When You Experience Rejection in Friendship

The most shocking place that rejection can operate is in the arena where we least expect it, from our dear friends. It is in the closest friendships, where we often let our guard down the most and allow ourselves to become vulnerable.

This can allow two people to walk together and experience amazing connection. While at the same time, the deep hurt encountered in friendships can be absolutely debilitating.

Friendship wounds can have a unique effect because the suddenness is often shocking. What you thought you had turns on a dime as betrayal and personal attacks erupt, mixed with twisted communication are sent your way in rapid speed.

Communication Gone Bad

Friendship wounds can be traumatic and spiral out of control. One of the observations I have noticed about friendship fallouts is that communication get twisted rapidly. A humble and healthy conversation would greatly help most conflicts. Sadly, gossip and slander get the upper hand, which sends people into war protection.

Worse yet, communication gets quiet. What a healthy conversation could bring about is not talked about. In some of my most intensive work with relationship conflict, some of the deepest wounds in that relationship were never talked about. They just moved on without ever sitting down and reasoning together.

A Rejection Mindset Enters Painful Places

The enemy loves this, because he can inject a rejection mindset all throughout these painful experiences. He will seek to keep us from the potential we have together, which is more than just friendship, it’s brother and sister bonds that are at stake.

When you lose a brother or sister, it’s like having a organ removed. The pain is excruciating.

David and Jesus 

Rejection in close relationships is something that men and women of history have certainly experienced. King David encountered deep pain, coming out of the abandonment and betrayal of close comrades. It was in painful moments of relational isolation, where he almost came to his wits end, if it wasn’t for the healing mercy of God.

In the prophecies of King Jesus, when He returns to establish Himself as Messiah and King of Kings, people will see the scars on His hands as proof of His identity. When asked where the wounds came from, His response will show where our deepest piercings in life originated.

And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. Zechariah 13:6 (KJV)

Making a Decision

The reason I am so passionate about freeing people from a rejection mindset is that it has smacked me in the face hundreds of times. Woundedness from deep friendships and connections cut so deep, I didn’t know if I was going to make it. The shock of sudden betrayal, backbiting and relational silence hit me to the core.

In those gut wrenching moments, I had a decision to make. Was I going to pursue healing or get caught in the feedback loop of rejection’s destruction?

I would not have made it through any of those experiences had I not been aware of rejection’s lies. It was only through the healing process of cleansing out rejection, that I was able to get some clarity on how to move forward.

Deep Loneliness and Relationship Frustration

One of the top frustrations I encounter with people I work with is the loneliness they feel. Many of them want deep, intimate connections, but their past pain and woundedness keeps them even knowing where to start.

We all need friendships. They are the way we grow and process our ability to love and manifest God’s nature.

Because of past pain, too many neglect or give up on friendships. This can certainly lead to an erosion into isolation without quality human connection. Friendships can breathe life into so many areas of our hearts, but they can also become a battleground full of division and hurtful actions.

Friendship Rejection – A Vulnerable Place

Friends are supposed to be people we open our hearts to, giving them access to vulnerable places. This was meant to be a safe avenue of protection, where we grow and flourish. But when it backfires, a rejection mindset unleashes an assault on our hearts, to train us in counterfeit ways for dealing with the pain.

If you are reading this, odds are you have some deep wounds in friendship. But you also carry a desire to walk into healthier patterns. You want your future to be unhindered by your wounded past.

With that in mind, here are some important things I have learned, when it comes to friendship and a rejection mindset.

1. It’s Easy to Blame

One of the ways we keep the wounds of rejection in our life is we place 100% of the blame on others. It keeps us from having perspective on the situation; from recognizing the other person’s brokenness, as well as our own broken patterns.

If I sit back and focus on the story of what other people did wrong, I lose the ability to hear from the Holy Spirit on where I can heal and grow. If my focus is on what everyone else did wrong, I miss out on being empowered to grow.

But the solution is also not to blame yourself. The key is removing the blame-game period. It only welcomes accusation and keeps you from the healing that is available.

2. Rejection Will Train You to See God as Only on Your Side

In our woundedness, we can get into tunnel vision–that God is on our side and against the other person. We can seek to build a case in our hearts against the other person, when in reality, you are two broken people that had some rough interactions.

The truth is, you both need healing. But when we “put up our dukes,” we lose the ability to see the situation with greater clarity. Rejection just keeps us focused on the wound, with little resolution found.

When we focus on God “being on our side,” we not only lose perspective, we can invite strife into the situation, which cultivates envy and a contentious environment, whereas James said, “every evil thing” can show up. (James 3:16 KJV)

3. Your Main Focus Will Seek to Be Right instead of Growing in Compassion

One of the patterns I had to let go of, which was rooted in rejection, is feeling the need to get my side of the story spoken, so that people could know what really happened. Yet any time I did that, it never truly healed the wound, nor did it help usher in any healing to others.

The better road is the one of humility, which releases the need to be right or be vindicated. In fact, I had to release any vindication into God’s hands. That is the most challenging and often painful process of it all. But it surrenders vengeance and allows God to work in my process as I humble myself before Him.

Humility can open our hearts to have a perspective of compassion towards those that wronged us, misused us and harmed us. With a lens of compassion, we can more easily forgive and put the whole experience into perspective.

4. Where Can You Heal and Grow?

Many times, the best question I can ask myself after experiencing deep relational woundedness is, “what now?” “how can I heal and grow in this?” “how can I use this pain as an opportunity to go deeper in my transformation journey?”

Many people remain stuck in the pain of rejection because they lose the ability to ask empowering questions. They ask, “Why me?” “Why is everyone against me?” “When am I ever going to have a good friendship?” All it does is invite further limitations to forward progress.

5. Many Relationships are For a Season

I often find that people can get into a bitter mess over a relationship, when they often fail to see that it’s actually time to move on. Most of our relationships are not meant to be lifelong close and intimate relationships. Many of them are for seasons, where we accomplish great things together, grow together and learn from each other.

But then we can’t see that it’s time to move on.

God will send someone into your life to deposit something you need to learn or receive. It may be someone He has called you to bless in a specific way or help for a specific purpose. But over time, you will see that if you operate beyond that, you can get really frustrated and even angry.

It’s not as simple as the other person is just awful. There is a new season ahead. If we can do this with honor, we can open ourselves to new horizons that are calling. To move into the new season, we have to be willing to let go.

We waste so much energy and time trying to be connected to someone who just isn’t capable or willing to be connected to you in that way. Rejection wants to make this a toxic intersection, but if you look at it with a healthy heart, you can see that there are probably new relationship opportunities you can explore.

6. Relationship Rejection Can be Good for You

You may be surprised to hear this from me. But I can say with certainty that my most painful relationship rejections actually propelled me to the next level of what God had for me. I don’t think I would have taken the steps I have taken without those fiery moments of pain that eventually propelled me to the next level.

If you walk with a desire to be healthy, someday you will look back and thank that person for rejecting you. Sounds weird, but sometimes it takes an intense moment to jar us out of our comfort zone or complacency. If life was left to us, many would just crawl back into passivity and comfort, wanting to keep the same friends, the same habits and the same status quo living.

It often take a painful moment to get our attention that it is time to move on–not in bitterness, but with a heart that knows there is more for you.

7. Be Kind to Your Healing Process

I need to be kind to my healing process, knowing that it takes time to grieve and heal. Rejection in friendship takes time to heal, usually a lot longer than we think it does. So it is important that we keep asking God to give us a healthy perspective, so we can position ourselves for the healthy relationships that are waiting for us.

But we have to be willing to undo the rejection mindset that seeks to keep us trapped in the pain of past relationship wounds.

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