I posted this on facebook tonight:
I think nonverbal rejection is worse than verbal rejection. At least you can say something and explain yourself in response when it's verbal.
One of the hardest things for me is to not take things personally. Rejection hurts me deeply. With everything there are both strengths and weaknesses.
I have such a desire to connect with people. I will pursue them over and and over. I know that this is the way that God made me. I have learned over the years to try and pick up on the cues when someone does not want my friendship.
I feel like I learned how to be a friend as a teenager and even as an adult, rather than when I was a child like most people.
I grew up without friends for the most part. I was blessed to get to know a group of girls Spring Semester of my freshman year in high school. I became best friends with my friend Kim, who I am still friends with today. She has taught me so much about what it means to be a friend over the years.
As hard as I try, though, sometimes I still miss the cues.
For the past five years, I've tried to become friends with one of my neighbors. She has been friendly to me and I thought, welcoming. But, she has never been the one to start conversations with me. I realize that now.
I realized yesterday because of a sign on her door that I'm not supposed to knock on her door or ring her doorbell. Because of the sign on her door, I realized that she doesn't want to be my friend. I realized it without her saying a word to me.
I had gone to her door out of kindness and I walked away hurt. There are times in our lives when the kindness we extend to others will not be received.
I read in one of Cynthia Heald's Bible studies that a gift is not a gift until it is accepted and received. The intention is not the same. It is not a gift until it is received. When we receive a gift that someone gives us--whether it is of friendship, or a tangible thing, we allow the other person to become a giver. When we reject and do not accept a gift, we reject what the other person has to offer--and in a way we reject them.
But, there are many times when we want to give a gift and the person we want to give it to is unwilling or unable to receive it. What then? How do we feel? How do we cope with the rejection?
There were several scriptures that came to my mind (all are from the NIV).
The first was Matthew 10:14 "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet."
Genesis 50:20 "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
I believe that my neighbor intends me no harm, but the rejection has hurt and caused its own harm and hurt to my heart.
Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Luke 6:27-28 "But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."
How are we to treat people who don't want to be our friends? ...who reject you?
The conclusion I came to last night is that we are to love them, but that doesn't mean that I should keep pursuing my neighbor's friendship. I need to respect her and respect that she doesn't want to be my friend. That is the loving thing to do. But, as my husband said, I need to shake the dust off my feet so that I can walk up to the next house. I need to make sure that my feet don't get stuck in the mud focusing on that rejection or to continue to pursue a friendship that isn't wanted, because if they get stuck in the mud they will be weighted down and burdened. That burden could keep me from getting to where God wants me to go.
If God lays it on my heart again to pursue her friendship someday, I will be obedient. But, I am trusting that this is not what I am to do now. There are other things on my plate to do...