Monday, June 15, 2015

When We Have An Identity Crisis

We’ve probably all seen it play out.

When you walk into a place and there's a tight circle of friends who stand in such a way that excludes all others and you walk on by as if it doesn’t hurt in some deep way. 

Or perhaps it's worse than that for you. Maybe it was the most important relationships in your life. The very people who were supposed to offer unconditional love, but didn’t. 

It could have been the parents who played favorites or completely missed your child heart. Or the sibling that barely speaks to you.  Or the longtime friend who once sought to know your deepest places who now avoids any contact with you. Or was it the spouse who left you for someone else? Or, maybe, rejection happened to you yesterday at church, or online. Or is the talk in your own head telling you how you’ll never. be. good. enough? 

The closer the relationship with the person who rejects you, the deeper the wound. 

The profound truth is, one of the main ways the enemy rips the souls of men and women is through rejection. At its core, rejection denies relationship.  And when we do this to others we are saying that person is unworthy of  respect and love. 

No one is immune to the effects of rejection and we can wear it around our necks like a hang-man’s noose if we don’t see it for what it is.

If rejection brings about the work Satan intends, it's very destructive and far reaching in a person's life. Most often, it leads to believing many lies and can be evidenced by various symptoms in our everyday lives. Things like rebellion, a rejecting of others, self-pity, trying to fit it, and an inability to accept constructive criticism. It establishes deep insecurities and approval-seeking behaviors.

We've seen the truth of this in our own lives and those around us, haven't we?

Practically speaking, we may start looking for our identity in the work we do, the house we live in, the trips we take, how beautiful our children are, the numbers in our bank account or the number on the scale. Even long time church-goers miss this truth. It's easy to think it's the church we attend or the knowledge we have or the things we do that are "good."  I've lived all of those things too, as I've tried to find real answers for the deepest parts of my heart.

If we find our identities in these kinds of things or view people through this kind of lens, we may need to admit we have a bit of an identity issue.

In the truest sense it is an identity crisis, in this world. 

Certainly all people easily fall into this identity trap ultimately because of unbelief. Our identity needs to be in the One who designed our DNA and made us unique for a purpose. Rejection is a major tool that is used to hurt people at the core of who God made them to be. Here are a few things I feel like the Lord has been gracious to teach me about this subject of rejection.

Rejection is a strange pain.

It attacks the very core of our person-hood. Rejection drives insecurities and feelings of never being enough. It opposes the very nature that God created in us. Rejection starves a person from the love and acceptance that they were designed to receive. Plus, the people who are doing the rejecting most always involve others to justify themselves. So there are usually layers to the pain endured.

In my own life, I have buried key relationships which were certainly life impacting losses. However, the enemy has repeatedly used rejection from people who were close, important relationships, to do the deepest, most long lasting soul damage. It's a lesson that began on the playground and has since played out in other tragic ways. It is a reminder that my identity is not in those who wear flesh, but my identity is in the Lord who created me in His own image.

Rejection is an odd gift. 

The fruit of rejection has protected me from self-reliance and placing many things above Jesus. It has given me eyes to better see other people for who God made them to be. It has given me a broken heart for the brokenhearted. Rejection has made a pathway to a deeper dependence on God. And each time that rejection occurs it reminds me, again, that my identity is not in how others perceive me or treat me. Who I am is a woman saved by grace and in Jesus I am enough. Only God can be trusted as the source of my identity.

The opposite of rejection is acceptance. 

Any thoughts, or words, that speak any other message than God’s unconditional love for us, is of the enemy. Satan is the accuser and God loves unconditionally. Yes, we need to own our own stuff and we are all a work in progress until we leave this earth, but foundationally, the truth of the Bible is that God created man in His own image. So all men and women and children are eternally important. Our value isn't based on what we do, but Whose we are.

The most important thing about rejection is how we respond to it. 

Rejection is a trap. We have two choices really. We can allow pain to harden our heart or to learn from it and allow the pain to make our heart soft and broken for others. How we react will impact how we see not only ourselves, but how we treat others. We were all created to be loved, accepted and appreciated. Ultimately, our identities cannot be in someone's rejection or acceptance of us, but in the God who says we are loved by Him.

Our response to rejection has to be forgiveness and love. 

Loving people, even those who reject us, is what brings God glory.

We can't change how they are, but we can keep their treatment of us from changing how we see ourselves and live our lives. When we understand how much we are loved, and how great the price that Jesus paid to make us His, our response to love others is a little easier. We know that they have an identity crisis and for that we can pray.

Rejection was intended to destroy how I see myself, but instead it has moved my focus from wanting the praise of people and produced in me a passion to love God and others more deeply. Ultimately we need to love people well so that the world can see what Jesus looks like.

There is a place every person can rest and embrace their true identity. Jesus is calling us to know we are accepted. In Him there is no condemnation, only unconditional love.

Who do you reject?

Has rejection impacted your life?

Do you truly see yourself as loved and accepted?

Therefore, accept one another,
just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. 
Romans 15:7


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© Rhonda Quaney