one night a few months ago, as i sat in the complete brokenness of a friendship lost, there seemed to be no winner. some would say i won because i didn’t play. some would say she won because she hurt me. some would ask for the evidence and send for a jury to decide on a victor. i had evidence, so did she. both of us, with stacks of receipts and words that i would say back me up, and she would say back her. so i have my proof and she has what she believes is hers. my proof makes me feel victorious, my proof holds my side, my proof could make me “win”. but i put my proof away, i tell myself there is no use in playing because in this, there is no victor. there are only two hearts, both hurt, both broken, and both wondering what went wrong. is there ever truly a winner in the loss of a friendship?
i sit in this brokenness, questioning every action that i’d made, ever word i’d ever said (or not said in trying to do what i truly thought was the right thing), trying to find where something went awry. i begin to attack my own character, i begin to hate myself for this, i begin to blame myself. i begin to believe the lies being whispered into my mind: you are not worthy, you are not seen, you are not enough, there is no one here for you, you are not wanted. and while these lies, so viciously tearing into my soul, are all that my mind can comprehend, the Lord so gently whispers into my mind and heart words that make me still. “if you allow this rejection to take root in your identity, you can never fully serve Me.” if? my soul questions, “God what is the if? this has taken root. this is a part of me now. i am not worthy anymore. she has said so. and i believe it.” and again He murmurs, “if you allow this rejection to take root in your identity, you can never fully serve Me.” again, if? “God, there is no if. IF i could stop it, Lord, i would.” He whispers it again. i tell Him it is impossible for this rejection to leave me. He tenderly repeats, “if you allow this rejection to take root in your identity, you can never fully serve Me”. it’s not possible. He whispers again. i tell Him that’s not how this works. He patiently whispers again. “Lord, you don’t understand how much it hurts.” He whispers yet again. “You don’t get it”, i say in frustration, “You don’t understand how much this hurts.” and He pauses in silence for a minute. and then He speaks, no longer in a whisper, “ I was rejected by everyone I knew, even my own family. and at a time in your life, you, too, rejected me. I do understand the hurt. more than you ever will.” i am still for a moment, yet the ache continues. “but Lord, this hurts.” He resumes his whisper, “i know,” He says, “but it isn’t you. it isn’t you being rejected and it isn’t you defined by this action.” and again He whispers, “if you allow this rejection to take root in your identity, you can never fully serve Me.” “how can i do it then?” i ask, “how can i stop this rejection from taking root in my identity?” and He firmly whispers, “stop believing it.” “believing what?? that i’m rejected? i mean, Lord, it’s pretty clearly stated there that this friend doesn’t want anything to do with me anymore,” and He whispers one final time, “if you allow this rejection to take root in your identity, you can never fully serve Me.” i sit completely still. i let this truth wash over me. the lies that once swirled in my mind are replaced with that one simple sentence.
i spend two nights almost completely sleepless, picking apart these simple words, trying to discover what the Lord was saying in these words. how do i prevent this rejection from taking root in my identity? and how does accepting rejection prevent me from serving my sweet Jesus?
let’s start off with an idea, a very simple idea tracing back to the beginning of time. you were so carefully crafted by the Creator. you were so intricately designed for one thing: a relationship with Him. and this relationship with Him was so designed so that you may find your identity in Him and in the truth that He speaks over you. but things got complicated, as most things relating to mankind always do. mankind fell out of our relationship with Him. we lost the knowledge of where we were rooted, putting our identity up for grabs. and man, oh man, did the world have a field day with our identities. we begin rooting ourselves in temporary things of this world: the affection of people, the money in our bank accounts, the grades we make in school, social media approval, you name it…and suddenly our identity has become rooted in the constantly shifting numbers and opinions of the world. but it wasn’t meant to be this way. each day our identity is up for grabs, each day something new is trying to steal our attention and break us by calling us names and assigning us labels. Each day someone or something is trying to give us an identity. but what i have learned is that if my identity is rooted in the unchanging truth of Christ, then whatever happens to me, whether it be rejection, heartbreak, loss, fear, anxiety, hurt, or whatever may it be, it does not and it CAN NOT take root in my identity because i know where i am rooted, and it is solid rock. i know that the same things that were spoken over me in the creation of the world are the same things being spoken over me now. that is so powerful that it wrecked my soul. whatever may be trying to steal your identity and claim roots has no real power. i want you to remember this unchanging, unfailing, and everlasting truth that has been proclaimed over you: when God created you, He looked at you and said this is good. when you fell short of God’s plan for you, He still saw you worthy of dying for, when you once rejected God, He still rose from the dead for you. He calls you seen, He calls you enough, He calls you worthy, and He calls you loved. and before the world had any opportunity to speak anything else over you, this is what He proclaimed over you. this is where your identity is rooted. this is who you are.
