Name the Ugly monster

I name you...Rejection.

It has been trying to creep back in my life. I found it in my church, among my friends, and even within the sanctity of my Dexter House.

Where did it come from? I remember why I felt it in high school, but when I resolved things with my friend, it seemingly went away. Yet when I finally recognized its presence in my life this past month, it did not seem to have gone far away. I tried to remember when I first felt rejected. Childhood held no traumatic memories, and high school seemed to be an isolated incident.

But then I remembered 8th grade.
I remember being uncomfortable and worried the days when I didn't order the hot lunch, but brought a boxed lunch to my tiny Christian private school. We would leave class and walk ten steps to the gymnasium where five round tables were set up, though my class of 16 could fit around two of them if we wanted. Everyone else would go through the hot line, and me and the few others, the "uncool" would walk in first and have to choose a table. I remember being antsy, not wanting to sit down at a table first.

Because no matter which table I chose, it was always the wrong one.

I would pull out a chair and sit, slowly unzipping my navy blue lunch box and emptying its contents with care and deliberateness as if I was dismantling a bomb. I would anxiously look up to see if any of my friends were coming out yet. Nope, not yet.

Inevitably, the guys would come out with their food first.

Eighth grade was that awkward time when the guys and girls wanted to sit together, but only the cool ones could take the initiative without being judged. I was not cool enough, so the boys would go sit at another table. Then the rest of my girl friends would come out with their food, and drawn to that intriguing opposite sex, would join the boys at their table. Eventually I would abandon my table to join them, or the girls would see me and say "Come join us at this table, Lauren!"

But one day I didn't. I was mad at this repeated embarrassment, even though my girl friends never really saw the boys do it. They could have thought that I had chosen to sit separately from the boys, though my boxed lunch made it evident who sat down first. So when my friends said, "Come over here and join us Lauren!" I said no. "Why don't you come over here?" I responded. My one friend left her lunch and walked over, asking if anything was wrong. "I sat down here first" I stubbornly responded. Eventually I may have moved, to keep the peace. Or I may have stayed with a few of my other lunch-box friends and held out. Either way, the rest of that lunch I was uncomfortably burning with anger, shame, and rejection.

How could such a silly memory hold such weight, and reflect such a burden on my life? How could this seed of a thought, that I am undesirable, or less desirable, have grown to such monstrosities as this monster, Rejection?

I reject you Rejection. What you felt, 8th grade Lauren, and sometimes still feel, is not what God thinks of you. God has not rejected you. God finds you desirable. And God calls you His, His child.
Rest in that.
The real reason why they might have
 not wanted to sit at my lunch table...


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