Last week I introduced the reality that pastors are bombarded with lies from the Enemy, and that these lies often derail us from boldly living out the call that God has placed on our lives and ministry. Although there are many lies, three of the biggest lies are:
1) You Are a Fraud
2) You Will Be Rejected
3) You Can Do This Alone
We tackled Lie #1 last week, and you can review what I shared in introducing the topic and unpacking Lie #1 HERE!
Now let’s dive into Lie #2: You Will Be Rejected.
Fear of rejection is something we learn at a young age. I remember when I was 8 years old, playing organized basketball for the first time and being afraid when the coach said we were going to scrimmage shirts vs. skins. I was told to take my shirt off and just knew the rest of the team was going to think less of me because I wasn’t buff like Hulk Hogan.
It didn’t matter that no other 3rd grader in 1983 was built like Hulk Hogan, I sheepishly took my shirt off my skinny body and played half-hearted, so not to draw any attention. I ran up and down the court completely convinced my teammates would want nothing to do with me if they saw the skinny and weak me.
35 years removed from that, I still remember how that fear affected me and since then how many times I have been told by the Enemy that I need to keep something hidden away because if others found “whatever” out, they would reject me and I would be an outcast.
This story is not only my story, it’s the story of every single person going back to Adam and Eve. It’s also your story! For Adam and Eve, they hid because they were exposed and afraid of how God would respond to them. For you and me, we do the same thing. Meanwhile, the Enemy laughs with satisfaction.
We are told this lie by the Enemy because the fear of rejection causes us to be timid in our actions or sends us into hiding altogether.
Pastors get timid while fearing rejection by moving slowly in decision making, or casting a vision for something less than what God has put on his/her heart to pursue. It causes leaders to not call out others when they need correction, because we’re afraid our own “stuff” will be exposed and others will brand us a hypocrite.
What’s possibly worse is when fear of rejection causes leaders to go into hiding. Like Adam and Eve, this often surfaces when we sin. But, it can also happen when we are struggling with something that is not sin, but we believe someone could use against us as if it were a sin. Examples of this are when pastors struggle with doubts, depression, and theological questions.
Like I mentioned last week, often in the lies our Enemy tells us, there is a bit of truth in them. Is it true that people could reject you if your familiar sins, struggles, doubts and so forth are exposed? Yes.
Is it also possible that you will be rejected by some if they don’t agree with the direction you feel like God is calling you to lead in your church? Absolutely.
Despite the possibility of rejection, the truth is this: A life with no rejection DOES NOT create a life of ACCEPTANCE. It’s simply a life that’s safe and shallow.
The Enemy likes you to lead from a place of safe and shallow!
–Safe and shallow doesn’t change lives.
-Safe and shallow doesn’t change communities.
-Safe and shallow DESTROYS authentic relationships that are required for intimacy and growth.
Fear of rejection keeps you in the “Safe Zone,” but it’s not really safe for you, only the Enemy. It may feel safe, but it’s actually the most dangerous place for you to be. Sure, your job, reputation, and status may be safe at the moment, but inside you are withering away, daily stepping further and further away from authentic relationships and growth in your own life, and further away from your church accomplishing great things for the Kingdom of God.
Imagine if you lived your life and led your church not fearing rejection, but embracing that it comes with the territory when you are authentic and bold? I promise you this, your ministry and life will never be the same when you reject the lie, know that many will be inspired by you, and those who reject you will not hold you or your church back any longer.
Incredible days are ahead for you and your church when you reject the fear of rejection