A Cross I Carry

I've been feeling pretty good about my life and myself lately. However, these good feelings are the result of some soul searching. I could spend days and days explaining myself and going through my whole life story, but here is just part of my soul:

I have a nagging and unrelenting fear of rejection. I can pinpoint certain times in my life where I have felt rejected and unloved by friends, boyfriends, teachers, and even family. I don't think I'm unique in being a person who is rejected at times by others, but I do take it pretty hard. I try to forgive those that have hurt me and I even have to forgive myself for being too naive or for putting blinders on. The wounds remain, however, and thinking of these times will always make me cry. I bring this fear of rejection, it is a cross I carry, into every friendship and every relationship I have. It causes me to set unfair standards on my friendships and to be guarded with my love. I can even find myself standing in the kitchen eating when I'm not hungy because I feel lonely and wonder why no one calls me. I just assume there is something wrong with me and that there must be something about me that others reject.

The other night, I spent some time prayerfully tracing the bad feelings I have in situations where I feel utterly rejected (even when my logical mind knows it can't be that bad). I was able to trace them back to times I have been hurt when I was a kid. Like the middle school playground or on the sidelines of a high school basketball game. The words, and even the clothing, of the people rejecting me are incredibly clear in my memory. These times of rejection are forever a part of me. I do not intend to root them out or even ignore them but to embrace and accept them. When I do this, I believe only then will I truly be free to love and be authentically present to others in my life. My hope is that I will no longer look for acceptance, but just be an authentic and caring person (wife, mother, sister, friend).

Mark 8:34
Then [Jesus] called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

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