Post by Faith Reboot’s Leslie Nease
(Real Life with Leslie Nease)
“Leslie, the tribe has spoken.”
My heart sank as I watched the host of Survivor China snuff out my torch. I was so confused and baffled as to why my tribe voted me out. I confess there was a part of me that was ready to go, so it wasn’t a total disappointment to have to leave.
After all, we were all starving, living in filth and many of us were dehydrated. The days went on forever and sleeping eluded us as we could not get comfortable in the small bamboo shelter we built. But the rejection was real and I was trying to sort through how these people, with whom I stood side by side with for nine long days, could let me go so easily.
Have you felt the sting of rejection?
So many questions can flood the mind at a time like that. Was it something I said? Why don’t they like me? Is there something wrong with me? All legitimate questions, and all unanswered for me that night as I walked down the dark path into the jungle, each step pulling me further from those people who had literally been my family for nine days.
As I talked with one of the ladies who worked behind the scenes, tears fell down my face. I expressed to her that I was okay with what happened, because I knew God was in control. “Man’s rejection is God’s protection,” I confidently declared. She even commented on how level headed and confident I seemed. I was glad I came across that way, but down deep I knew I wasn’t as confident as I seemed – at least not yet.
Once I returned to the bungalow where we stay after we are voted off, I was able to take a shower, change my clothes, eat a hot meal and within hours I began to feel “normal” again. But my favorite memory of that night was when, after nine days, I finally opened my Bible again! Oh, how I missed God’s Word. It truly is something I had taken for granted and I never wanted to be without it again.
As I opened up to the Psalms, my spirits lifted:
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all of their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. (Psalm 34:17-20)
Just because I was voted off, that did not mean my purpose was over. I still had four weeks before I could return home (we don’t get to go home when we are voted off – we all come back together after production wraps up). I began to ask God for opportunities to share His love and truth with others for the remainder of my trip. I took my focus from my pain and rejection and began to see His purpose and protection.
Have you ever stepped back and looked a the times in your life where you’ve been rejected? Perhaps it’s an old boyfriend, a close friend, or even a family member. Can you see, now, how God protected you? Perhaps it’s true what they say: Hindsight is 20/20.
Rejection is more or less inevitable in life, but it doesn’t have to destroy us. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to cry. Take some time to do this, but…
2. Go to God in the midst of your pain. Pray and tell Him how you feel. Ask Him for guidance and peace. He knows the sting of rejection. (Isaiah 53:3) You can take comfort in knowing that He will never reject His children! (Psalm 94:14)
3. Keep an eternal perspective. God’s heart breaks when we are hurting, but He knows what’s on the horizon for us! Sometimes, in order to get to what is better, we must let go of what we think is good. (Jeremiah 29:11)
4. Trust God’s plan. I know it seems trite, but truly – Man’s rejection is God’s protection. Who knows? Perhaps that friend would have brought you down? Maybe that person you wanted to date doesn’t love the Lord like you do? We can trust God, even in the midst of our pain. Look for ways to be involved in His plan as you heal. He will use you!
5. Journal your thoughts, what you read in God’s Word and how He is faithful through this difficult journey. This will help you if you are faced with rejection again in the future.
In closing, here’s a snippet from my 2007 Journal. It gives me hope and reminds me that even in rejection, God is faithful:
July 23, 2007: I’m not sure why they voted me out, and maybe I’ll never really know. But one thing I do know: God’s plan is better than mine. I’ve given Bibles to people, I’ve answered questions, I’ve had intense prayer and conversation with others and I’m certain that His plan is just beginning. Who knows what may have happened if I’d stayed in the game? I may have gotten sick, hurt, or worse – I may have done something I would regret for the rest of my life. Thank you, Lord, for protecting me! My hurt is not going to get the best of me. I’m going to let it bring out my best.
Have you struggled with rejection? How has the Lord helped you through? Please leave your comments below or reach me via my blog, Real Life with Leslie Nease.