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The Things We Fear 4: Heartache and Rejection

The Things We Fear Day 4 – Heartache and Rejection                            

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:17-18, ESV)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27, ESV)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28, ESV)

I’m anti-social. Blunt, I know, but true nonetheless. I have fairly paralyzing social anxiety brought on by the fear of heartache and rejection. I struggle with social anxiety the most because I am very familiar with the painful side of social interactions. For most of my life I felt like the outcast. I felt like the pity invite, the butt of every joke, and the last to be chosen. Don’t get me wrong—I had a few close friends in my youth, but my closest friend lived far away so it made it hard to be together. Other friendships didn’t really develop into what they are now until later in life. As a tween and teen, I just felt entirely alone. The pain of rejection and heartache kept me from trying again, so I just isolated myself because it was easier. This same fear kept me from pursuing any sort of romantic relationship, and when one was presented my fear got the best of me. All this is to say that I know the pain all too well.

What happens if I share all of myself with someone and they decide they don’t want me anymore? This very question has haunted me for years. It’s the reason I built up walls to keep people out for so long. It’s the reason I could never really admit how I felt about someone because I was afraid of their rejection. It’s the reason I don’t go out of my way to make friends or really talk to new people. I’d love to tell you that rejection is not real, but the truth is that it’s a very real possibility. Honestly, the one time I actually opened myself up to the possibility of the romantic relationship I had my heart broken and it confirmed my greatest fear. So yes, rejection is possible in any potential relationship, but this fear should not rule our lives. Why? Because being rejected does not mean that we are rejects.

As clichéd as it may sound, I do believe that every person is in your life for a reason. Sometimes they are there as a lesson; sometimes they are a life-long friend; sometimes they are there for only a short season. But there is always a reason, even when you don’t see it. So how do we manage the fear of being rejected by or having our hearts broken by these people? Well, it’s not easy, but you have to allow yourself to trust people. Within reason, of course, you have to believe the best in the people that God has provided for you. You have to remember that these people are just as imperfect as you are and very capable of making a mistake and hurting you. Don’t let the fear of rejection and heartache keep you from connecting with people and fostering healthy relationships. At the end of the day, we need each other, and if we hide away from people, we are only hurting ourselves even more.

The one relationship I was ever in ended poorly. I had been trying so hard to make them feel whole and loved while needing that same love myself. I allowed the fear of heartache to keep me from letting go when I needed to, and that only led to more heartache. After having years to reflect on all that went wrong, I could see more clearly where I had failed. I could see where my fear got in the way of my ability to have a healthy relationship and how it allowed me to ignore red flags. I could see where I had failed the other party and how I may have hurt them too. As much as I wish I didn’t have to experience the pain it brought, I know I needed to learn this lesson. I needed to learn that I am worthy of being a priority, that I need to be willing to have more faith in people, and that I need to leave things in God’s hands and stop taking them into my own. When you are facing heartache from a failed relationship, you have to learn from it and bring your pain before God. I can confirm that He is faithful and will bring you comfort in your pain.

My challenge to you today is to bring your heartache before God. Be honest with how you are feeling and let Him help you carry that burden. Remember that the heartache and rejection you have experienced in the past does not define your current or future relationships. You are not a reject. You are worthy of love and you are capable of handling rejection if it comes. He will help you through every lesson and you will come out stronger and wiser for it. Do not let the fear of rejection keep you from connecting with people and building relationships, because solitude is much more painful than rejection.

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