Going to reveal a little truth about myself. Shocking, I know. I never do that! (I speak sarcasm fluently.)
Anyway, here goes. Do you remember the little Pigpen character from the Peanuts comics? He's the one who wanders around with the little dust cloud following him. Everywhere he goes, that dingy (din-jee) cloud is his constant companion. Most days, I feel a lot like him. I'm walking around in the midst of my own dark little cloud that I can't seem to shake. No, mine isn't dirt, in the physical sense, but it's spiritual filth, and it is the constant cloud of rejection.
Almost anywhere I go in my life, I walk in with the anticipation of rejection. There is a very small list of people in my life who I truly and completely feel loved AND ACCEPTED by. The caps are to indicate that it's not just the love, because there are actually a lot of people who I think love me-- or I at least think they think they love me, which for me is almost as good, but very few who I feel like ACCEPT me as I am. I could probably count on one hand (with 2 or 3 fingers to spare) the friends in my life who I really feel genuinely like AND ACCEPT me just as I am. With most people I sense more tolerance than acceptance, and it hurts.
I'm not telling you this (to anyone who might actually be reading it) to feel sorry for me, I'm just sharing a struggle. See, the way I see it, too often as Christians, we aren't willing to be open and honest about the things we struggle with, and rather than hoping for the victory that comes by having things in the open where Light can shine on them, we keep them hidden behind a happy face where they fester and rot, and sometimes the struggle gets stronger than our faith to be free of it.
I think I have felt this way for a long time. Maybe I have always felt this way-- a sense of guilt, of not being good enough, a fear of not measuring up. You might guess it's birthed out of my own dislike for myself, but that isn't true, I do like myself. Or should I ACCEPT myself, even with my faults. No, that's not the same thing as accepting my faults, I actually strive to be a better person all the time, but it is just to say, I am OK with who I am-- I just really don't believe that most other people are.
Sometimes this sense of rejection manifests itself as a sense of loneliness. That has definitely been the case in the last year with the magnitude of loss I have experienced in relationship. Thankfully it isn't something I experience in my own home. I really do believe my husband (mostly) accepts me for who I am, even though I know it drives him a little crazy at times. And I do not struggle with God's love and ACCEPTANCE. I know He meant it when He said that "He who began a good work in me will complete until the day of Christ." I know he is infinitely patient with me, and that I'm a work in process He will not give up on until I am the Masterpiece He intended for me to be.
That root of confidence in God's love and ACCEPTANCE of me (as a person, not what I do, but who I am) and the love and ACCEPTANCE of my husband helps me get through the constant pain I feel from not really feeling like I am wanted/ loved/ ACCEPTED/ belonging in any other area of my life. It's a lot like riding in waves of surf on the beach. There is no logical rhythm to the highs and lows I experience. Many days I manage fine, the "tide is out" and the cloud of rejection I feel is at a minimum. Other times it will come up unexpectedly and knock be down into the sand, I'll feel beaten and bruised. And other times it sucks me out where the sense of rejection is deep. I have a very hard time getting my bearings there and I cannot often swim back to shore without help. God usually has to pull His lifeguard move when things get that dark, but thankfully He is faithful not to leave me in that place.
I share all this to say that being a believer in Christ doesn't make us immune to the emotional difficulties of life. So often we look around at one another and think everyone else has it so together, and we alone have our secret struggles. The truth is, everybody has a little cloud in their life, yes some people may truly have a better handle on it, but none of us is without a battle. But better yet, whatever battle you might be facing, you can be confident of this, if you are a follower of Christ, God won't leave you there.