I wanted more to numb the excruciating pain from the emotional baggage I keep putting down but somehow keep picking back up.
For seven days, I’d been wrestling God with metaphorical punches and then tender embraces, sharing with him all the ugly unspoken broken I’d been processing. It has taken me two long years of depression, grieving, counselling and the hard work of healing to get here, but I’d finally gotten to the core of my deepest pain: Rejection.
In every significant relationship, whether it was romantic, friendship, familial, business or mentorship, I’ve experienced rejection over and over by the people I most adored and desired connection, depth and intimacy with. The ones I sought passionately to know me and love me from the inside out, have in some form or fashion made me feel cast aside, unwanted, unloved, and ultimately not good enough.
And in the last week, I discovered I was now feeling the exact same way about God!
1,6, 12, 16, 19, 20, 24 and now again at almost 29, I have experienced deep rejection time and again.
I’ve been unpacking my pain and these experiences of rejection with the help of counselling, The Trauma prayer, Wild and Free, as well as Heart Made Whole and sitting alone for hours on end in prayer and guided mediation with Jesus. I’ve been desperate for comfort and love, but not from anyone, from THE ONE.
I’ve wanted God more than any other time in my life to make himself known in a vary real way to me, as my father, my protector, my comforter, my encourager and my healer.
And yet, I haven’t felt him in any way shape of form in recent weeks.
….like a little girl who has her arms outstretched ready for her daddy to pick her up and comfort her in her sorrow and he won’t.
…..like a love sick teenager who’s just poured her heart out, waiting in desperation for a response to her love song and hears crickets.
…..like a hurting friend who’s deep in a pit and longs for someone to see her, sit with her and embrace her without judgement of her heart or blame.
…..like an unsure and scared college grad who longs to know their potential and needs someone to speak life over them and tell them what they’re made for!
These are the things I’ve wanted desperately- almost pathetically– from my Father, God.
And yet I’ve felt nothing but crickets.
As I sat on that couch, I poured out my hurt, anger and frustration at God. I begged to know why I’m so desperate for God’s affection, to just be with him and to know his thoughts- the very things he says he wants from me– and yet I feel like he’s refusing me. It’s like I know he’s there but he wont do anything but stare at me in silence!
My counsellor listened with such empathy, giving weight and validity to my hurt and anger. “Thank you!” I lamented. “I feel like a freak most days; like no one understands and I’m supposed to just shut up, stop acting like a child and move on already. Like I’m selfish and wrong for feeling these things!”
“Kailey,” she lovingly protested, “That would never work for you, ever! Hear me when I tell you that if you approach your hurt and relationship with God in that manner, you will never be able to receive and feel God’s love for you! You’ll spend the rest of your life striving for God’s affection and still feel rejected and like you’re not good enough in your last breath.
Because everything about that mentality and approach to hurt makes the little girl in you scream in tantrum protest. That little girl in you has experienced pain in her life and she needs someone- The One- to hear her hurt and validate it! No one else will do;Only her daddy can soothe that.”
“But I’ve been doing exactly that and I’ve been furiously protesting everything and everyone who’s trying to hit me with the message of “grow up and get over yourself.” And yet he wont answer me! He refuses to meet me where I’m at! WHY!”
“Work with me here.” she said, as she proceeded to take me through a guided mediation in which I spoke face to face with my father, God.
I told him everything I had just shared with her and more and then I waited for his response.
To my absolute astonishment and surprise, God revealed that he’d been earnestly trying – doing everything in his power to comfort me and speak life over me- but the fact is I can’t hear him or see him because I refuse to. My anger has my “talk to the hand” thrown up high and no matter what he does or try’s to tell me, it will never be good enough until…
I FORGIVE HIM.
WAIT…..WHAT? Forgive God?!?!
No one has ever even hinted towards the idea that God, my father, would seek my forgiveness for the ways I feel he has let me down, he should have protected me and I’ve been hurt!
I literally sat in silence for an extended period. I was dumb founded…and that’s a feat for me.
And like the weight of a million bricks was lifted from my heart, I felt peace and such relief for the first time in weeks. I actually started to laugh!
Me. Little old me. My God would choose to humble himself and submit to my choices – to MY will! Wow. That’s crazy.
Now don’t get me wrong. This isn’t an all together new idea but in some aspects, it’s certainly not a common theme you hear preached or discussed in Christian circles.
When your heart explodes with love for someone, it chooses to give the gift of affection, which is why God gave you a control center deep within your heart that possesses the ability to either choose to love Him or choose to reject Him. Since He created the human heart, giving it the great gift called free will, He gave all of us full jurisdiction over our inner realm, including the ability to say “no” to His love, His will, and His ways.
Let that sink in for a second. You are the only one who will ever be in full control of your own heart—not God. He will never violate the control He gave you. Our good God will always be present and willing to be your Counselor, Helper, Protector, Redeemer, Savior, and the Restorer, but you hold the final say. God offers you unconditional love and eternal relationship, but then gives you the freedom to refuse His gift. – Christa Black Gifford | Heart Made Whole
Part of relationship is honesty and God has been very gracious and gentle in allowing me to learn he is big enough to take my messy and sometimes ugly emotions; in fact he wants me to bring them to him!
But never ever have I entertained the idea of two way forgiveness in our relationship.
And yet that makes so much sense!
In every relationship I have, forgiveness is required on both ends, including my relationship with my daughter. While she is only 15 months, I have already on countless occasion sought her forgiveness. And I have no disillusions that it’ll stop. As she gets older with convictions and ideas of her own – no doubt many that will differ, contradict and even challenge mine- there will be times where I hurt her, even if I don’t mean to… even if what I do or say is quote on quote “for her good.”
Because the thing is, emotions are neither right or wrong. They simply are. And no one can tell me that how I feel isn’t valid, because it’s my heart that’s experiencing life in my unique way; my experiences and my personality help shape that.
So, whether or not we always understand why someone feels the way they do, it is always the loving and kind response to seek to understand, to extend grace and empathy and if applicable, to seek forgiveness. And on the other end, it is always the hope that the recipient will accept the invitation and offer forgiveness in return.
Because forgiveness always reconciles connection in relationship.
Isn’t this Christianity 101?
Find a quiet place in solitude. Perhaps wait until no one is home or try the bath, the closet or your car. It’s important you have the time and space to invest in this moment without feeling nervous someone will walk in/hear you or could be pulled away suddenly.
Is there anything in your life that you are mad at God for? Do you feel he’s let you down or hasn’t been what you believe you needed at the time? We may never fully understand why God allows certain things on this earth, but we can trust that God weeps with us in our sorrow, that he hurts when we hurt and that he desires to have your heart fully trusting that he is for you and that he is good.
Close you eyes and imagine yourself sitting face to face with God. Take all the time you need to connect with how you really feel. Invite Holy Spirit to remind you of the things you’ve been ponding and wrestling with – all the things you’ve imagined asking him or saying to him one day in hope of answers. Share your hurt, your pain, your frustration and your confusion. Don’t hold anything back! Let every emotion rise to the surface and allow it to fully run it’s course. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, how you sound or even if what you say makes sense. Just say it out loud!
When you’ve let it all out, just rest in silence and wait. Listen for what he has to say to you. Trust that the things that come to you in your mind and heart are God’s response.
If you can find it somewhere inside of you, offer God your forgiveness and ask him to restore your heart to his. If you can’t just yet, that OK! Ask God to help you want to forgive him and trust in time, you’ll get there.