What causes a 20-year-old unmarried woman to deny she’s pregnant despite the obvious, and then dispose of her newborn son’s body in a dumpster? As I mentioned in my last post, one psychiatrist suggest it was the fear of rejection, “of some sort of disapproval from others.”
I have a hunch the psychiatrist is right. I’m reading Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus, and he writes that mankind has been created with an innate desire to be loved. We desperately crave to belong, to be accepted, to win the approval of others. Sometimes that desire for love, and the fear of losing it, is so strong that we do illogical or inappropriate things to try to satisfy and keep it.
Take, for instance, a young woman who sleeps with every guy she dates. Chances are good that she’s not really enjoying herself. In reality, she’s simply trying to fill a God-created vacuum. Her soul longs for unconditional love, but her attempts to earn it aren’t working because she’s going about it in the wrong way.
Consider a man or woman with perfectionistic tendencies. We might view such folks as high-achievers and credit them for their drive to excel. Truth is, sometimes perfectionism masks a desire for love. Their hard work is nothing more than an inverted fear of rejection. If I land this deal and please the boss, then he’ll approve of me.
The fear of rejection is subtle and seldom recognized as the root cause for many inappropriate actions. It has the power to imprison, to take captive, and to destroy. How, then, can we escape its grip?
By accepting the fact that we are unconditionally loved by our Creator. We can’t buy His affection, nor must we earn it through good behavior. He values us, He wants us, He pursues us. He made us for relationship with Himself , and it’s only in that relationship with Him that our soul’s craving for love is fully satisfied.
When we finally grasp the depth of His desire and love for us, the fear of rejection loses its power over us. We become alive, truly alive, and confident in knowing that Jesus will never leave or forsake us. Others may turn their backs on us or consider us disposable, but Jesus will be our forever Friend.
Psalm 27:7-10 say, “Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming’ Do not turn your back on me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me, O God of my salvation! Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.”
Do you hear God’s invitation to intimacy with Him? “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.” These words describe our innate inner tug for intimacy with God. He invites us to conversation with Him, and our hearts find fulfillment when we say yes.
The psalmist’s cry for love and acceptance echoes the cry of the rest of mankind. Do not reject me! Don’t leave me! Don’t abandon me! And his last statement reveals the source of his assurance: The Lord will hold me close.
Believing God’s unconditional and never-ending love for us is the only answer to overcoming the fear of rejection. And modeling that love to those around us will help them in their journey toward wholeness, too.
May He wrap you in His arms today and assure you that He’ll always be there for you.