Rejection

…Rejection is less about the person being rejected and more about the person who is doing the rejecting. Rejection occurs because you do not fit the mold that another has sought to place upon you. This does not mean they don’t love you, but it does mean they do not know how to love you.

You cannot change how they see you and love you. But, you can continue to love them in some fashion, perhaps distantly, and give them the time and space they need to confront themselves and to learn that they need to grow and change, just as you have grown and changed.

breakupThere was a young woman I recently encountered through an online forum who had “come out” to her parents, only to have them seemingly reject her in some unhealthy and painful ways.  She did not give much detail, but it was clear it was a painful experience for her (as many of my friends and readers have also experienced, or can imagine).

Here is the counsel I gave her (with some minor edits), which I hope may be of help for others who are also experiencing rejection.  (…Though we must also recognize that there are many out there, especially those who are the survivors of abuse, for whom such an approach will only promote or increase the pain they are experiencing, rather than bringing the healing they are looking for.)


 

…From the tiny bit you’ve said it sounds to me like your parents are going through an identity crisis. They see you as an extension of themselves. (And we are all extensions of our parents in many different ways, aren’t we?)  So, they are confused and distraught because their daughter has suddenly turned out to be someone entirely different (in their minds) from the person they thought she was.

This has shaken their own self image to the core, and they are probably reacting in all sorts of unhealthy ways because of it. I suspect they love you deeply, but are realizing – at some deep and probably unconscious level – that to love this person who is their daughter as deeply as they do means some major readjustments in their own life, with their relationships with you, and even with their relationship with each other and with their God, all of which is scary. They are no longer the parents they thought they were, but something else, some other kind of parent.

Speaking as the parent of an adult child myself, it’s a hard adjustment. Your parents have to learn to accept you as an adult, someone who has their own life to live.  They raised you to be such a person, but didn’t really realize until now that raising you to be a strong and independent person resulted in you becoming a strong and independent person!

In a way, your roles have been reversed: you are now the adult, and they are the ones who need to grow up a bit more.  They’ll need time and space to come to that place of acceptance, so don’t give up on them, but also don’t try to “make” them see and accept the truth of who you are, it is best to let that happen when the time is right.

Show them how to love you as you are, that you are a wonderful person in large part because of who they are – just as they hoped you would be.  And, let the Spirit of the God you share with them give all of you peace as you weather the storms and adjustments that are taking place as they adjust to this new reality in their lives.

My prayers are with you all.


 

In my experience, rejection is less about the person being rejected and more about the person who is doing the rejecting.  Rejection occurs because you do not fit the mold that another has sought to place upon you.  This does not mean they don’t love you, but it does mean they do not know how to love you.  

You cannot change how they see you and love you.  But, you can continue to love those who reject you in some fashion, perhaps distantly, and give them the time and space they need to confront themselves and to learn that they need to grow and change, just as you have grown and changed.

Peace,

Pastor Allen


 

Copyright (c) 2015, Allen Vander Meulen III, all rights reserved.  I’m happy to share my writings with you, as long as proper credit for my authorship is given. (e.g., via a credit that gives my full name and/or provides a link back to this site – or just email me and ask!)

Sermon: Family

The challenge then is not who should be part of our family – that choice is not ours. Nor is the challenge to decide if we are to love them – because the Bible says love all, no exceptions. The challenge is how to love them, because they’re going to be climbing up that same ladder we’re on no matter what we do, Jesus made it so.

Hunter Family, ca1900; (c) 2015 Dorothy Vander Meulen
The Hunter Family of Waterbury, CT, ca 1900;
(c) 2015 Dorothy Vander Meulen

Jesus says “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? … Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

How does this relate to us, and why does it matter?

Please join me in prayer…

Lord God, we lift up this morning’s message.  May it touch our hearts, may it speak clearly to our souls, that we may come to more fully comprehend your eternal and undying love for us and for all of the Family of God. Amen.

I lived in the Tidewater area of Virginia about 20 years ago. Many of my co-workers, friends and neighbors were part of military families, mostly Navy. One September, a friend who served on board the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Enterprise invited me to be his guest for the ship’s “Friends and Family Day Cruise”. Now, how could I refuse such an invitation to see the Enterprise? I accepted!

USSEnterprise CVN65This was an event where the ship’s officers and crew could invite those close to them to come on board for a short cruise that included tours, a picnic, and some presentations and demonstrations. Towards the end of that afternoon we ran into a co-worker of mine: a wonderful and godly black woman named Veronica. She told us her husband was an officer on the ship.

While there, we really wanted to check out the ship’s control tower, that big “Island” on one side of the flight deck where the bridge is. But, one of the rules was that only officers and their families were allowed up there. Veronica assured us that going up would be no problem…

Wondering how she could do this (since we clearly weren’t family), Sean and I timidly followed her up the ladders. Almost immediately, we were confronted by two very stern guards, holding their rifles at the ready. They said, “Sorry Ma’m, only officers and their families are allowed above Deck O-3.”

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Relate Unconditionally?

Conditional LoveBased on the thoughts I surfaced in a recent post (and elsewhere) regarding what I see as God’s call to Unconditional Love, I’ve had several folks ask me questions along the lines of “Does that mean I have to love the person who [abused or hurt or seeks to control] me?

Let’s answer this one carefully.

Love them?  Yes.

Have a relationship with them?  Well, that question requires a nuanced answer…

To begin with, let’s make one thing clear: Love and Relationship are not the same thing.  We can choose to love another, even if the relationship we have with them is nonexistent (or nearly so).  Loving another means building a bridge between another and you, opening a door to a better future, a better relationship.  But just because that bridge exists does not mean you have to cross it, or that they will cross it, and you certainly should not cross it all the way to the other side!

Relationship is a two-way street.  A relationship will exist in some form – after all, relationship is part of the very fabric of our existence.  So, you do have relationships with others, all others.  However, the extent and quality of that relationship is attenuated by the limitations we bring to the table.  Love makes it possible to have a better quality and more balanced relationship with another, but only if they are willing and able to return that love.  Love enables you to get to the midpoint of the bridge, but it is up to the other as to whether they’ll meet you halfway, or not.

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