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What Makes Rejection So Awful

July 27, 2016

My mouth was dry. My hands a bit numb. There was a stabbing tightness in my chest. My mind blurred as my thoughts became a fragmented kaleidoscope of a million pictured hopes I thought were just around the corner for me. For us. For the us that was now becoming just me again.

We were only dating. But my mind had already run ahead in time and built a life with this man. In the future we had romantic picnics to take, snowball fights to laugh through, a wedding to plan, a house to build, and kids to name who had his smile and my eyes.

I’m not sure these were ever real to him. But to me, they were as real as the stone-cold coffee now sitting in front of me. The one I kept stirring to have something to focus on but that I never intended to drink. Drinking coffee seemed a bit too normal of an activity to participate in when my entire inner life had just been declared a state of emergency. Because all of a sudden, the rest of my planned-out life was aflame. I wasn’t just losing a boyfriend today. I was losing the connection to all those dreams for tomorrow that now would never be.

His words were making their way through my ears to my heart. I felt the full impact of their harsh landing. As they skidded their way across the most tender places inside me, their piercing weight burned and cut and ripped apart what I thought would be so very permanent. Rejection always leaves the deepest, darkest marks.

That was decades ago. But I can pull up the memory of it as if it were yesterday. I have to search around a bit in my past, but there it is. The wound isn’t pulsing with pain any longer. It’s more of a scar. Like a war wound, it’s just a story now.

I pulled out my journal today and tried to capture the raw essence of what makes rejection so awful. But in the end I couldn’t capture the depth of it with finely crafted words. Instead of diving deep with my thoughts, I let them come in simple, personal phrases.

I like stability.
I don’t like getting caught off guard.
I like feeling known.
I don’t like feeling thrown away.

As I kept making this list, one line finally emerged that seemed to sum up rejection better than the others: I don’t want my normal to be snatched away. Life feels impossibly risky when I’m reminded how unpredictable circumstances can shatter and forever change what I know and love about my life. And in the fallout, some pieces never find a way to fall back into place.

It’s like taking a photograph containing all the people you love and suddenly some of those people purposely cut themselves out of the picture. And the gaping hole left behind is in some ways worse than death. If their absence was caused by death, you would grieve their loss. But when their absence is caused by rejection, you not only grieve their loss but you also have to wrestle through the fact that they wanted this. They chose to cut themselves out.

Though you are devastated, they are possibly walking away feeling relieved. Or worse, they might even feel happy. And there you sit, staring at a jacked-up photograph that no glue in the world can fix. Normal has been taken. Not by accident. But very much on purpose by someone you never expected could be such a thief.

Rejection steals the security of all we thought was beautiful and stable and leaves us scared and fragile and more vulnerable than ever.

But God. He’s there. Jesus said, “I have come into the world as light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness,” (John 12:46). With Jesus I can walk out of this dark place.

Yes, He is the One whom I know can help me. Heal me. Show me what to do when I’m hurting. Therefore, I must do whatever He instructs me to do right now. I must embrace Him. And I know I can’t continue to fully embrace God while rejecting His ways.

So I turn to Him. And really listen to where He’s leading me with a willing heart.

God drops a word into my heart. Like a swig of orange juice just after brushing my teeth, I recoil at the unexpected taste. Of grace.

Why grace?! Because grace given when it feels least deserved is the only antidote for bitterness. Just because I’ve been hurt doesn’t mean I now have to live hurt. I can get mad and bitter and spread more hurt around. Or, I can give grace and gentle responses and spread more hope around.

Hurt people, hurt people.
Healed people, heal people.
And I want to be in that latter group.

There’s nothing we can do to eliminate the pain of rejection. Oh, how I wish there were. With every fiber of my being, I wish I could remove it from my world and from yours. But I can’t. The only thing I’ve seen work in my life to help my heart heal from these deep wounds is the constant pursuit of the sweetest grace.

To love God is to cooperate with His grace. And since I’m so very aware of my own need for grace, I must be willing to freely give it away. Each hole left from rejection must become an opportunity to create more and more space for grace in my heart.

