“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:11,12)
[Recently many in the business community have felt the sting of rejection – cancelled contracts, being let go from employment or other ripple effects of a slowed economy. It may be easy to fall into the trap of believing the lie that these circumstances tell us something about who we are. Our Monday Meditation comes from Henri Nouwen who encourages us, in spite of worldly circumstances, to anchor our identity in the fact that we are chosen by God.]
How do we get in touch with our chosenness when we are surrounded by rejections? I have already said that this involves a real spiritual struggle. Are there any guidelines in this struggle? Let me try to formulate a few:
First of all, you have to keep on unmasking the world about you for what it is: manipulative, controlling, power hungry and, in the long run, destructive. The world tells you many lies about who you are, and you simply have to be realistic enough to remind yourself of this. Every time you feel hurt, offended or rejected, you have to dare to say to yourself: “These feelings, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the beloved from all eternity and held safe in an everlasting embrace.”
Secondly, you have to keep looking for people and places where your truth is spoken and where you are reminded of your deepest identity as the chosen one. Yes, we must dare to opt consciously for our chosenness and not allow our emotions, feelings or passions to seduce us into self-rejection. The synagogues, the churches, the many communities of faith, the different support groups helping us … all these can become reminders of our truth. The limited, sometimes broken, love of those who share our humanity can often point us to the truth of who we are: precious in God’s eyes. This truth is not simply an inner truth that emerges from our centre. It is also a truth that is revealed to us by the One who has chosen us. That is why we have to keep listening to the many men and women in history who, through their lives and their words, call us back to it.
Thirdly, you have to celebrate your chosenness constantly. This means saying “thank you” to God for having chosen you , and “thank you” to all who remind you of your chosenness. Gratitude is the most fruitful way of deepening your consciousness that you are not an “accident,” but a divine choice. It is important to realize how often we have had chances to be grateful and have not used them. When someone is kind to us, when an event turns out well, when a problem is solved, a relationship restored, a wound healed, there are very concrete reasons to offer thanks: be it with words,.. with a letter, a card, a phone call or just a gesture of affection.
- If you have recently experienced rejection – What can you be thankful for that will help you resist the negative lies that you may be tempted to believe about yourself.
- How can you practice gratitude this week for the eternal truth that you are uniquely chosen by God for his purposes and glory?