From Rejection to Restoration

By Shavia Johnson

In life, everyone will experience some form of rejection. It can be traced back to single events that had no lasting effects on the individual for some people. Then there are others, like myself, who encounter rejection at an early age without the cognitive tools or spiritual awareness to recognize that such a toxic spirit wreaked havoc in my life.  According to Apostle John Eckhardt, “the most damaging type of rejection experienced is that experienced early in life.” I can testify to the truth of his statement as I have lived it for most of my life.

When I was a child, I had an encounter with my dad, which left me feeling abandoned, inadequate, and rejected. I had nowhere to turn with my thoughts and feelings but inward to my seven-year-old brain, or so I thought. I allowed the lies of the enemy to become my truth. I hated myself and everyone else. Yet, I never stopped loving my dad but would harbor animosity toward him for years to come and punish myself for how he made me feel that day.

Every decision I made resulted from the rejected perception I had of myself. The crazy thing is that I was surrounded by genuine love from family, friends, and potential spouses, all my life, but I could not comprehend that love, let alone see it. I was double-minded, frustrated, and a people-pleaser, all because in my heart, I did not know or comprehend who I was or to whom I belonged. I spent almost two decades walking around bound to this horrible spirit. Even after salvation, I was in captivity of my past. However, Abba worked through me slowly and patiently, one step at a time.

I once believed that after I accepted salvation in Christ, Jesus, I would be good to go and free, but that was not my experience. I received the gift of redemption at the age of 16, and it wasn’t until almost 20 years later that I would fully surrender and allow God access to the depths of my heart to begin restoring my inner brokenness. I famished the decade of my 20’s with depression, drinking, drug usage, fornication, toxic relationships, dysfunction, and unhealed pain. Pain so deep that I did not know if I could ever be whole or where healing could begin. But Abba…true to His nature, He met me right where I was and began to bring me out, with inner healing and deliverance at a slow and steady pace.

Not too long ago, I believed that only healing was a process, not realizing that deliverance is a journey also. Somethings have established such deep, thick, and entangled roots in our hearts that it takes time to remove them entirely, residue and all. I had to start.

Abba presented the spirit of fear as my starting point. He guided me into learning and understanding the ins and outs of fear: what it looks like, where it came from, why it launches gruesome attacks, and how to triumph it. Abba used fear to show me how He works with, in, and through us as we journey through healing and deliverance and into restoration and redemption.

Have you ever noticed that Abba addresses an issue that entraps us to reveal His redemptive power and love for us? God, the Father, engages us in the capacity we can receive His guidance, intimacy, and revelation.

While in training to combat the spirit of fear, God was preparing my heart for more intrusive surgery. I did not realize this until three years later. It was part of the process where my faith and trust in God had to increase to receive a more profound level of inner healing and deliverance. I kept peace and comfort knowing that becoming whole in Christ Jesus is an ongoing process.

After fear, frustration became the issue of life that flowed from the depths of my heart. Why may you ask? People-pleasing, double-mindedness, and feelings of inadequacy are manifestations of the spirit of rejection, which all can become a form of frustration.

One day when I was in quiet time with Abba crying out to Him, asking why do people frustrate me so much? The Holy Spirit showed me a vision of me when I was a teenager; I was getting up from a sexual act with a man and felt empty. The Holy Spirit told me that I am frustrated with people because I am always willing to give up my soul in exchange for the feeling of being loved. Whoa! The scripture “What profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul” popped into my mind. IAtthat moment, I repented, cried, and sat with my thoughts of interactions with the men in my life, friends, colleagues, everyone. I was ready and willing to sabotage my soul for a temporary emotional experience.

At that moment, I did not fully understand what had taken place, and it would be a couple of years later when I would realize that Abba wanted my heart, mind, body, and soul, and He wanted all of who I am whole. Yet, my heart shifted at that moment, and I was strong enough to continue the process. I was able to look at myself and Abba from a healthier perspective. He wanted me to understand what real intimacy was and how my desire to feel love was my soul gasping for an intimate relationship with Abba. Such a burning bush experience with the Holy Spirit brought me from a superficial knowing of Abba into a deep space of oneness I did not know existed.

Over the following months, I continued to identify and uproot areas in my life that distorted my perception of myself, God, and our intimate connection. I continued to invest in myself, learning about rejection and deliverance, relationships, my identity, and Abba. Once you repent and come out of agreement with the lies you once believed about yourself, you are free to move forward to the next level of healing and deliverance until you obtain restoration and reclaim your God-given authority.

