All the years before, I enjoyed the comfort of my older sister’s presence in the halls of our small private school. But that year, I was at the top. Rather, I was in the class at the top.
I felt lonely there, especially since I didn’t consider any of my own classmates close friends. We switched schools when I was in 8th grade, and it had been painful from the beginning. Especially with the girls. They said words about me I couldn’t shake.
Kids say careless words when they feel threatened. They toss them around when someone receives what they want for themselves, even if it’s just attention. But I didn’t know that then.
Some kids brush off careless words, and others help them find their home inside. I’m not sure how to do the former, or why I chose the latter, but I suspect it’s nature.
They had rejected me in too many ways, from my view, and my heart checked out.
I wasn’t even trying anymore. I was just finishing school like I needed to do, keeping the rules as much as possible at 17, remaining polite and responsible, getting through.
It was winter, because it was always winter in Michigan, but one night I remembered the spring singing competition. The previous three years, I competed with a group of four, and I loved it. I assumed we would compete with the same group one last time. We needed to start practicing soon, so I would talk to the girls tomorrow.
By this point, I had erected a great wall. I was good at shielding myself from further rejection.
I don’t need anyone here. I don’t trust anyone here. It was like a mission statement, a heartbeat.
But I wasn’t good enough at shielding myself, because I never guessed they had already started rehearsing without me. I never imagined they would assume I didn’t want to sing yet never mention it.
Apparently I wore my heartbeat on my sleeve. I was trying to be polite enough, trying to get through one last lonely year without any more scrapes, but I accidentally gave off a different vibe.
They didn’t see my built-up pain of rejection. They only saw my rejection of them.
Which in turn, created another rejection for me. It was one more proof in the case the enemy was building against me. Like I needed more proof.
Outside of my class, my life was full of friends who knew me and loved me. I was thankful for them. But I fixed my eyes on the ones who didn’t.
I fixed my eyes on fixing myself. The enemy wanted this, more than anything, for me.
He wanted me to believe I needed to become something better in order to be loved.
And I fell for it.
I wonder if you fell for it in some way too.
One of my favorite authors and speakers, Lysa Terkeurst, releases her new book this week, and I want to invite you to pick up a copy here: Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely.
I think we’ve all felt the sting of rejection at some point. Lysa’s story helps us overcome fears and receive the love we are destined for. I hope you will read this one. It’s a beautiful gift from a friend you can trust, and I believe God will use it to restore your soul.
Blessings, Angela xoxo
*This post is part of Lysa Terkeurst’s Uninvited Blog Book Tour, which I am thrilled to be a part of. Click here to learn more and to join this group of inspiring bloggers.