The Rejection Dictated Identity
Week 2 of Cultivate Book Club Fall 2016
Chapters 1 & 2 of Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst
Honesty is a scary place and a safe haven for me. I both fear and crave it.
Honesty is where I get real. Real with myself about… what I’m feeling, what I’m believing, what I’m thinking. Real about the condition of my heart. Real about my behavior, and my relationships. Real about how I’m spending my time. Real about areas of sin in my life, and how they are affecting me. Real about my relationship with God and others. I can’t hide from my brokenness when I am being real. Being real with myself more often than not feels yucky and messy. And so I fear it because I know when I get real, like really real… there’s no hiding or pretending that can be further carried on. No more excuses. Once I’m real I can no longer use the excuse of ignorance, but only of disobedience. It’s scary to be real. Scary because what do I do with the ugly messy? Where do I go from here? How do I undo this? How do I unbecome that? How do I fix this? How do I lay that down? And finally, how do I untangle this, and stop that? If all of THIS is real… what does that say about me? Who am I? Am I still worthy? Worthy of love, friendship, forgiveness? What if being real about this has relational consequences? You see… these are all really scary variables.
AND YET… Honesty is also where I get to be real. The real me. Not the carefully crafted me. Not the me, that is positioned just right, with an added filter on Instagram. Not the make sure to be everything everyone thinks I should be me. Not the be all things to all people so that they’ll like me, ‘pick me’ me. But the actual real me. In this place, honesty is like a weight that is lifted- a place where I can take a fresh breath and relax. It’s in this place where I can be real about how I feel without fear of rejection or judgement. I can be real about where I am, and where I want to be. I can be real about hurts or fears, hopes, and dreams without parameters.
Honesty is our friend, people. And like a good friend… it loves us where we are, and loves us enough not to let us stay there. Best part of all??…..we can trust it has our best interest at heart.
Over these next few months, honesty has the potential to make a real difference in our lives as we cultivate the practice of living loved together. Trust me when I tell you that you are not alone on this journey… I am 100% in it with you. As we navigate through what it means to live loved, we have to be real about areas deep inside that keep us from believing it. Areas deep rooted in rejection. Rejection messes with us. It tangles lies in with the truth, confusing us so badly that we have difficulty figuring out which is which.
In this week’s reading in Uninvited, I love how Lysa Terkeurst untangles the roots of rejection. She says (and I’m loosely quoting here)…
A LINE said to us becomes a label we attach to who we are in regards to our value.
That LABEL becomes a lie that we are unworthy.
The LIE becomes a liability when it shapes the script we write about self-rejection
That LIABILITY carries into our relationships with others -ultimately causing us to question our value and worth to God.
LINE> LABEL> LIE> LIABILITY= REJECTION DICTATED IDENTITY
A rejection dictated identity keeps me from living loved because at the foundation of who I am, I don’t believe that I am loved. Not believing I’m loved at the foundation, makes for a very unstable identity. And this is when honesty must play its part. When my “feelings” tell me I’m not loved or not worthy of love~ I need honesty to remind me of what’s real. The bible says,
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:24-27
A rejection-dictated identity is an identity built on the sand. It is constantly shifting and shaking what I (we) believe about myself, God, and others. Our identities were meant to be built on the rock. They are meant to be safe and secure in the one who created us, with no other motive than love. So to live loved I’ve (we’ve) got to cultivate honesty back into the DNA of my (our) identities. Yes, rejection is real. And it leaves me feeling like I don’t matter, like I don’t belong, like I’m not ________ enough, like I’m unseen by God. It leaves me feeling anything but safe and secure. But if I (we) want my identity to be built on the rock… back to honesty I must go. Back to the truth.
And the truth is…
“(I am one of) God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.” Colossians 3:12.
Lysa gives 3 great questions to ask when life is shifty and shaking. As I’ve been practicing asking myself these questions, they’ve been a resource to plant my feet back on the rock, and off of the shifting sand.
Is God good?
Is God good to me?
Is God good at being God?
My goal in this is… that regardless of the rejection of others, my identity will not be shaken. That in the deepest places in my soul, where honesty cannot hide, I will truly believe that even when I am overlooked (rejected) by others, I am still handpicked by God. I want my identity to stop rising and falling on the opinions and inclusion (or lack there of) from others. The constant shifting and shaking is an exhausting way to live, and I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to stop living on the sand (well~ I’d actually LOVE to live on the sand… but you know what I mean), and be built on the rock. I want to know that although I might experience loneliness, I am not alone. That I live, like on a regular basis, in a place of absolute knowing and believing that I am truly, deeply, unconditionally, and absolutely loved. And I want this for you too!
Live loved friends,
This week’s statement to hold on to:
“My response to rejection from others will be in direct proportion to my capacity to receive acceptance from God.” ~Christina Crowley
This week’s small group discussion & journal questions:
- Putting our “real self” out there before others can be a very vulnerable thing. When you think of your spheres of community: family, work, friends, church, etc… What are some personal barriers and challenges that inhibit you from living honestly and authentically with others?
- In Chapter 1 of Uninvited Lysa shared that, “Honesty isn’t trying to hurt me. It’s trying to heal me.” Think of a time when you were honest with someone about a fragile situation in your life. Was your honesty handled in a way that lead you to feel accepted or rejected in your vulnerability?
- Rejection in its simplest form can be an annoying, nagging emotion causing us to feel frustrated that it bothers us as much as it does. In its most complex form, rejection can feel like it’s literally breaking our hearts. What impact has rejection had in your life and how has it contributed to shaping your identity and how you view yourself?
- An identity rooted in the truth of who God says we are and not the ever-changing voice of others is a constant battle. Chapter 2 presented three questions to help us be honest about how we view the foundation of God in our lives:
Is God good?
Is God good to me?
Do I trust God to be God?
From the reading, which of these questions resonated with you the most and why? (It’s OK to be real about our places of doubt if they exist.)