If this blog post resonated with you today I’d love to share more powerful encouragement in my new book, Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely. It doesn’t release until August 9th but if you pre-order your copy you’ll received free resources including the first 5 chapters of the book today! Click here to get your copy.

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  1. Melissa Henderson

    A powerful message. Thank you. 🙂

  2. Denise Conner

    Lysa I know rejection too well. Last year my mom turned away from me due to a perception she had about my actions. I stayed true to my convictions and my trust was fully with God. He brought me through it and now we are mending together. God is good and uses this rejection to make us lean in and become stronger. Loved your words.

  3. Rafael Somma

    My ex girlfriend rejected me and destroyed me. That’s why the line “But very much on purpose by someone you never expected could be such a thief” resonate so deep in me. And it still hurts.

  4. Diwakar Wankhede

    Very spirit filled message. I am blessed. I am a Pastor from Mumbai, India. I did come across your profile on the blogger earlier too but do not remember commenting on your blog post. I am blessed and feel privileged and honored to get reconnected with you as well as know you through your profile on the blogger and the blog post. I love getting connected with the people of God around the globe to be encouaged, strengthened and praying for one another. I have been in the PASTORAL MINISTRY for last 37 yrs in this greawt city of Mumbai a city with a great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. we reach out to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the brokenhearted. We also encourage young and the adults from the west to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. we would love to have your young grwon up children to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. I am sure they will have a life changing experience. I am glad to know about your Organization “Proverbs 31 Ministries”. We also would love to have your team come to Mumbai to Encourage, strengthen and equip them to be effective in their respective churches. We can organize Three days Women’s Conference for 100 participants and you could come as resourse people. I am sure it would be a very rewarding time for you and enriching time for the Participants. Though we do not have funds to organize such conference yet I believed the Lord can meet our needs. God willing I will be coming to the States in the month of September and will be so glad to stop by your place and see the possibility of such Conference. Looking forward to here from you very soon. God’s richest blessings on you, your family and the team in the ministry.

  5. Kristal Stuckey

    Will Uninvited have a study released in August as well?

  6. Cheryl Sherry

    Looking forward to reading your Uninvited book. I just bought your book July 30 through 31bookstore. You said that if you pre-order your copy you’ll received free resources including the first 5 chapters of the book today! I have not received it. I have proof I bought it. Was wondering if I was suppose to do something to get my downloads? Looking forward to getting started. Been dealing with a lot of rejection lately. Having a hard time with this. Don’t have any support system near by. I have been taking my children to the same church for the last 4yrs. I’m not a very out going person, so this is not the easiest thing for me to do by myself. Then to feel rejected makes it even harder. I want my kids to know God and have a relationship with him. Would like them to go to church that other kids from their school go to as well. Any way looking forward to getting this book started.

    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Hi, Cheryl!

      If you go to and click on “Redeem My Pre-Order Gifts”, there will be a form you can fill out. Once you submit your information, you will receive an email with the chapters in it. If you have any trouble, do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]!

      Lysa’s Ministry Team

  7. Karey

    For me it hurts deeply because the pain comes from my only daughter-in-law. She has no place in her life for another female (she is very close to her mother). After 4 years of marriage I expected the whispering when the four us were together would have stopped and respect would have developed, that a goodbye would be given when she leaves to go Skype with her family (her brother lives in another state-mom calls and says come). I have not encroached into their marriage-as I had a mother-in-law who did. So I’ll keeping praying…… ordered your book.

  8. janny holder

    oooh my goodness do I know rejection? yes I do! but at the end of my rejection journey I am a better person. don’t get me wrong it hurt, it stinks and you just feel so belittle but the lord had a greater and bigger plan for my life. I think about it from time to time but it does not affect me anymore. I just take it as a learning experience and I have grown from it.

