Sunday, September 28, 2008

Acceptance and Rejection

This is going to be a serious one. Sans sarcasm.

Tonight in my small group we watched a recorded sermon by Pastor Andy Stanley. He made the statement that a major part of who we are as adults is defined by the degree to which we were accepted and rejected by the people in our lives. So true, isn't it? The sermon continued on the fact that we are called to accept others as Christ accepted us. That is no small task. This got me thinking. I consider myself a pretty accepting person most of the time. And I have been generally accepted by most people in my life. I was certainly accepted and supported by my family, without which I would not be where I am today.

There is one thing, however, I have struggled with in the past few years, and tonight a light bulb went off in my head as to why. There have been two people in recent years with whom I've had some negative experiences. I won't go into it, but I'll say that after months (and in one case years) of thinking, praying, wondering, and at times ruminating over the issues, I could not figure out why I couldn't just get over it. Tonight I realized: rejection. There is nothing quite like it. The hurt pride, the hurt feelings, the confusion, and the lack of closure that comes from rejection is a powerful thing. I was deeply privileged not to learn this lesson in my childhood and adolescence. Of course, everyone gets rejected to some degree, but when it comes in the form of an ended relationship and/or broken trust, it's a different situation. So now I have a clearer idea of why it's been so hard for me to move on in these two circumstances.

The purpose of this blog is a sort of cleansing. I think that the ways in which I have responded to these rejections have been the most common responses: anger, hurt, confusion, and a lot of blame. The ways I haven't responded are these: forgiveness and acceptance. The thing about accepting others like Christ accepts us is this: we don't deserve it. It was easy for me to reject those who have rejected me, but the fact is, no matter how often or how deeply I reject Jesus, He has never and will never reject me. His acceptance and forgiveness are abounding and unceasing.

I don't have a relationship with the two mentioned people anymore (by their choice) but for the sake of the cleansing, here is what I would like to say to them if I could:

I am sorry that something went wrong between us, and that it couldn't be repaired. I felt rejected by your actions, and whether you knew it or not, my response to that rejection was to be angry at you, and to blame you for everything that happened. That was childish of me, and I apologize. For the ways that I was hurt by you, I offer my wholehearted forgiveness. (You may not be seeking it, but it's important to me to offer it). And for anything that I may have done to hurt or offend you, I am deeply sorry. I hope that you are well, and I hope that you find peace, love, and acceptance from those in your life, and most importantly, from Christ Jesus.

And to those who have accepted and loved me unconditionally: an abounding thank you.

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ has accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." -Romans 15:7


Mom Ryan said...

Hi Colleen, Just checking in on your life as I love to read your blog. I mentioned to Kel today that I think I'm becoming addicted 'cause I miss Bennett photos. Now that you are far away it's neat to have you share so much of what you're feeling, learning, seeing in your new city, life, experiences. Of course, we only wish the best for you each and everyday! Much Love,

Adriana said...

you are the most wonderful friend and amazing human being. i think forgiveness is one of the hardest things to confront and i admire your strenght and faith.
those that hurt you and don't value your friendship are worse off and they know it.
i love you forevs!

Ro-dizzle said...

kudos to you and your realizations missy. sounds like you're getting some good stuff up there. nikki williams (former IHC) has been trying to convince me to go to Mars Hill up in seattle which I guess is an extension of western seminary? she says its an amazing program. Also, is there somewhere we can see an itinerary for the cruise? I want to know what I need to pack:)

Kayla said...

I would like to thank you for never rejecting me as unfortunately this has been a very familier feeling for me throughout a lot of my life. Something we discussed in supervision today reminds me of this- there is a school of thought that believes that the majority of our lives is overcoming losses (not just death but those people who did not become our friend or basically every choice each of us makes as we always give up the alternative) which then goes back to Kubler Ross's stages of grieving-- many of which you just mentioned. I have found that I often revert to these stages on a daily basis over the simplest of things lost so needless to say this idea speaks to me. Your entry made me think of this so I wanted to share. I am so glad you are learning so much about yourself and being able to be yourself too :) I miss you though!

Colleen said...

Mom: Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying the blogging, I am too! I love you.

Adriana: Thank you for the sweet words. You are amazing too, and one of my dearest friends. I love you.

Rochelle: If you're going to bother going to an extension of Western, why don't you just go to Western instead? :) If you go to the carnival web site and select the cruise (destination Mexico, depart from LA, 5 days, Nov. 3rd). If you need more information let me know, but there's not much more to it. You don't need to pack anything special unless you need something in particular for the excursions that you choose. Some ships have dress codes, but this one is casual. I'm sure you'll want to bring a few nicer things for nighttime, but you don't need an evening gown or anything. :) I can't wait to see you then!

Kayla: I'm glad that I could be one of the people in your life who has accepted you. You have, in turn proven to be a wonderful and loyal friend. I miss you too!

Linda Z said...

What a good realization that the Lord gave you!

Rejection can often turn to hurt and anger... or bitterness that hardens the heart.

I've learned that only the Lord can help us separate from the feelings associate with it, and to respond with love and compassion and sometimes even discipline.

And sometimes He gives us the sweet gift of reconciliation years and years after an incident.

Genessa said...

Wow! Your blog just brough me to tears (even though you wrote it several days ago now). I have had to deal with so much rejection throughout my childhood and adolescence. The rejection has clearly defined who I have become as an adult thus far. Through the rejection I have carried some anger which, if I am being truly honest, has made its way to bitterness. You are so right when you said that we reject Jesus countless times and yet He forgives and accepts us. Thank you for reminding me of that. Miss you :)

Question: Do we need to bring our passports or anything like that for the cruse? Also when do we need to pay for the excursions?

Arletta said...

You have always been one the most accepting people in my life and I admire you for that. Even more I admire in you your ability to recognize and admit to those moments in which acceptance is not as easily found. On that note I forgive you for excluding me when I we lived together and you didn't want me playing with you and your sleepover friends. And I apologize for being so selfish with my game of LIFE. Love you!!!

Corinne said...

Way to go Colleen!
I am so excited to see the Lord working to heal your heart from the pain you went through. It is such a blessing for me to hear your words. I knew He would show your His heart and teach you so much more about yourself. These are hard lessons to learn and I am so proud of you for being an open book and sharing yourself with us. And I am so excited to see what else God has in store for you!! Thank you for sharing. I miss you my friend!