What makes us spectators rather than participants at times in our lives? We often measure our success on what we see; what we see others having or doing, or the grades our friends at school have, or the place that others are at in their lives instead of knowing our identity in Christ.
During those times, we are operating out of fear; fear of rejection. We don’t take responsibility for reaching out to others, and rather expect others to reach out to us. We don’t want to take the risk of being rejected, so we stay on the sidelines and aren’t ready to jump into the game.
If you’ve been rejected so many times before, you often go into situations expecting that people will treat you that way. Others will pick up on that and sadly, they often deliver that rejection. In the counseling world, this is called ‘victim mentality.’ It gives other people power over your feelings and allows people to ruffle your feathers, instead of finding the real reasons why their rejection bothers you.
This subject is as sticky as molasses, especially during the holiday season. We go into the holidays with the expectation that these ‘should’ be happy times, but we know darn well that we’ve had trouble with ‘Aunt Sarah’ for years, and somehow we think on this magical day, that everything will be different, but it doesn’t happen that way. So what can we do to guard our hearts against disappointment and bitterness?
It is easy to focus on the ‘Aunt Sarah’s’ or whatever the problem seems to be. For example sometimes people who are single think, “Oh if I only had a husband/wife to share this happy time with!” When behind the scenes, some married people are screaming inside because their spouse is driving them nuts! When we hold on to what we want so tightly, we cannot at the same time grasp the blessings that God has stored up for us. He is more than willing to meet the longings of our hearts, but we have to let go of our idea of what will satisfy us.
I think of Psalm 73:21-24 (NLT), “Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant- I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.”