  9. lydia


    I wanted so much to get a copy of your book so I was excited when you advertised an offer with “faithbox”. Unfortunately I have had a lot of headache in doing so. I wanted to share my experience so you will know about companies you advertise. I made a payment for a one time shipment but still have not received it. The company has attempted to bill my card every day this week until it is now frozen because I did not have the funds to cover the payment. Their customer service line always goes to voicemail so I can not resolve the issue. And they do not respond to emails. I hope I can get this fixed eventually but also wanted to tell you about it.

  10. Joe

    this is more of a question than a comment — who is the intended audience of “Uninvited”? Specifically, is it geared to women, or can men benefit from the book as well? From what I have read in the “press” it appears to be a book from which I (male) could benefit — your thoughts?

    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Hi, Joe!

      So glad you asked! This is absolutely a book men can benefit from! Even though it is written from a woman’s perspective, the truths she teaches definitely apply to both men and women.

      Lysa’s Ministry Team

  11. Rebecca

    Pre-Ordered your newest book “Uninvited” from Barns and Nobel (the signed copy) months ago (so excited) and was just informed today that they can’t give me a known date for when it will ship out because it’s out of stock (even before it’s release date of August 9th)!? They told me to wait till more are in stock, but my question is… will they truly get any more signed copies (as in will you be signing anymore for Barns and Nobel) or should I just cancel the order? Was wondering if you were already made aware of this?


    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Hi, Rebecca!

      So sorry for any confusion with Barnes and Noble! We are going to look into this and email you back soon!

      Lysa’s Ministry Team

      • Jessica

        I too am wondering about this! I tried to order but they said it was out of stock, and to wait for more to be in stock. I would absolutely love a signed copy! Apparently, I (potentially) found out about it too late (according to Barnes and Nobel). I am hoping there is still a chance!

        Many Blessings!

        • Lysa TerKeurst

          Hi, Ladies!

          Barnes and Noble was having some technical issues. The website now says that they do still have the signed books in stock. Maybe try again today? So sorry for all of the confusion!! Hope you are still able to grab a signed copy!

          Lysa’s Ministry Team

  12. Teresa Hyde

    Your words speak right to where I’m at. You said something like, “Each hole of rejection in my heart is an opportunity for grace to come in & abound more and more” That is what I need as I’m feeling constantly rejected in this chaotic world.

  13. Lori Hunley

    This sure hit home. . . after 24 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart and best friend, he left me for a much younger woman he had met at work, who was only two years older than our oldest son. My world as I knew it had shattered. My whole life had been being a wife and mother, keeping our ‘home’ and I didn’t know what I was going to do. But during this time when I thought my life was over, God’s amazing love embraced me through my friends and family. I’ve never had such a peace come over me. I turned to God during this time, and found a strength and calm I never knew I could experience. My life over the past four years has evolved and I now know that God ‘saved’ me from a life I knew as normal. He brought a Godly man into my life, whom I am now married to, and a church family into my life that has completed me. It is amazing how someone you fully trust and adore in this earthly life can take away every ounce of self worth and make you feel totally empty and worthless. God restores that, and if you walk a faith filled life and don’t give up, he will bring you out of the valley and restore your soul with blessings you never imagined! Thank you for this wonderful excerpt to your book, and I can’t wait to read it!

  14. Mysty Pfeffer

    I read this the day it was published and just sobbed as I pictured my daughter cutting me out of her life as the photograph analogy depicted. The fresh rejection renews a very old, yet deeply rooted feeling of never doing anything right, never fitting in, and not being loved. Feelings rooted in abandonment by my father.
    All of which I thought were gone through the power of the Holy Spirit and reading God’s word daily. The anger, resentment, and building a heart of stone was chipped away slowly as I became an adult, a young wife, a mother, a nurse. Love and grace showered upon me for years by our great and loving God was healing me to the core and at this moment in life….He IS carrying me through.
    I praise Him for the walk in the wilderness, I need further humbling for Him to take me to the next step with Him and I welcome His refining of things that are just plain ugly in me. This book and study is so timely for me…..Just like God to release it when most needed;) Thank you Lysa, for being His obedient, loving, girl!

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