Have you suffered stinging rejection from a dear friend?
A few years ago I received an email containing these words, “You haven’t been there for me in the ways I’ve needed. You’ve let me down and I’m not sure I can continue this friendship…”
Not long before this email, a childhood friend chose to drift out of my life. I had missed an important event and it hurt her deeply.
Two friendships seemingly lost. Thus began a time of beating myself up: my friends’ words replaying in my head.
Next, came months of justifying my behavior to myself and God.
And then I began building: building prison walls of self-preservation around my heart, living in the land of emotional pain avoidance, and residing in a benign world of casual friendships.
The loss of these two relationships, coupled with painful memories of childhood rejection caused me to stack the prison bricks as high as a fortress.
Finally, God began tugging at my walled-up heart through His word. This verse, in particular, spoke to me:
Those who know your name trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You. Psalm 9:10 NIV
I needed to know in my knower that no matter what I do or don’t do, God will not reject me. Ever. I needed to bask in His unconditional love. Still do. Always will. People are conditional -even the wonderful ones – but He is not.
Slowly, God began to pull down the prison walls. Taking baby steps, I strove to bring depth to a couple of relationships, taking them beyond casual.
Since friendships can hurt, these steps required prayer and courage. Yet, God was there with His unconditional love. Reminding me He will be with me even if (more likely, when) rejection comes again.
God has blessed me by restoring both of these friendships and bringing other deep relationships into my life. Yet, I am always a step away from a self-preservation repeat. Knowing God does not want me to walk wounded, I stay mindful, remembering the truth of Psalm 9:10.
Dear one, are you living in a prison of self-preservation? Is The Lord calling you out? Yes, friendship can hurt. But He loves you dearly and I believe he wants our lives rich in relationships. Have you been wounded? Then look to The Lord and His word for healing and courage. Perhaps a counselor can help?
My friend, my prayer is that you will take steps to break down your prison walls, remembering that He will never forsake those who seek Him.