I was at the gym and I ran into a friend from high school. He definitely looked better than he did in High school. Back in the day, he was on the fluffy side with a bad attitude that definitely took away from what could've been boyish charm.
So here we are, adults, face to face at the gym. He is no longer the cranky chubster I remember, he is tall, stocky and handsome. Needless to say Greg's smile could stop a dental marketing rep in their tracks. He looked like he belonged on Colgate Ad and he knew it, so he smiled big. You couldn't help but smile back when he smiled at you. You could have this horrendous day and find yourself depressed but if you run into Greg you would smile and question yourself after, why were you smiling so much. His smile was contagious.
He followed me to the elliptical machine where I proceeded to my work out and tried to chit chat his way into my life. I simply leaned over and said, "Greg, I'm here to work out, can we talk later". In hopes he would forget, as this particular day I was at the gym was to release some stress and he was blocking me from my mental health. He did walk away and I jumped right into torturing my body. Every once in a while I would look up to see if he left, so I can transition to another machine, but he was there, waiting for the opportune moment. After an hour of high intense working out on the Elliptical and my legs shaking from within cause I couldn't take it anymore, I stepped off the machine and, low and behold, there he was. Maybe the timing was off, the gym was my safe haven I did not want to be hit on at the gym.
Greg, "Long time, you look great. You know I used to have a crush on you in high school"
Greg, "Yup and you would make a young school boy really happy if you let me take you out?"
Me "My schedule is really busy Greg"
Greg, interrupting, "I know your single, I know you have kids, but let me take you out. Anywhere, you pick the place"
Me, while giggling, "I am late to church, I have to go".
Most men get derailed by that statement and run the other direction. But not Greg, he asked, "Can I come".
I had no idea the crush was so deeply rooted. I said no and made my way out the door. I really did have to go to church that night but I had time.
Once at church one of our fellow members approached me with, "Sister, we have a mutual friend" with a big grin on his face. I should've pieced together the smile but I didn't. Apparently Greg's dad went to the same church I did. But I didn't expect for Greg to show up. This was my safe haven, and forget about it! (in my Italian Wanna be voice). Once the elderly found out he was interested they were all over me with, "stop being picky, he's a charmer" "Your no spring chicken, settle down, he's a keeper" and then he introduced himself to my children and he had a way of charming my daughter.
But honestly I wasn't into him. I have no idea why, I just couldn't see him other than a friend. This went on for a year, him chasing, me saying no, then one day I said, "Maybe I am the problem, I can't see a good thing in front of my face. He has been trying for a year, say yes". So I did, and it was a bit frustrating, he wanted romance I just wanted to talk. I spent our time together pushing his hand off my shoulder rejecting to hold hands and I told him I didn't want to force it, to give it time. Then one day he told me that he was going away on a business trip. Two weeks passed and all I did was beat myself up for not liking him more than a friend. Then he came home.
The day he came home we went to church and he stopped me to say he was getting baptized. Here I thought he was coming to church to chase me but God really did romance the man back to HIM not me. Let me explain. In the same breath that he told me about his baptism he told me that he met someone and asked her to come to his baptism. REJECTION. I got dumped, again at church.
What infuriated me the most was that I didn't even like him enough to be so mad about it. Why was I so angry? Going to his baptism hurt like you would not believe. Right before he was dunked he was looking at her the way he used to look at me. I mean, yeah I wasn't into him, but I was investing in him in hopes that I would. Investment plummeted that season.
I'm currently reading this book by Lysa TerKeurst called "Uninvited" and it hit me like a ton of bricks, and because I don't want to be alone in the weight of holding all these bricks I share it with you.
"Rejection steals the best of who I am by reinforcing the worst of what was said about me" In my case what I said about myself. But lets continue with this earth shattering truth. "It's not just a feeling we feel, it sends a message to the core of us. Causing us to believe the lies. That lie becomes a label and that label becomes a liability in how we interact with others, with relationships. Then we feel "unaccepted", another label, another lie. Then we hold people accountable for things they never said"
Wow, Lysa put it in a way that I said, "Yes she gets it". (GO BUY THE BOOK)
The rejection I got from Greg in that moment validated what I was saying about myself. Then I was just angry all the time, and no one wanted to be around me. (Looking back can't say that I blame them) Greg stepped in the places of my home church with his new found love and was accepted and I was uncomfortable and angry.
How did I manage? Things are always easier said then done, but there was alot of biting my tongue, prayer, forgiving myself and him and time enduring. Romans 5:3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perserverance;" At the time can't say I took glory in it, but looking back I learned how to deal with rejection better. There is always that one time in your life where your eyes are just open to seeing the lesson. I'm grateful for the lessons, that's where I say "GLORY".
Take a moment and feel the crazy I felt in my head, I didn't want him, but I wanted him to want me, even if he was unhappy, even if I was unhappy. Yeah, that's off. And I knew it, so I did my thing feeling wounded inside. But I learned a great deal about rejection and myself. Being self aware of the reality of the emotions is key. So when he popped into my head or the thought of rejection, I did something to take my mind and focus off the situation. I placed my mind on the things that made me happy. I fought with my thinking. I had to disconnect too, so I didn't leave the church but I did avoid the times I knew he was there. Why subject myself to that torture. I needed to get my head right.
Rejection was an area I needed to learn how to manage. Not everyone will like me and that should be OK, and I should feel OK. All that and I wasn't into him, can you imagine if I was. What if I was in love an he had done that. Oh the scandal. Maybe that's why women sabotage relationships, to not feel the pain of being rejected. But that is another blog post. Oh yeah that's coming too.