I began to see Abba as my Heavenly Father. He is all things to us as we need Him to be, and in this season, He was dealing with the matters of my heart regarding my biological father, where the seed of rejection all began for me.

Earlier this year, my earthly father suffered a rare stroke caused by a ruptured aneurysm in his brain. He had emergency surgery to address the three aneurysms and received a 10% survival prognosis. My dad was in a coma and on life support for 23 days. During this time, I was able to lay everything on the table about my dad with Abba; I received a prophetic confirmation about the healing that was taking place and how much Abba loves me. I experienced Abba in a new way, which released my heart’s chains to receive all His love for me. As a result, there was a release to completely forgive my dad and love him wholly and unconditionally, as Abba loves us. Today my dad is recovering well, and we are closer than we have ever been in my 37 years on earth.

You may be wondering what took place with me? I will tell you that Abba used my pain to purify my heart, draw me closer to Him, allow me to see Him, and discover my authentic self so I can move forward in the next season in my life. All of it was preparation for the fulfillment of my purpose for being. I could never fulfill my God-given mission while in bondage to pain, and neither can you.

God has been showing me and allowing me to experience His love for me, and in change, I have finally learned to love myself. Rejection is not my portion. I am loved, necessary, and I am more than enough! The spirit of rejection has no power in my life anymore. I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit, ABBA, and Jesus that would draw me into a place where I love myself entirely. I no longer seek the approval of people. I now trust the LORD wholeheartedly while waiting for guidance instead of moving in doubt and double-mindedness. I no longer allow negative internal thoughts to run wild in my mind. I have taken back my God-given power and activated my authority over the enemy and his attacks on my life.

Redemption Leads to Restoration

I have been redeemed in my identity, relationships with people, and relationship with God because I allowed Him to do the work that only He can do. I can finally see myself through Him! Hallelujah, Lord Jesus! It has not been a comfortable journey, but having the Holy Spirit with me empowers me to keep going while enabling others to start or continue their process from rejection to restoration.

The following are three practical principles to help you ensure that the spirit of rejection and its manifestations have no place in your life:

  • Repent– Confess any lies you have believed and agreed with verbally, mentally, and by action. Remember, those decisions and actions were in your heart. With repentance, you are removing and releasing the lies to make room for the Truth.
  • Participate in your Process– Intentionally and consistently spend time with the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to flow through you as He guides, reveals, and comforts you. The more you rely on the Spirit of the Lord, the more you are inclined to stay the course.
  • Invest in Yourself– A huge part of my continual progress in my healing journey has come from me taking the time to work on my heart, mind, and emotions. Everything else follows, aligns, and falls into place because I use this standard in every area of my life. We should consistently invest in our growth and development in all areas of our lives through prayer, training, books, webinars, etc.

Remember, everything we do begin in our minds. In Christ, rejection is powerless. We are accepted, healed, and restored. Our lives should reflect the freedom, power, and authority we possess. I encourage you to address any areas in your life that rejection has kept you in bondage. The world awaits the arrival of your redeemed and restored self.

Shavia Johnson is a woman of God, Author, Speaker, Youth Advocate, and Restoration Empowerment Coach. She is driven by the desire to see young men ad women experience healing and deliverance from the effects of pain suppression caused by unresolved childhood trauma. She helps people navigate the healing process, helping them identify and break down barriers that hold them captive to toxic cycles of bondage.

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Unpacking Self-Reliance to Trust

By Debbie Renee Howard

It was nothing for me to spend at least 120 hours a week working in the marketplace. My extreme work ethic began with excuses such as, “I had to sharpen my craft, skills, and abilities in my related field within the healthcare industry.” There were very few women of color in my role. Then, it became the projects, and there were never enough hours in the day to accomplish them all. I certainly wasn’t spending as much time as I needed in prayer, meditation, reading, studying the scriptures, or even communicating with God consistently. There was so much Holy Spirit wanted to reveal to me, but my posture, position, and priorities wouldn’t allow Him to penetrate the altar of my heart.

I was seized by fear, panic, and exhaustion, trying to ensure that others perceived me as valuable. I was so focused on what I could do instead of what God wanted to do in and through me! You may ask, where does such a mindset originate? I wasn’t living the life of abundance, peace, and freedom, and I wasn’t experiencing God’s presence in the way I had read about in the scriptures. I knew in my heart that God hadn’t changed but that I had lost my way, and some unhealed areas were leaking from my heart. So, I began a retrospective journey back over my past experiences that created the unhealed wounds of my soul.

