If you are a Christian single who is actively dating or pursuing a relationship, odds are you have experienced some level of rejection. Everyone who opens themselves up to start a relationship is also opening themselves to rejection.
Rejection is not what negatively impacts you during your season of Christian singleness. How you deal with the rejection will be what determines the effect it has on you. Rejection will always sting. But how bad it hurts and how long these feelings of rejection last will be influenced by how you respond.
In fact, getting rejected during your season of Christian singleness could be one of the best or worse things that happen to you in a relationship. You can be shaped positively by a rejection which might cause you to learn what you need to learn so you can have a great Christian relationship in the future; or you can be shaped negatively by rejection and you could bring all kinds of baggage into your next relationship, sabotaging it right from the start.
So here are 5 healthy ways to respond to rejection during your season of Christian singleness.
- Prepare for the Possibility of Rejection Before it Occurs
One of the best ways to deal with rejection is to prepare your heart before the rejection even happens. Rejection hurts a lot more when it was unexpected. When you thought things were going to work out, when you expected someone to like you as much as you liked them, or when you build a relationship in your head before even talking to someone in reality – the sting of rejection is always worse.
The wrong approach here would be to never have desires, to never dream about the possibility of a relationship, or to never allow yourself to like anyone because you might get rejected. If you do that, you are not guarding your heart; you are walling your heart off and stopping the growth of any relationship in the future.
Rather than assume a relationship will work and get hurt and rather than assuming a relationship will not work and thus never try, the goal should be to pursue your hopes with while guarding your heart. As Psalm 4:23 states, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
A key part to guarding your heart is to prepare it for the possibility of being hurt in relationships. I remember in high school when I played hockey, the hits that always hurt the most were the ones you couldn’t see coming. When you knew you were going to get hit and you could brace for it, it far less damaging then when you got totally blindsided right at center ice. If you skate onto the ice and think you can’t get hit, it will hurt a lot more than when you are aware of the possibility.
On the other hand, if you were so afraid of getting hit when you played hockey, you were not going to be able to play the game very well. You can’t fear your opponent in any sport, especially in a contact sport. So you had to step out there knowing you could be hit but also not being afraid of it. Being guarded in a healthy way, in fact, helped the fear dissipated rather than debilitating you with fear.
If you never assume you could be rejected when you are hoping for a certain relationship to develop, you are not guarding your heart. You are allowing yourself to be way too vulnerable. If you go into a relationship assuming you will be rejected, you are not guarding your heart. You are being hopeless.
Guarding your heart will require you to be wise in your vulnerability, to take reasonable risks that do not leave you devastated if things do not go as planned. A wise risk is when the reward is worth the possibility of the hurt that could happen. Rejection is a necessary risk if you want a relationship.
- When Rejection Happens, Respond But Don’t React
After you prepare your heart to handle rejection before it even happens, the next step is to respond and not react when it does happen.
The differences between responding and reacting is that responding is when you act in wisdom. Reacting is when you act in emotion. Responding means you will be led by your mind. Reacting means you will be led by your impulses.
When you get rejected, it is normal and good to feel emotional about it. If your heart is healthy you will feel the appropriate emotions for the situation you are experiencing. So again, a healthy heart will feel hurt, sad, or possibly even frustrated. If you feel like someone led you on and then they reject you, for example, it is normal to be hurt and frustrated by that.
Problems arise, however, when you react out of those feelings and say things you will regret later. If you are a guy who asks a girl out but then you get nasty towards her after she rejects you, you are reacting and not responding (and only validating her decision to reject you). If you are a woman who tells every girl at church that a certain guy led you on even though that is just your perception of it and not reality, that is a reaction and not a response.
When you get rejected, I’m not saying you can’t ask questions or feel a certain type of way about it. I’m just saying that whatever you decide to do after being rejected, it should not cause regret later. Don’t go get drunk. Don’t call you ex. Don’t post mean things on social media you will delete later. Just cool off and pray about the best way to respond.
