When you've been rejected

We're forever approved of and chosen by God.

It's strange to find yourself with the same hurt feelings you had in grade school when your best friend told you that she never wanted to play with you again. The stabbing rejection is back – that feeling of not being good enough, not being chosen, not being wanted or valued.

Maybe it's ridiculous to feel this way over a friendship that has moved on. You say to yourself, "Grow up! It's not the first time you've been rejected, and it won't be the last."

But heartache isn't so simple. It can be devastating – the result of infidelity in a marriage, being fired from a job, or a grown child no longer staying in touch. Whether the situation is big or small, we long to be comforted.

This has happened a number of times in my adult life. Some I've handled better than others. As I look back, the times I've found real comfort were when I stopped blaming the situation, myself, or others, and turned in prayer to God. This prayer always revealed to me that no matter what the hurt appeared to be, what actually made it so painful was that something about my relationship with God felt askew.

That may sound strange at first, but understanding my identity as God's child has been key to finding my way out of rejection. One way the Bible has taught me to look at God is as the only Ego, or Mind. God revealed Himself to Moses as "I AM THAT I AM"' (Ex. 3:14). Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Monitor, described "I AM" as "God; incorporeal and eternal Mind; divine Principle; the only Ego" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 588).

Seeing that I am the effect or expression of that Ego, or God, gets me back on track. Knowing that we are the offspring of the divine Ego opens us up to the source of goodness, love, and ability. Believing we have our own egos, separate from God, results in pride and fear, limitation and doubt, because the mortal ego is finite and is not the source of goodness, love, and ability.

If a situation comes crashing down on us, we may blame ourselves, other people, or the circumstances, when what's really needed is to acknowledge the omnipotence of God, the divine Ego, and our relation to it. This may seem difficult if we feel like helpless victims of others' decisions or of circumstances beyond our control. But it's well worth the effort to re-identify yourself as the spiritual idea of God. When I've done this, I've always been comforted.

Once when I was on a professional panel, I was told of plans to replace several members in order to accommodate another geographical representation. In the end, I was the only one replaced. At first, I felt betrayed and rejected. I considered calling the moderator, demanding to know the reason. Then I prayed and re-identified myself as the expression of God, the one Ego.

I was being tempted to indulge in egotism, the false sense of being personally "good" at this work. When I yielded to God, I felt assured that His goodness wasn't personal and limited, but whole and expressed by all of His ideas. I was happy that someone else had the opportunity to be on the panel, and, within a day, I was invited to give a talk in that same location.

This approach also helped me when a longtime friend went through some changes in her life and our close relationship shifted. I've continued to enjoy heartfelt sharing with this friend, despite our much less frequent contact.

I found comfort again after a family member's comments cut deeply. As I prayed, I realized I'd been feeling like a martyr, having gone the extra mile with her. I heard a gentle rebuke from God, "Neither you nor she has ever been responsible for doing anything on your own. I am the source of all the doing. Both of you are My glorious expressions of goodness." This brought me peace.

We don't have to just pass over, suppress, or let time take away the hurts of rejection. Prayer can bring us the comfort of being forever approved of and chosen by God, the Ego who defines our very being.

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