Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why Rejection Hurts

When my book I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours? was first published I sent a copy of the book to Family Life Today. I was told it would take a minimum of three months for the review process. I waited until the 4th month before making a follow up call. When I called I was hoping to receive the good news that this important and effective ministry dedicated to strengthening marriages would be interested in a faith based book written to strengthen the relationship of couples coping with prostate cancer.  Sadly I received the news this topic did not fit in with their priorities.

When I hung up the phone I found myself feeling hurt, angry and rejected. For four months I thought my book had a serious chance to be utilized. The fact of the matter was it never had a chance. I wish I could have received this information before I sent the book in for review.

I have nothing but respect for the work and ministry of Family Life today. I understand they don’t focus on how diseases effect marriages. Even though I've come to the conclusion this wasn't a rejection, I still felt  rejected.

I don’t know your history with rejection, but I know mine. I've been turned down on dates. I've had women say “no” when I asked them to dance. I've been stood up more than once and had a few “it’s not you, it’s me” heart-breaking kind of breakups. All of those experiences occurred decades ago. I've been happily married for thirty-three years. Based on the intensity my feelings, I've come to believe that your whole history with rejection gets re-activated and re-experienced. Therefore, those old feelings of hurt come right back as if they were fresh wounds.

Admittedly I've also experienced a number of fresh wounds.  I can’t find any Christian organizations interested in supporting men and couples coping with prostate cancer. I've visited six Churches in my community. I've donated books to Church libraries and wrote letters to the Pastors explaining that 1 in 6 men in their congregation will find themselves diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Not a single Church asked for additional information, or invited my wife and/or I to speak to the Seniors at any Church about prostate cancer, even though we offered to do that.  Not a single Church that accepted the book into their library sent a thank-you note for the donation. One Mega-church in my community turned down the book donation, and refused to take a free copy for their Pastor.

I expected to find more doors opened than closed. I expected to find support and encouragement. My assumptions and expectations were wrong.  More doors will be closed than opened. Words of encouragement and support will be few and far between.

One response to rejection is to take yourself out of the game, so you don't experience this rejection over and over again. I'm no where near that place. When I feel rejected, I think of someone who is near and dear to my soul was also rejected:
 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 
(Luke 17:25-26 NKJV)

Because He was rejected, I know this:
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 
(Heb 4:15-16 NKJV)

Whenever I feel hurt, rejected, frustrated or disappointed, I know it's time to take those feelings straight to the throne of grace where I receive the acceptance and encouragement I need to press on.

What’s your source of comfort when you feel rejected or alone?