When I was nineteen, my first real boyfriend went away to camp and fell in love with a fellow counselor but kinda forgot to tell me. I had to find out through someone else. And once I did, my then not-really-my-boyfriend-anymore boyfriend came up with some interesting reasons why we should break up.
You’re not old enough for me. (I was one year younger.)
I’m already looking for a wife. (I never claimed I wasn’t willing.)
Maybe once you get your braces off, we could… (Yes, he really, really said that.) (And yes, I really, really had braces at nineteen…whatever. NOT THE POINT.)
But what it all came down to was this: He found someone else.
Now, the healthier person would finish that sentence like this: He found someone else who was better suited to him.
But what I took it to mean was this: He found someone else who was better than me, in every single way.
In other words, in very real ways, I felt utter rejection. I felt like he had held up our previous five months to his current five days with this new girl and said, “Yep, no comparison. I choose the new one”.
That break-up – my first real break-up – sent me reeling, but not for the reasons you might think. I liked him. A lot. But I even knew I didn’t love him. That we were okay together. But not great together. That he was a good guy but that he wasn’t my guy. That I had to squint pretty hard to see a future with him.
The reason it sent me reeling was because his choice to reject me (my words, not his) echoed my wounds of abandonment and chaos and not-enough-ness that I had felt my entire life. It was one big I-told-you-so. One loud confirmation. One glaring just-when-you-thought-you-were-maybe-okay-ish…bam…not so fast.
So, now twenty-some years later, I find myself on the other side of a difficult marriage and difficult divorce. The rejection sirens blaring in every corner of my life.
And I have a choice. I have a choice to become aware of the voices I’m hearing. And I have a choice to flesh out lies from the Truth. And I have a choice which words I will take on and live under and carry with me and allow to define me.
Will I choose to believe that I am worthy of being rejected on a continual basis? That once someone really gets to know me they will surely walk away in disgust? Or will I choose to believe that some people don’t like me for me, but most people will? That all people don’t have to like me? That perhaps I just don’t fit with a handful of people, but there are a ton of amazing people in my life who love me just as I am?
And that perhaps, most importantly, I have a God who looks at my heart and says, “I have chosen you and have not rejected you.” Will I listen to that Voice? Will I walk in the freedom that Voice brings?
Walk free, sweet woman. You are not rejected. You are free.
You can find freedom here with Fashioned Before the Stars, People of the Second Chance’s Freeway for Women series.