by Candice Gage
I’m turning 27 in a few months.
That’s not a particularly exciting age. There is no major rite of passage attached to it. But for me, it’s somewhat significant. It will mark 10 years of undesired singleness.
I came from a rather old-fashioned family. My parents saw no point in young girls putting on lipstick and parading around with boys pretending to be grownups.
But all that changed at 17. At long last, make-up was permissible. So was Biblical dating. And as every young girl knows, no sooner are you allowed to date than a handsome prince rides in on his white horse to carry you away to the land of marital bliss.
Let’s just say it was a rather anti-climactic year.
I’ve learned a lot about relationships over the last decade. Of these lessons, one of the most important was about facing rejection.
Men risk rejection when they choose to pursue women who may turn them down. Though women are generally exempt from this task, we deal with several types of rejection.
- Active Rejection: You get dumped.
The guy gives it to you straight: “You are a really great girl, but I’m just loving the single life right now.”
- Passive Rejection: You get dropped.
You have a beautiful, budding friendship. Then he disappears.
- Serial Rejection: You get dumped/dropped in quick succession.
Tyler from Boston, Jerry from Springfield, and Jeff from New Orleans contact you via a dating site. You respond. They don’t. Joe from Chicago exchanges private messages with you every day for a week, then stops. After a month of silence, Tim from Atlanta writes to let you know he’s dating someone else.
- Default Rejection: You exist – alone.
You’ve tried everything. You are involved socially. You are active in ministry. You’ve signed up for a dating site or two. But still, you are single. You don’t get asked out. You don’t get contacted by site matches. Despite your best efforts to think positively, you find yourself wondering, Why doesn’t anyone want to get to know me?
Rejection hurts. And if handled incorrectly, it can lead to all kinds of less-than-mature behavior. Some women run from it by avoiding relationships, seeking solace in the more welcoming spheres of ministry and career. Others embrace rejection, feeding and nurturing it until it matures into bitterness.
We need to respond to rejection positively. Here are four tips to help overcome the hurt:
- Know you are accepted.
Romans 15:7 says, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (NIV).
Though we may be rejected by men, Christ has accepted us. It is imperative we understand this truth as we navigate the vulnerable field of relationships.
- Maintain community.
The author of Hebrews stresses the importance of community: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV).
Rejection is easier to handle with the support of good friends. They can “encourage” you through the disappointment and “stir (you) up” to keep risking rejection as you persevere on your journey towards marriage.
- Guard your heart.
Paula Hendricks answered the question “How do I guard my heart?” for the True Woman blog some time ago.
a) Guarding my heart does not mean protecting myself from being hurt. There’s no way I can insulate myself from any possibility of pain. Pain is a regular part of relationships in this broken world.
b) Guarding my heart does mean allowing no one access to that most central place of my affections but God. It means keeping the first commandment first—and loving Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength (Deut. 6:5).
- Don’t give up.
Like many things, handling rejection gets easier with practice. Getting rejected is never pleasant, but it doesn’t always equal devastation.
This article was originally published by Marry Well on July 27, 2011.
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