Quote: If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment ~ Marcus Aurelius
In the process of connecting in a new city, I went along to a local community group. A group that professed to welcome all is compassionate, considerate, community minded and inclusive. I’d been going for several months, whenever I was in the city to do so. I was quite excited about potentially connecting via a new monthly Woman Meeting they were about to launch. The day before the first meeting, I telephoned to confirm venue and start time. To cut a long story short, when I called for further information the person on the phone said “I’m the Associate Leader, I don’t know you” and in essence said as he didn’t know me, I was not welcome to go along.
As I share this story now, it doesn’t appear or even feel that bad. Yet at the time is was gut-wrenching to hear those words. I am from a city where people know my name or at least know my face yet in the new unsettled environment, in that moment I felt an overwhelming sense of rejection, like never before. Several days later the feeling was still so intense, I had to question “what else could this mean”. Why was I so affected by his words?
I came to these conclusions:
I’ve been blessed to have and had perceived ‘glamorous/limelight jobs’ i.e., Air Hostess, TV and Radio Presenter, Performer. Sub-consciously I had a fear of people knowing/seeing the real me, i.e., I am not always confident that people like me for me, as opposed to what I did, or how I could benefit them. I made a conscious effort not to mention my background in the new city, until I got to know people better. (I realise now, that in itself, was counter-productive and a form of fear).
In this new city already feeling somewhat isolated, the Associate Leader’s words compounded my insecurity, uncertainty and indecision to fully relocate. I realised the biggest reason his words took affect was my fear. Fear of the future, what if I commit to this move and things didn’t work out? What if beyond what I ‘do’ people do not accept me?
I share my story not merely to just be vulnerable but to expose my ‘rejection’ for what it really was – fear. You see fear is such a sneaky subtle deception, wearing many guises, such as insecurity, anxiety, doubt, jealousy, anger, hostility, withdrawal, numbness, procrastination and in my example, rejection! Our individual circumstances can even make our negative feelings seem justifiable – i.e., “look how they treated me”. It’s tough but don’t fall for it, it’s a disguise. Tear the mask off and face it. The feelings are symptoms of the real cause which is fear. Deal with that; acknowledge that and you regain your power.
Think about it, you may fear love or commitment because you fear being rejected, fear being generous because you fear you will at some point run out, fear sharing your thoughts or feelings in case you appear unintelligent or wrong, or maybe fear trusting because you are dominated by self-doubt and insecurity.
How many times have you knowingly or unknowingly worn the ill-fitting disguises of fear?
Recognise it, face it and fight fear with love a love beyond our physical being, a love that extends beyond insular, selfish living, a Love given from above. A quiet confidence in knowing who you are and who you were born to be, living your life with purpose. Instead of wearing ill-fitting disguises of fear, choose to wear the custom-made outfits for you and your life.
Right on cue whilst deep in the midst of my fear, I heard these words and would like to encourage you too:
“…like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with His label on it.” (Col 3:9, 10)
Do the things that make you sparkle!