Ladies on Laptops

Overcoming the Fear of Rejection

- by Joyce Meyer

I believe the fear of being rejected by others is one of the greatest hindrances to people stepping out and obeying everything God places in their hearts to do. 

God has a good plan for your life, and He doesn’t want you to be tormented by the fear of others or let it hold you back from your destiny. His will is for you to walk forward, confident in His love, trusting Him to take care of you all along the way.

We also have an enemy, Satan, who will do everything he can to stop us from walking in God’s good plan. Anytime we are making progress and moving forward in God’s will for our lives, the devil will try to come against us with fear to drive us backward.

This is one of the enemy’s greatest tactics—to bring fear and try to prevent us from making progress. He wants us to fear our circumstances and what other people will think. He wants us to focus on the “what ifs”:

What if I make a fool of myself? What if others disapprove? What if my reputation suffers? And on and on!

All of us will periodically come to these crossroads in our lives—places where we must move forward despite our fears of what others think. However, if we will trust God, step by step, we can learn to face our fears and enjoy new levels of freedom.

When fear strikes, our first inclination is to run away and go back. But that’s when God is saying, “Don’t stop now! Keep moving forward!”

Overcoming the Fear of Man

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (NIV).

God has a great future planned for each one of us—it’s a future full of hope and good things. Sadly, however, many believers in Christ aren’t living out their destiny because they are afraid of what other people will think—they are afraid of being rejected.

The fear of man is a common problem that causes us to shrink back and worry about things like: What are they going to say about me? What if they don’t like me? Will they reject me if I don’t do it their way?

Everyone struggles with insecurity and the fear of rejection to some degree. There’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting people to like us, but God doesn’t want us to be “people pleasers.” He doesn’t want our fear of being rejected, judged or criticized to control our choices.

If we’re going to be free from fear and really pursue everything God has for our lives, we have to make a decision that we won’t be controlled by the fear of man.

This was a huge issue for me in the early days of my ministry. I knew God was calling me to teach His Word, but it required me to make some pretty bold (and scary) choices in order to move forward into everything He had for me.

For starters, I had friends who didn’t think I had the right personality to be a Bible teacher, and they told me so. Instead of being excited for me and the vision God placed in my heart, they tried to discourage me!

I also ruffled a lot of feathers at my church because many people there didn’t believe women should teach. I even had family members who didn’t understand the call of God on my life, and they rejected me because of it.

So, in the end, I was eventually asked to leave my church. I also lost a few friends, and some people just didn’t understand.

It certainly wasn’t easy—no one likes to feel rejected. But I’m so glad God gave me the courage to face my fear of what others thought of me and take those bold steps. 

Now, it’s scary for me to think I could have missed out on God’s plan. If I had chosen to run from those situations—if I had given in to the fear of man—I wouldn’t be where I am today!

Live Courageously

God has a big, full life planned for each one of us, and He wants to lead and guide us by His Holy Spirit into His perfect will. However, if we want this life—if we truly want to enjoy everything Jesus died to give us—it’s going to require us to step out of our comfort zones and walk by faith...even in the face of potential rejection.

God wants us to live courageously, knowing we can do whatever we need to do through Christ Who gives us strength (see Philippians 4:13).

Now, I’m not talking about making foolish choices or doing things that are dangerous because you don’t want fear to hold you back. Living courageously means you can be bold and take risks instead of just doing what seems “safe.” It means not allowing fear of what other people will say and do to keep you from obeying God and becoming everything He has created you to be.

Living courageously allows us to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and do what God puts in our hearts to do, rather than settling for an okay or average life.

In Jeremiah chapter 1, the Lord commanded Jeremiah to deliver a message to His people—one that wouldn’t be too well received. Just look at what God says to Jeremiah: …Do not be dismayed and break down at the sight of their faces... (see Jeremiah 1:17 AMPC).

I love this! The Lord is telling him, “Don’t let the fear of man stop you from doing what I have commanded you to do!”

If you have experienced rejection in the past, the easy thing to do is play it safe. Most people at some point have thought, I’m not putting myself through that again!

We may think we’re playing it safe, but we’re really just building walls and closing ourselves off. God wants us to be free—free to pursue our dreams and do all that He places in our hearts to do. But if we’re really going to be free, then we can’t walk in the fear of what other people will think of us.

As I mentioned, I suffered tremendous rejection when I first began stepping out to follow God’s call on my life. For a while, it was very hurtful and disappointing. However, I shudder to think how things would have turned out differently if I had decided to just give up—if I had allowed the fear of what others thought to stop me from moving forward.

Believe it or not, I look back today and feel like those people did me a favor. They caused me to cling to God and seek Him for strength and comfort in greater ways than ever before. That situation helped me to trust the Lord and receive a better understanding of His love for me.

You see, our courage—our confidence to step out and trust God—all begins with a revelation of God’s love. When we know that God is on our side and loves us unconditionally, it gives us the strength and courage to do things we could never do on our own.

The Bible says in 1 John 4:18, there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…(NKJV). When we understand God’s amazing love for us, it builds our faith and gives us the confidence to move forward, even in the face of fear.

You’ve got what it takes to confront fear head-on. Maybe in the past you’ve shrunk back in fear, allowing the fear of others to prevent you from something God placed in your heart to do. If so, don’t be discouraged! We’ve all been there at one time or another.

Instead, decide to learn from the past and walk boldly into your future. As you do, you can take comfort knowing that God will be with you every step of the way.

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