It’s well chronicled in my messages, books and articles that much of my early years were scarred by the wounds of rejection. Childhood timidity led to being painfully left out of social groups. Then my born-again experience at 16 years old caused great tension in my devoutly-denominational family. Not to mention my first steps into full-time ministry, which grew intense criticism from both family and friends alike.
The reality is that rejection is an unfortunate fact of life. People have always passed over others for superficial and unfair reasons. People have always found reasons to disagree with the sincerest decisions or opinions. And they always will. But the danger when you feel something so much is that you can eventually take on that feeling as a quality of who you are. And that’s so much of the story of my life. From childhood, an identity of rejection was cemented into me and then reinforced even through the adolescence of my Christianity. Because who you believe you are often determines how you behave, my actions and reactions were skewed accordingly. Allow me to elaborate.
My Craving for Acceptance
In my skewed thinking, performance equaled acceptance. And bad performance equaled rejection.
As I grew older, I craved what I never thought I received—acceptance from peers. Resultantly, I determined to achieve some sort of notoriety so that people would regret the day they rejected me. Eventually, this craving for acceptance, along with the desire to prove myself, morphed into a kind of perfectionism. In other words, I strived so hard to be excellent at everything I did and said that when I didn’t meet my own impossible standards, I’d beat myself up for weeks. In my skewed thinking, performance equaled acceptance. And bad performance equaled rejection.
As I sought the Lord about these issues, He exposed the root was related to my rejection issues. And then He led me to this: “For the Lord will vindicate his people, and have compassion on his servants” (Ps. 135:14).
It’s Not Your Job—It’s God’s!
It’s not my job to work so hard to win the approval of others; God does for me what I can’t do for myself.
Perhaps you aren’t familiar with the word “vindicate.” The definition is “to show someone right, reasonable or accepted.” Many are familiar with the concept in a legal sense. If someone is thought to be guilty, but evidence is brought forth that proves them innocent, they are vindicated. But in a relational or social sense, we often strive so hard to vindicate ourselves by proving why people should accept, understand or support us.
The problem with attempting our own vindication is that many of us frustrate ourselves and others in the process, which often only makes things worse. Freshly understanding that “God is my vindicator,” I realized it’s not my job to work so hard to win the approval of others, but God does for me what I can’t do for myself. That is, He causes the right people to accept me, at the right times and in the right places.
As I look back on my life, I see God’s vindication all throughout my journey. In fact, after close observation, I realized the moments of my greatest successes weren’t the results of me beating down any doors, so to speak. But I experienced the most favor with people when I allowed and waited on God to do this for me. Over time, I found that being intentional about trusting and declaring God’s vindication in my life was the key to walking in supernatural favor.
How to Put It into Practice
I could teach at length about how God’s vindication causes people to like you, understand you and support you (and I do in my full-length audio message, “The Secret to Acceptance,” in my 4-part People Problems series). But the purpose of this article is to reveal to you the single concept that helped me experience genuine acceptance, understanding and support.
You can begin to put this principle into practice in your life today. Declare now: God is my vindicator. My worth is not in the acceptance of people, but in being accepted by God. I am thankful that God gives me favor with the right people, in the right places and at the right times.
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