“Today is going to require a lot of makeup,” I thought as I sat at my makeup mirror. A husband and wife at my church, people I had considered friends, had rejected me. They were leaders in my church and I both respected and trusted them. This was not just a minor bruise…I cried for 5 days. I even woke my husband up one morning, sobbing.
These beloved friends had deeply wounded my heart. In short, my heart hurt.
And on this Sunday morning I was going to see them for the first time since it happened. I was so broken that I wanted to stay home, but why delay the inevitable. So I put on a flashy shirt, lots of lip gloss, and a fake smile to mask my quivering heart.
I took deep breaths and bravely walked into the sanctuary. There they were. I instantly felt nauseous. I put my things down on my chair and headed to the ladies restroom to cry. Thankfully, a friend was there. I took one look at her kind face and burst into tears.
How do you feel when you have to be around those who have hurt you? When someone has rejected you, how do you act? How is it the first time seeing a family member face-to-face after a falling out? How do you face a coworker after their callous words?
It is scary.
It is awkward.
It is excruciating
What my broken heart longed for more than anything else was for this couple to waltz up to me and say, “Oh Lisa, we are so sorry for hurting you. We made a HUGE mistake in rejecting you. You are so lovable that we can’t imagine anyone ever not liking you. How can we make it up to you?”
Even as I imagined that, I knew that it wasn’t going to happen. So what choice did I have? When you are rejected by friends or family, what do you do? Here are some steps that helped me to walk through these awkward, excruciating, difficult waters.
1) Face the one who hurt you. You can’t stay at home forever, so smack on some lip gloss and go face them. Be brave.
2) As much as possible, keep your mouth shut. Gossiping and getting others involved in your problem is going to make it bigger, not better. If you need to talk to someone, seek out a pastor, mentor, or one trusted friend who can keep her mouth shut, too. You don’t need to tell your whole family or your entire church or all your coworkers.
3) Choose to forgive them. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. Say, “I choose to forgive them for…” and list how they hurt you.
4) If God leads you, humbly go and talk to them about what happened. Use “I statements” such as “I felt hurt when you rejected me.” I recommend that you wait a few days so that you can have some time to process what happened and you are no longer as upset. Never send a text or an email when you are angry.
5) Don’t seek revenge. I thought of a gazillion mean things that I wanted to say to this couple to their face, or to others. God consistently told me to “lay my arrows down.” Put down your weapons. Even though I wanted them to hurt like they hurt me, that was not love. That was revenge.
6) Trust in God to heal your pain. It takes time, and is not easy, but God can heal us from even the deepest wounds. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
7) You may not feel like it now, but your ultimate goal is to be reconciled to the one who hurt you. It is not an easy road, but is is definitely one that shapes your character.
8) Exercise. Strenuous exercise helps our bodies to relieve stress. I did so much digging in my garden during this season of conflict that I injured my back! It took months of physical therapy and chiropractic care and medications to recover, so be careful!
9) Enjoy nature. Being outdoors brings peace and calm to our wounded hearts.
10) Most importantly, give yourself grace. If you’ve endured a very emotional trauma, you may grieve. Be patient with yourself as you recover and return to wholeness once again.
In the end, I made peace with this couple. It took multiple phone calls, video chats,and coffee shop conversations, but we reconciled. It took a lot of lip gloss. This picture was taken before one of the video chats. I’m holding a treasured keepsake from a friend to give me courage.
I still carry the scars from this deep wound but I can honestly say that I’ve moved on. My heart no longer hurts.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5