I reflected upon my childhood, in which there were some traumatic experiences. My parents divorced just before I reached that awkward adolescent stage of development. It was a critical time when I struggled with my body image, self-worth, and identity! I was a die-hard Daddy’s girl, and I was trying to explain why my Daddy wasn’t physically present in our home anymore? Why wasn’t he around to protect me? I can remember thinking it must have been something I’d done! I came to understand and learn that adults deal with situations that have little or nothing to do with the children that are a product of the relationship! Exploring and explaining such relational dynamics are other topics for a different blog article at another time!

Back to the subject at hand, at the tender age of 12, I was fondled inappropriately by an adult, adding to my trauma experience. My external defense manifested as weight gain and engaging relationships that weren’t healthy and not good for me! To be transparent, maintaining a healthy weight had been an ongoing area in my life that needed constant attention and discipline. Weight gain became my way of hiding in plain sight.

My family had labeled me the “quiet one” in contrast to my sister. The matter was I didn’t know how to share what had happened to me. I carried so much fear, shame, guilt, blame, and the burden of wondering: who would believe me? I was just a child; there were others I was trying to protect! In hindsight, I cannot comprehend the irony of such a selfless act that was simultaneously self-sabotaging. How did I possess the capacity to suppress what happened to me to protect others? I have realized and know that Abba’s Father had given me the strength to endure what was eating away at me internally.

During that time in my life, I also mastered isolation skills. It was a way to protect myself from hurt, disappointment, rejection, abandonment, and a whole barrage of internal buildup that I’d need to heal, address, and get FREE from in the decades ahead!

I took on quiet confidence and disposition of “I can do it on my own,” I didn’t care what “IT” was; I proudly wore my fake badge of honor! However, such a false form of armor became a problematic barrier as I began to grow and mature into a teenager, young adult, then adulthood!

In my teenage years, I spent time engaging in the self-discovery process. I’m sure you think that’s the same as most teenagers. However, I believe that the Father wants us to be secure in who we are in Him. I didn’t realize that until my young adult life.

One day I was tired of carrying the load, it was time to let it go, and I couldn’t do IT independently. I began to pour out my innermost thoughts in a very candid conversation with the Abba:

God, I’ve tried to carry the weight of the hurt, guilt, and shame because I did not trust you. I’m nothing without you; I need you in my life. I surrender my mind, will, emotions, thoughts, and all that I’ve tried to FIX on my own, and I give it all to you right now at this moment.

At that very moment, I felt such a release that I hadn’t experienced ever before. God had been waiting for me to STOP my self-reliance, strength, abilities, what I knew, and give Him the reigns of my life.

I began to meditate on the word to shift my mindset and posture to trust God with every part of my inner being and life: But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV; And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty. Phil 4:13 TPT

The following is a parallel example of how self-reliance can cause us to move away from Abbas original intent for our lives subtly:

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American poet, essayist, and philosopher. Emerson won fame as the leader of the transcendentalist movement. Ralph Emerson was invited by Boston’s Second Church to serve as pastor and was later ordained. Unfortunately, after only two years, Emerson’s wife died; this made him question his thoughts and beliefs. The man who once believed in biblical miracles decided to resign his pastorate. He firmly believed that the individual must have the courage to investigate his own heart for spiritual guidance and trust his intuition. Emerson’s views suggest that men can generate completely original insights and that the truth can be experienced directly from nature without any divine help.

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Reflect. What path Mr. Emerson’s life could have taken?

I’m not implying that self-reliance is a bad thing, but it can be a disguise for mistrust—idolatry. Perhaps your idol isn’t self-reliance; it could be the mindset of independence to the point where you aren’t able to trust our Father in every area of your life or with the wounds of your heart. Whatever your idol is, be honest enough to explore it, the root of its existence, and know that God is waiting to partner with you on your journey to healing and freedom.

“Because I cannot rely on myself, I rely on Him, twenty-four hours a day.”

~Mother Teresa

Debbie Renee Howard is a woman of faith, an Executive Pastor, Speaker, Consultant, and Transformation Coach. She has an innate ability to empower, inspire, develop and equip men and women to identify areas in their lives that lack purpose, and need healing. She achieves this through God’s Wisdom and her unique gift of insightful communication which provokes clarity and introspection.

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