The sting of rejection is real, and oh so deep. I had reached out to someone I love dearly and to whom I do not speak with often, but was cast aside quickly.
My good intention: misunderstood.
My open arms: empty, recoiled in pain.
And instantly the internal condemning voice began. My mind continued to race for too many days and sleepless nights. While the logical person within me knew my pure intentions and that I cannot control how others react, my emotional side was in an unhealthy tailspin.
The reaction I received was not one of which I had hoped for, but it was also harmless. And yet, the weight of the rejection was excruciating, because it hit a venerable spot in my soul.
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
God knows us better than we know ourselves. The devil does too.
They both know our strengths and our weaknesses. And what God intends for good, the devil takes great joy in manipulating into evil.
A compassionate person will find their open heart aching with guilt and anguish; it’s the devil’s evil twist on God’s spiritual gift. Similarly, a person gifted with the act of giving will find themselves feeling taken for granted, or those gifted with wisdom will struggle with self-doubt…
The devil knows how to manipulate our emotions, and he knows our weak spots. The devil wants us to diverge from our path and stop us from practicing our gifts in the future.
My self-worth was venerable that day. I allowed my value to be redefined by flesh and bone. My attempt at reconnection and support, had me feeling embarrassed, misunderstood, and underappreciated. The devil redirected me.
But time passed, daily devotions continued, and I was reminded who I am: Psalm 139:14a I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
And Jesus charged me to stop my wallowing: 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
And He reminded me that the devil has already lost the war: John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
The devil lost to the One who could not imagine this world without us, to the One who picked out our unique spiritual gifts and our unique delivery of them. The devil lost to the One who affirms His support and love of us each morning with another day to practice these gifts inside of us again, and again, and again.
And in this journey, I was reminded the importance of discerning the motives behind the internal voice next time. Every time.
Are the words repeating themselves of condemnation of or conviction?
The devil uses condemnation to take us off course, while the Holy Spirit uses conviction.
Only the Spirit operates with conviction, in a gentle voice of correction and tugging. But the devil will hound you, will pain you, will distract you and lead you down a spiral if you let him.
Don’t LET him.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Allow the truth to ring louder in your ear through His word and worship.
Seek out Jesus. Hunt for Him faster than you are being hunted.
When the internal condemning voice is taking center stage, close the curtain, and shut off the lights. Silence it. Do this by turning up the worship music, by cracking open the bible and speaking aloud Pslams, by reading some solid devotionals. Search for scripture that speaks the truth you need to hear, and tape it up around your world until you have it memorized. Pray.
Show the devil that your reaction to his schemes will always be growing deeper in your faith and love of Christ.
Show him that his every attempt to derail you, will only grow your knowledge more.
Do this to show him that you are not giving in, but also practice this for the times that come that are going to really sting.
Grow your love of Christ. Read His word. Sit in solitude. Pray. Pray prayers of thanksgiving, of repentance and forgiveness, of affirmation, of protection, of praise. Listen. Memorize.
Harder things are coming, and you will need a firm foundation and relationship to stand upon.
And when you are not silencing the condemning voice inside your own head, help silence other’s internal voice of condemnation. Practice the art of acceptance, together. Offer others the benefit of the doubt that we generally grant only to ourselves. Open our arms and embrace. Truly listen. Be grateful for the role others play in your life. Speak words of affirmation and give genuine compliments liberally. Love. Let’s head the devil off before he even has a chance to hunt another.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the devil and his spiritual forces of evil from now until our last breath. Don’t be fooled or distracted to believe otherwise.
My heart has healed from my encounter, or lack thereof. The pain has lessened with time. But the seeds sown as I spent time in the word hunting for Jesus will be everlasting.
Yours will be too.