I finally got the app to check for unfollowers on Instagram, not because I want to police my account, but because I don’t want to keep pursuing people who are not interested in a two-way relationship. It is still weird to me that it is par for the course to follow someone just to get a follow back on Instagram.
I was not surprised that the public figures I follow and the people I don’t know well don’t follow me back but I was surprised to see that a couple people I know personally have unfollowed me. These were people I tried to
pursue relationships with because our kids enjoyed each other and I appreciate their values. I have invited them over, supported their social media pages by making an effort to interact whenever I saw their posts, we have gone on outings together as part of a group, and I thought we hit it off pretty well. I guess I should have realized after they stopped returning texts and kept cancelling plans we made that I wasn’t their cup of tea, but I guess I’m a little dense sometimes and seeing in black and white that they chose not to interact with me on social media still affected me.
I was tempted to sit down and analyze the heck out of this – okay, to be perfectly honest, that is exactly what I did. Accusation slithered in. Accusation against myself: What is wrong with me that the people I want relationships with don’t want me? What did I do or what vibe did I send off that repelled them? And accusation against them: What is wrong with them that I gave and pursued and they did not want me? Why does adulthood still feel like highschool sometimes? Why can’t people just communicate? They are not who I thought they were… And so on and so forth. Accusation is an ugly thing.
You know what I realized a few minutes down this road? I don’t like this road and I don’t want to go down it again now. I don’t want my feelings or a button someone pushed on social media to accuse them to me or to accuse myself to me. I am realizing that occasions like this are a setup for the enemy to come in and do what he does – accuse. And I get to decide what to do with his suggestions. I can agree with him and load a bunch of his junk onto my back to drag with me through life or I can see it for what it is – a distraction – and fix my eyes on what I know is true (not what I feel is true but what I know is true) and keep going.
I’m sharing this today as a reminder to myself and also to encourage you:
Not everyone will like you.
And that is okay.
We are all on different journeys, with different passions and focuses and personalities, different understandings of God and points in our journey of belief, different lives, different backgrounds. You really have no idea why someone responds the way they do but you CAN guard your heart against accusation.
But maybe even more than that, when you get off the treadmill of people-pleasing and start to seek God’s plan for YOU, not everyone is going to be pleased with the direction you’re going. I have lost a couple very close friends and been held at arm’s length by others because I believe and share openly that I believe God always wants to heal and is it is never His fault when healing does not happen (it is no one’s fault but the enemy’s!). I would not trade what I know now about God’s heart and Grace and the finished work of Christ for anything. That doesn’t mean rejection in relationships doesn’t hurt.
Here is what I think is true, though. We are called to love everyone but you cannot be friends with everyone and still fulfill God’s call for your life. You can choose to secure acceptance from other people (a dead end street no matter how you go about it) or choose to run your race before God and run it with all you’ve got. You can stop running to go up into the grandstands and try to get everyone up there to like you (or shoot, even just that one person you want to like you), you can hoist a bunch of insecurity and resentment on your shoulders from disappointment and hurt and try to take it with you as you run (it turns out this is not my favorite way to run), or you can choose to release the accusation that rejection offers, look up into the eyes of your Good Father who is looking right back with incomparable adoration, and just run. Run for Him. Run for your freedom.
What sometimes feels like rejections may actually be protection. That person you feel rejected by, had you become friends, might have held you back from the call God has placed on your life – and I promise you He has a call for you! – because you are influenced, for better or worse, by the people you are in relationship with.
There are relationships I am still tempted to grieve the loss of sometimes. The memories are sweet and they were real and I’m thankful for them, but I look back and can see that I am not the same person I was then. I don’t want to be. So I thank God for what was and look forward to what is and He has been so faithful to flood my life with more people who are running the same direction I am. It is okay to let go and if it is a decision between chasing God or staying close to people who are not going where you want to go, well, one far surpasses the other as far as I can see!
“So they pulled their boats up on the shore, left everything and followed him.” Luke 5:11
People may reject you. They may just ignore you. They may not call you back. They may get too busy for you or push you away as you change directions. They may unfriend or unfollow or be flat our criticial and say hurtful things. But at the end of the day, you will not stand before them to give an account for how you lived the life you were gifted. It is not even them you stand before now! So it really doesn’t make much sense to put too much thought and negative emotion into how they see you now.
My Friend, run. Run YOUR race. Run and know that not everyone will like you but that does not have to break you or even slow your stride. God loves you and whatever He has called you to is worth releasing every unnecessary burden to run toward it. Run with those who are running the same direction, bless the others as you run by them, but do not let the enemy drag you away from your race with accusation.
You will be rejected by people in life but you will NEVER be rejected by your Good Father and I don’t know about you, but He is who I am running for anyway.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside very weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”