It occurred to me that often the reach for approval is often motivated by the fear of rejection. We keep the Idol of Approval perfectly placed, front and center, to remind us to work hard to avoid the “brush off.” Very few of us enjoy being on the outside of the crowd, the last one chosen for the team, some guy’s second choice, or the after-thought for a party invite.
In recent days I’ve had to wrestle with rejection. I’ve felt confused, hurt, angry, sad, small, and like an outsider. I’ve wracked my brains, “What did I do?” I feel stupid for not “reading between the lines” all along.
I’ve been praying for wisdom while in my dark heart I flip-flop between extending grace and feeding the root of bitterness. My flesh wants to abandon ship, walk away and never turn back.
But, the Spirit urges me to a deeper place. “Sanctify – set apart – Christ as Lord in your heart” (I Peter 3:15). “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruit, unwavering and without hypocrisy or fraud” (James 3:17-18). “Be devoted to one another in love” (Romans 12:10).
The Lord calls us to a life far different than the world around us. The life of the believer is one that is transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit and is able to persevere, to love, to extend grace in the face of rejection.
Experience tells me we will come to intersections like this throughout our lives. We will face situations where we must acknowledge the idol and the temptation to bow down, to give in, to serve our flesh. When we do we must remember: When we are weak He is strong.
“Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, thou has brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights; hemmed in by the mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox, that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that the bear the cross is to ear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the depper the wells the brighter thy stars shine; let me find thy light in my darkness, thy life in my death, thy joy in my sorrow, thy grace in my sin, thy riches in my povery, thy glory in my valley” (Taken from: Valley of Vision-A collection of Puritan prayers)