There is a wonderful adoption ministry at our church. Jennifer and I attended last Sunday night. It was great being with other couples who have walked the road we are walking. I am really looking forward to growing in that group. In our group we watched a video featuring Carissa Woodwyk. I first heard Carissa speak at the Summit 2013 in Nashville, and quite frankly was blown away. She articulated what my heart was feeling with words I could not speak. The video that we watched Sunday was very similar.
Carissa gives voice to the wound of rejection that every adoptee feels. The group knows that I was adopted, and at the conclusion of the video the group leader asked me if that rejection wound was evident in my life. My response – it permeates everything.
(Here is a link to her talk at the Summit: https://vimeo.com/73044194 )
If you’ve taken the time to “Listen” to her talk, you now know how eloquently she describes the adoptees rejection wound. While I may not be able to adequately describe the rejection wound, I certainly can speak to its reality in my life.
It permeates everything. This wound has affected every area of my life. It has had an impact on every relationship I have ever had, and most likely ever will have.
It’s worked this way for me. First, it has driven me to be an overachiever. It was driven me to attempt to be perfect. Because if I achieve, if I am perfect then I will not be rejected. I had a friend through high school and college who once said about me, “everyone loves you.” There was a reason for that. My rejection wound drove me to be loved and accepted by everyone, so as a defense mechanism I learned how to be fun, witty and charming. I developed confidence in my social skills and as a result, everyone loved me.
The only problem with this strategy is that no one is perfect. Neither was I, but I couldn’t let anyone know it. So I was really good at giving the appearance of being everybody’s all american. Living that kind of lifestyle is exceedingly difficult and tiresome. Not to mention manipulative.
The next way the rejection wound has affected me is in how I keep everyone at an emotional arms length. The rejection wound builds tall thick walls around the heart. If you are at arms length that means that you are not close enough to cause me pain. Unfortunately that also means that you are never close enough to offer comfort and acceptance. To this day I have lots of friends, but I’ve only let a very few into my heart. And honestly, I’ve been far to guarded with them.
Over the last several years God has been leading me on a journey of self discovery. My rejection wound has been exposed to the light of Jesus. Painfully so – I might add. But now that it is in the light it is something that I can deal with, and Jesus can heal it. This has been and continues to be a difficult road to follow. It’s painful. It requires that you trade in an old identity for a new one. It brings radical life upheaval and change. But with each step it also brings freedom.
As I journey with Jesus on this road, I know that at some point the rejection wound will no longer permeate everything. He will.
Can’t wait for that day!