Dress me up in my favorite outfit and rejection whispers, “You’re still not good enough.” Place me in a room full of people who love, celebrate and accept me and rejection would slip me a note that reads, “Someone somewhere doesn’t like you.” When a person has a root of rejection it follows them everywhere. One encounter with rejection can trigger you to revisit every time you have ever been rejected. Rejection lures you with lies and is not satisfied until you feel so loathsome that you begin to reject others. It is a warped warden that will persuade you to place yourself in solitary confinement.
You may wonder why am I sharing this; I am actually wondering the same thing. I would like to believe it is to set someone free. (Perhaps that someone is me.) All I know is, I would prefer to get this out than allow it to fester within. As I journey towards 40 there are a few things that I would like to unpack from the baggage of my mind. Rejection is one of them, it has not been a pleasant travel companion. It makes itself at home, and just as I start to enjoy myself it tries to convince me that I am the unwanted guest.
Much like clothing that remains in the closet year after year occupying space, it is the outfit I hate to wear. It is too small, does not match anything and is out of style. Who wants to wear something that is outdated, out to make you look bad and potentially embarrass those you hang around? I once read a book about organization entitled, “The Magic Art of Tidying Up,” the premise is to surround yourself with things that bring you joy. If it doesn’t bring you joy—throw it out!
The dress I am wearing in the above photo is one of my favorites! The moment I tried it on I began to twirl like a little girl. It is one of those dresses that feels more like “me” than anything else in my closet. I happen to know the designer. The name of her clothing company is, “She is Clothed;” based off the scripture Proverbs 31:25. At a recent fashion show she shared why she named her line “She is Clothed.” She said, “When I see young ladies dressed inappropriately I want to clothe them.”
Her words reminded me of the younger me and some of the clothing I chose to wear. I was never really one to emulate the latest style, but I have always been one to express myself through fashion. I wore things that showed how unique I was and sadly, sometimes those things were uniquely inappropriate. At times I would feel uncomfortable wearing something but I would wear it anyway because someone said, “Girl, you can get away with that because you have the body for it!” Today, I am wondering if what I was wearing all along was rejection.
I am more confident as I approach 40 and I just so happen to wear more clothes. I find it interesting that 20 years ago I felt less confident and I wore less clothing. (It seems like it would take an extreme amount of confidence to leave the house almost naked.) In the above image I was actually wearing a skirt that I pulled up over my breasts and wore as a dress. I remember how unsure I felt, but everyone around me reassured me that I looked amazing, so I wore it. Somehow I was able to ignore the fact that I felt naked for the sake of being accepted. Reminds me of the childhood story, The Emperor’s New Clothes. When I look at the image below on the left in the denim shorts I remember exactly how I felt; we were at Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN and I felt underdressed. I remember projecting a false confidence to compensate for being immodest. In my African princess dress I felt 100% confident and carefree but also reverent, like my beauty was a special treasure that had to be handled with care.
I am certain that God is the greatest gift giver in the universe. He is also the best personal stylist. He is the ultimate image consultant because He creates us in his image and his likeness. When He finished creating he stepped back and said, “That’s good.” So why do we spend so much time feeling not “good” enough? I believe it is because we have something that Satan lacks—the ability to be redeemed. We have the opportunity to be accepted in the beloved, we are God’s highest form of creation. Lucifer was beautiful and yet his pride led him to live in a fallen state. When we humble ourselves God lifts us up. The devil turned his back on God and it made him hideous. When we turn our faces towards God He helps us look radiant.
Do you wrestle with rejection? What are some of the ways you’ve learned to remove rejection from your wardrobe? Thanks for joining me on my journey to 40! Below is a poem about what you put on. Enjoy!
What You Put On
God clothes us with strength and dignity;
Rejection suggests, “You should wear weakness and shame.”
God gives us a robe of righteousness;
Rejection says, “Try on this jacket of guilt, sorrow and pain.”
God gives us a helmet of Salvation, rejection says,
“What’s that weird thing on your head?”
When God removes our root of rejection,
Satan says, “You should wear condemnation instead.”
God grants you a precious commodity, from the moment that you are born.
To live without fear of the future, pay close attention to what you put on.