Rejection is one of the most brutal experiences you and I can face.  To say it hurts like hell may not be far from the literal truth.

Psychologists have learned some things about rejection…

Research tells us that rejection travels the same neural pathways in the brain that physical pain does.  In other words, otherwise-unexplained physical pain may have been triggered by the experience or memory of rejection.

Rejection isolates us from people who didn’t reject us, unless we take steps to reconnect.

Rejection causes surges of anger and aggression (gangs, anyone?).

Finally, rejection makes us temporarily stupid.  It literally lowers your IQ and makes you unresponsive to reason for a time. (Translation:  Don’t make vows or major decisions – especially with the word “never” in it – after being rejected.)

In the biblical story of Joseph, you can find the roots of rejection, as I explored in the previous post.   Joseph lived a very uncertain childhood, marked by the death of his mother and the preferential doting of his dad.  He was a dreamer and, to his brothers, something of a goody-two-shoes. All of this set him up to be the objected of their jealousy and hatred.

What no one knew at the time, however, was that rejection can serve as a trap door, straight into the arms (and plans) of God.  And that’s where Joseph learned the truth about rejection. [click to continue…]


Loneliness Concept - 3D

What did rejection look like to you on the school playground?  What about Junior High?  College?

What did rejection look like after you got married, or started a family?  What does it look like today in your workplace or your worship space?

Describing your experience with rejection is like describing an encounter with a snake.  Each experience is a little different, and the beast appears differently in every scene.  But in each case the result leaves a story to tell and an emotional experience to re-live or respond to.

I’ve had my own experiences, of course.  And I’ve seen it played out in countless lives…

Like the 59-year-old woman who said of her then-76-year-old mother, “Just once I wish I could hear my mother say I did something right.”

Or the only-child high school student who was rejected by his friends because he had a helicopter mother before the term was ever invented.  She meddled, and her son, whom she was trying to help and advance, was hated all the more.

Then there was the businessman who was rejected in the business world because he was part of a revolutionary approach to financial services, but was obnoxious about it.

I knew a pastor once who was rejected by the deacons in his church. After years of service, they felt that it was time for a change. So they gave him a deadline and asked him to find somewhere else to go. When he was unable to, they cornered him about resigning, and he turned the rejection tables back on them. Unbeknownst to them, he showed up one Sunday morning with has car packed, he got up at sermon time, explained that he’d been asked to resign, and walked out the door.  Ouch.

It may surprise you to know that some of the most memorable and powerful success stories in history are people whose lives arose from the ashes of rejection.  [click to continue…]

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Jackson and CohenAs you probably could tell from the last post, we got to spend a week with three of our grandsons last week here at our house.  You may or may not know that I also spend 95% of my working time at home.

Do you see a potential conflict there?

The week was predictably (and wonderfully) less-than-productive.

Routinely as I would try to “escape” to the bedroom or office to get some work done, one of them would find me.  The sweetheart crawler, the scary-smart walker, and the funny, nonstop talker.  One wanted me to hold him, one wanted me to see and notice him, and one wanted me to engage in conversation – endless, looped conversation. [click to continue…]


Callie has been seeking the Lord a lot lately.  That’s because not very many people are seeking Callie, and the loneliness hurts.  Badly.  Truth be told, Callie sometimes seeks the Lord to give Him a piece of her mind.  But she has developed the kind of relationship with God where that level of honesty is common.

Callie believes.  But her faith is being tested, almost as much as Stephen’s.

Stephen feels as though he’s two steps past the edge of the ledge, and “all” he has to stand on is the promises of God.  But Stephen wants more.  He wants some evidence – a little sight to go with his faith.  He’s willing to do anything for God, but he wants to know exactly what that “anything” is, and feels terribly insecure in the face of an unclear future.

Stephen believes.  But his faith is being tested, almost as much as John and Julie. [click to continue…]


Ronnie Blair spent a lifetime waiting for the perfect moment.  And he never seemed to find it.

He waited to ask Lisa Crane to the Senior Prom.  Ricky Styles beat him it to it.  Now they’re married with two kids and a third one on the way.

He waited to apply for the college scholarship from his father’s employer; didn’t want to appear too eager, he said.  He missed the deadline.

He waited for the perfect job to present itself upon graduation, and in the process passed up three good choices.  He wound up taking an entry-level hourly position not even in his field.

He waited for the perfect time to ask Leanne Wilson to marry him, and to her it seemed as though he was afraid of commitment.  They wound up possibly the only couple in town who got engaged as the result of an argument.

In Ronnie’s life, the pattern was always the same.  [click to continue…]


You wouldn’t have wanted to trade places with George.  But bad as it was, when all was said and done, I don’t know that he’d have wanted to trade places with you, either.  Years ago George Matheson was ushered into new dimensions of faith, understanding, and intimacy with the Lord.  But the price he paid was beyond expensive.

It all began with the brutality of rejection.

George had his future shining in front of him.  He was engaged to be married, and was pursuing a career and calling in ministry.  But that bright future began to dim – literally – when George began going blind.  When his fiancé learned that the doctors gave him no hope for a cure, she ended the engagement, saying she couldn’t go through life taking care of a blind man.

I don’t know of a loneliness more devastating and bitter than that of rejection.  Matheson had to learn to do without a woman he had come to feel he couldn’t live without.  What’s more, he had to live with the piercing thoughts that taunted him incessantly: [click to continue…]


Call him Benjamin. 

Nice Hebrew name for this fictional, but oh-so-real young man who lived outside of Jerusalem in the first century.  Benjamin is 20 years old, and his family raised him in a typical Jewish home.

Until that day. [click to continue…]


In the 2004 version of The Alamo, there’s this scene where Billy Bob Thornton, as Davy Crockett, looks over the fort wall at Santa Anna’s approaching horde.  There, standing next to Colonel Travis, Crockett mutters grimly… “We’re gonna need a lot more men.” 

Sam Houston… we’ve got a problem.

Problems come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  Oh, to have the impossible-looking situations we faced in third or seventh grade!  But every now and then, you and I are faced with circumstances that go beyond a headache or a flat tire.

We’re in grad school, friends.  And we’re getting the third degree. [click to continue…]


(Here’s a parable that didn’t quite make it to the Bible.  It’s a follow-up to the story of the Prodigal Son.  In case you missed that first episode, you can find it by clicking here.)  

When last we heard from the Prodigal Son, his loving father, and his older brother, Dad was appealing to the older sibling to come join the party.

“All that I have is yours,” he was saying – which was technically true, since the younger brat had wasted all of his part of the inheritance.

By and by, life settled down.  The older brother continued to do well, and was admired by all for his performance.  The younger son got with the program – for the most part.  Occasionally his friends and family could see some of those old streaks of self-will-run-riot in him.  But for the most part, he lived in great gratitude for his father’s forgiveness and restoration. [click to continue…]


The Bus

by Andy Wood on March 27, 2010

in Esteem, Life Currency, Tense Truths

Inspired by an analogy I heard from my friend Bill at lunch yesterday…

Let’s say you’re a camp counselor.  And on this day you’ve loaded up 45 nine- and ten-year-olds on the bus for an outing.  Everybody’s had a great time as you have taken them into the city or to the beach… picture you own favorite locale for a gang of kids to have a blast.

Now it’s time to head back to the camp.  So you load ‘em up and move ‘em out.

That’s when it hits you.  You forgot the first rule of kids-on-the-bus management.

Yep.  You forgot to count heads.

Forty-one.  Forty-two.  Forty-three.  Forty-uh oh.

It’s every kid herder’s worst fear.  You’ve left somebody behind.  He’s lost.

So what do you do? [click to continue…]