the words that resonated with me most in His simple statement to me were “if you allow”. like i said, when identity is rooted in sweet Jesus’ truth, it is unchanging, so the only way that something else can try to define our identity is if we allow it. in those moments of rejection and brokenness that i was feeling, i had a choice. i had a choice to either let rejection define me or refine me. i could allow myself to feel unworthy, unloved, unwanted, and not enough because of someone rejecting my friendship and i could believe that this is who i now was. or, i could proclaim that yes, this rejection happened, and this rejection hurt, but this rejection is not who i am, this rejection does not define my character. i could allow God to grow me and refine me through this. it is a choice sweet friends: a choice to believe the lies, or a choice to stand firm in the truth. you control where your identity is rooted, and while you don’t necessarily control what seeds are scattered throughout your life, you do control which ones are planted and whether you water them or not. do not allow whatever lies that want to take root in your identity to be planted, because that is not who you are, it is not how God made you, and they are exactly what the Lord says they are…lies. you must root yourself in truth.
those words hit me hard, but what hit me the hardest in my study of them is some crazy truth that i was not prepared to receive. when you allow whatever lies want to take root in your identity to actually do so, then friends, you won’t ever be able to fully serve Jesus. it sounds harsh i know, but just hear me out, please. when our identities are rooted in Christ, we are filled with the joy of the Lord and we can allow that joy to overflow into other people. we are constantly walking in His way, and we are going places and doing things that could only be done by walking in the Lord’s will. but friends, when a lie has taken root in your identity, two things happen: the first, is that it stays and it whispers more and more lies into your life, planting a whole garden of lies, and second, whatever takes root begins to grow, choking out the truth you should know and should be claiming. think about it friends, will you ever be able to live out the life that God has planned for you if after every step you take, something whispers in your head “but what if they leave you when they do this” or “but what if you can’t do it”, or “what if you get hurt”? if the lie has taken root, the lie will continue to whisper it’s deeper lies into your mind, and it will prevent you from fully walking in the way that the Lord has for you. if you allow this lie to take root now, it will only continue to grow deeper and deeper until you are unrecognizable to yourself. it will prevent you from walking in His way, it will stop you from speaking His truth, and it will make you fearful of His future for you. you cannot allow this lie to take root in your identity because it will prevent you from serving the Lord to the fullest.
so let’s go back to the beginning. this rejection was sinking deep inside of me. i was faced with the ultimate choice. would i let it take root in my identity? the rejection hurt, and it hurt badly. but it didn’t have to stay. i didn’t have to welcome it. it’s a choice: will i let this define me? will i allow this to take root in who i am as a daughter of Christ? will i allow this rejection to always be whispering into my identity? will i reject the truth that my sweet Jesus has so graciously spoken over me and believe that this rejection is a part of me now? my other option was that i could recognize that this rejection happened, and yeah, it hurt more than anything else in the world, but it isn’t who i am; and sitting around feeling sorry for myself isn’t going to mend a lost friendship, it isn’t glorifying to God, and it isn’t helping to advance the Kingdom in any way.
so i get up off my floor. i put my proof away. i claim truth. i choose not to let the rejection take root in my identity. and friends, i can tell you with 100% certainty, that after some healing, i have never been happier. i know where i’m rooted, and nothing can take that from me.
i want to leave you with this thought: i understand the hurt and the pain that come with rejection, but you have the choice to let rejection and pain define you or not. you have the choice to let it ruin you, but always remember this truth: before time was even in existence, God had so carefully thought out your existence. He had already crafted you so intricately and beautifully. He declared you His, He declared you loved, and He died for you. and the most beautiful part of it all is that, despite your shortcomings, your faults, and your baggage, He still declares you His, worthy, and loved. this is where you are meant to be rooted, this is where your identity was created to be found. so find it in Him, find it in love. He is waiting, with His arms wide open, ready to hold you, ready to heal you, ready to whisper truth to you. it’s a simple choice on your part: will you allow your identity to be rooted in the things of this world? after studying the words that so graciously stilled my soul, i want to leave you with my own little version of them: if you allow the lies of this world to take root in your identity, you will never be able to fully serve our sweet Jesus.
praying for ya, friends