How to Conquer Rejection — or Overcome the Fear of Being Rejected

how to overcome rejection

“Rejection is real,” Louie Giglio, pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, writes in his book, Goliath Must Fall (2017). “None of us want to feel like we aren’t good enough. Or smart enough. Or wanted enough.”

He continues: “We may put on an exterior that says we don’t need anyone else’s approval. But, even in saying that, aren’t we kind of admitting that we do?”

Indeed, rejection – and fear of rejection – is at the heart of the human experience. We all battle it in some form or another, at certain times and for different reasons. 

In fact, as Louie Giglio reminds us, rejection itself was born in the Garden of Eden:

“Way back in the garden of Eden, a seed of rejection was planted in humanity. That seed is a big spiky plant now, and its blooms insist we must compare ourselves with everybody else. See, we all began miraculously – fully loved and fully accepted – in the mind and heart of almighty God. We are all God’s creations. Masterpieces. Yet we were born into a fallen world that’s brought the lie that people are only worth what they can achieve or what other people say they are worth.”

This seed of rejection has taken root and runs rampant in our world today:

“This seed causes people to think there’s something inferior about us – there’s something else we need to be everything we could be…[w]e learn early in life to compare ourselves with everybody else. We start looking around at others to figure out how we’re doing. This is particularly troubling in today’s modern world where social media is in our faces all day long.”

It is dangerous because it threatens to thwart our lives:

“If we live for people’s approval, we will die by their rejection. If we are not careful, then we will forget we were miraculously created by God for a purpose and a plan that he set in motion for our lives. He didn’t ask us to compare ourselves to other people or run someone else’s race. He said, ‘Run your race.’ Period. He didn’t ask us to work on someone else’s timetable. He wants us to work on his timetable.”

But, no matter how hard we try, we can’t conquer rejection on our own:

“It is not by the strength of men that battles are won. It is by the work of God…[i]t’s not about us gathering our slings and stones and going down to kill the giant of rejection ourselves. No, God is going to do that for us. He chooses the weak things to confound the strong, the simple things to upend the wise. In this case [the story of David vs. Goliath] God chose the youngest of all, as a way of showing it’s not the outward appearance that impresses God. It’s a heart of faith.”

Louie Giglio

We can, however, come to a place of true acceptance of who we are in Christ:

“David pressed through the rejection he felt to go on and accomplish the purposes of God for his life. He arrived at the battle from a place of true acceptance. And this is God’s invitation to us as well – to cloak ourselves in the true acceptance that Christ offers.”

In fact, realizing that we are already accepted is the only way to defeat rejection:

“The only thing that will help us move past the giant of rejection is to immerse ourselves in the acceptance of Christ. We need to arrive at the battle already feeling accepted.”

We can realize our acceptance by 1) “understanding the miracle of our creation”:

“We clothe ourselves in acceptance when we understand we are the work of God. David knew that about himself. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, David wrote Psalm 139…right in the middle of it, David declares, ‘For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…’ (vv. 13-14).”

In other words, you were not a mistake:

“God doesn’t make mistakes. God doesn’t make rejects. For this giant to fall, for this giant to be rendered powerless in your life, immerse yourself in this fact: God made you. Uniquely. Beautifully. Intentionally. Purposefully. Wonderfully.”

We can realize our acceptance by 2) “reveling in the mystery that Jesus chose us”:

“…from the very beginning of time, God chose you. Long before you knew him, he knew you. He loved you long before the world began. Before you ever felt the sting of rejection, God had already gone on record as choosing you. Before people decided whether or not you are good enough for them, God had already decided that he wanted to bring you into his family as a son or a daughter of almighty God.”

In other words, you belong to the Almighty God:

“Before you were conceived, God went on record in the heavenlies and said, ‘I choose you as my own.’…Let those words sink in. Jesus chose us. Jesus chose you.”

Louie Giglio

We can realize our acceptance by 3) “grasping how costly it was for Jesus to rescue us”:

“We clothe ourselves in Christ’s acceptance when we see the enormous cost God paid when he sent his Son to rescue us…[the Gospel] tells every human what we need to know in the deepest part of our souls – that we have enormous worth to God. Faced with life without us, his choice was to allow his Son to die for us. That’s how he recovered us and rescued us. God paid an enormous price for you.”

In other words, you were, and are, worth the sacrifice of God’s only son:

“…whether you are rich or poor, our net worth is not best reflected in dollars and cents or in what we own. Our true net worth is Jesus Christ. Our net worth is whose life was given for us. Our worth isn’t wrapped up in what we achieve and accomplish, although we always seek to do our best. Our net worth is forever anchored in the fact that Jesus was given for us. You are worth Jesus to God.”

And we can realize our acceptance by 4) “living from acceptance, not for it”:

“Our giant of rejection is not going to fall until we admit that we desperately need acceptance. If you’re too proud to say that, you most likely have some demons in your past that still might be lurking in the shadows. We were made to be accepted and embraced by our heavenly Father. We were made to be loved, for free.”

In other words, we already have the love and acceptance we need:

“The good news is that in Christ, we have everything we long for. Everything we need. We are not working to gain his acceptance. We already have it. We live from his acceptance, not for the acceptance of others. Sure, we want to be loved and liked by others. And we want to love in a way that will allow us to hear from heaven, ‘well done.’ But we live as though we know we are already fully loved and accepted in him [because we are!].”

Goliath Must Fall: Winning the Battle Against Your Giants is an easily accessible, yet powerful read that offers a fresh take on one of the most well known stories of the Bible, David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Giglio asserts that they key to overcoming the giants in our lives – from fear and rejection, to addiction, anger and even comfort – is less about building up our own strength and abilities, and more about turning our gaze toward our Almighty God who has already won our battles.

He writes: “As long as our eyes are on the problem, and the solution lies within ourselves, the X’s are going to pile up on the calendars of our fight, marking the days little to nothing has changed. But all that changes the day Jesus enters our Valley of Elah. The moment we stop staring at our giant and lock eyes with Jesus. The moment our hope shifts from us to him.”

“In the story of David and Goliath, God did not want victory to come about because David was fitted with all the best armor and held a sword in his hands and was really brave and defied the odds and had a whole army at his back. God wanted victory to come simply because one young man [David] trusted him.” 

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