don’t address this issue in our children or in ourselves?
- Rebellion in both children and adults
- Fabricated personalities (being somebody you aren’t, in order to be accepted)
- The tendency to reject others, so that you aren’t the first one to be rejected
- A tendency to always wonder if a person rejects or accepts you
- The need to fit in or be accepted by others and be a part of everything
- Self-pity where a person feels bad for themselves being all alone
- Inability to be corrected or receive constructive criticism
- Rejection creates an environment where you are starved for love or just don’t fit in
- A tendency to blame God (“Why did He give me this big nose? Why did God make me so short?”)
- A sense of pride that says, “How dare they reject me!”
- Opinionated personality and the need to be right about things
- Feelings of worthlessness, insecurity, or hopelessness
- Seeking a parent’s approval is a sign that your basing your identity upon what they think of you
- Envy, jealousy, and even hate can be rooted in rejection
- Fear of confrontation (because your identity is based upon what they think of you)
It destroys our self-esteem, and attacks who we are and our purpose in life. As my kiddo and I ate our cookies I commented,
God never wanted us to feel rejected or abandoned. He desires for you to know who you really are, and realize how deeply God loves, accepts, and appreciates you, so that you can live out the fullness of what all God has ordained you to be. God’s Word tells us that without being rooted and grounded in the love (and acceptance) of God, we cannot experience the fullness of God in our lives. Its up to you to turn stand strong in who you are as God’s child or chase after some friend’s approval. Which one will last in the long run? Which one benefits you?
The question you really need to ask yourself is “Am I looking for approval from friends or from God?
As a mom, I still struggle with fitting in. There are days when I’d rather stay home than push through the social graces of every day interaction. These are the days when I solely focus on who I am in Christ, not my abilities not my job, not my accomplishments. Yet, its by our example and transparency to point our kids to look to God.
Where are you at in terms of identity?
As moms, how early are you teaching your child to navigate rejection?
How do you counter it?