Usually the best way to respond is by just accepting that the other person doesn’t feel the same way as you and leaving it at that.
- If You Get Rejected, Take the Truth and Leave the Lies
After you experience a rejection, the goal is to grow from this rather than to be torn down. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is by identifying what is true and what is a lie.
Let’s say you had been talking to a guy you really started to like. You two had gone on a few dates, you were texting throughout the week, and overall things seemed really promising. And then all of a sudden, he tells you he really doesn’t like you in that way and just wants to be friends. You feel rejected.
The next thing your mind will naturally start to do is try to figure out why he doesn’t like you, “Did I say something wrong? Did I do something that offended him? Am I not attractive enough for him? Was I too boring on our dates? Did he think I wasn’t spiritual enough from him?” On and on the possibilities for the rejection will run through your mind.
Most times you won’t fully know all the possibilities. Eventually you will just have to accept the unknowns of why you got rejected. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn anything about yourself through this relationship experience. Maybe the guy does tell you why he doesn’t like you. If he gives you a reason, weigh through it to see if there is any truth to it. If there is, be humble and allow the Holy Spirit to use this to grow you. If you disagree and you feel the reason for the rejection is unfair, then do not receive that lie.
Perhaps God will show you that you did not guard your heart enough. Perhaps Satan will be telling you that you were too guarded. Perhaps God will be teaching you to choose more mature Christian men to date in the future. Perhaps Satan is now tempting you to only date non-Christian men because of what has happened.
When you experience rejection, the way to move forward is to learn from the truth and leave the lies behind.
- Don’t Make Big Generalizations After Getting Rejected
One common temptation that often comes on the heels of rejection is making big, negative generalizations from an isolated incident.
If one girl rejects you and then you start believing, “All women hate me. I’ll be single forever,” that is a huge problem. This big generalization is rooted in one event. That is very illogical to assume you know how all women feel about you because you learned what one woman felt about you.
If one guy rejects you and then you start believing, “Men think I’m ugly,” you are sabotaging your relationships with all males because of what happened with just one man in your past. To think you know the mind of all men because one man revealed his thoughts to you is illogical.
When you believe lies and big generalizations, you start seeing things that aren’t really there. These generalizations become self-fulfilling prophesies. If you believe no one could ever love you because that’s the lie you believed after a rejection, this belief will cause you to stay away from the opposite sex and thus cause you to never experience a relationship. Your experience might make you think your belief is true but in reality your belief is what is producing your experience.
2 Corinthians 11:3 warns us of how sin and our minds are connected, “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” If you don’t want to sin in your relationships and singleness, if you want to stay devoted to Christ even after getting rejected, you must be careful to not make big generalizations which are really just big lies.
- Grieve, Heal, Grow, Move On, and Then Don’t Look Back
In summary, after you are rejected, to really move on you need to go through the healthy phases of healing. The first step to healing is always grieving. If you don’t give yourself the opportunity to feel sad and disappointed, you are actually going to make the sting of rejection last even longer in your life.
Of course you can take this too far. Your grief should correspond to the level of your loss. If you got rejected by a girl you didn’t know that well, you should not be lying in bed for months afterwards. But you must allow the pain to be appropriately felt so you can then move on properly.
After you allow yourself to be disappointed, upset, and whatever else you might feel after rejection, you then need to start moving away from grief and into healing. Healing is when you start getting better and moving away from the event in your minds that is causing you pain in your heart. This is where you must learn and grow. What is God teaching you through this rejection?
After all of this, it’s simply time to move on. Eventually, you need to make a conscience decision to stop dwelling on it. Again, you don’t want to rush this or minimize your pain. You want to examine this event, examine your heart, and really walk with the Holy Spirit on what he is teaching you.
But eventually God will let you know it’s time to leave this in the past. You must accept whatever happened and let it be what it is. You might have unanswered question. You might still want to examine it. But if you linger too long on your rejection, you are doing yourself more harm than good.
If you want help on how to stop thinking about someone you liked, this article/video may help: How to Stop Thinking About Someone You Liked.
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