In celebration of the paperback release of Justice this month, I invited some of those who read Justice to share their thoughts here. Rather than book reports, these posts take some of the themes of Justice and explore them as they apply to life outside the book. I hope you’ll find these posts encouraging, whether you’ve read Justice or not.
by Jerusha Agen
I’ve never been on a date. Technically. Turns out, though, that sometimes the guys I thought I was just having coffee or lunch with as friends thought we were on a date.
But in my mind, it wasn’t a date because I was never asked to go out with them. The ladies reading this will know what I’m getting at. These days, a guy almost never asks, “Will you go out with me?” or in any other way clarifies if the get-together is officially a date.
Instead, guys show amazing creativity in the ways they navigate around actually asking the big date question. We women have to translate lines like, “We should meet up some time,” “I’m going for coffee, you want some?”, “We should hang out,” or my favorite, very close to the real question: “If I were to ask you out, what would you say?”
This avoidance leaves us ladies having to constantly decipher what the guy really means. We’re in doubt about his interest level or intentions. And, if we want to keep the relationship in the friendship category, we have to untangle the mess of undeclared meaning before we dare agree to anything (or we go along with the assumption of friendship and have the mess explode in our faces later on).
I’ve noticed this trend of avoiding the question has bled over even into marriage proposals. A lot of men these days seem to have trouble even straight-out asking a woman if she’ll marry him. But I’m not man-bashing here. Because the reason for this extreme avoidance is something most of us also have. It’s fear.
To be exact, it’s the fear of rejection.
We women are guilty of this, too. Perhaps in relationships it doesn’t look the same because we’re more willing to risk our hearts and pride in that situation. But in other scenarios? Not so much.
All of us want to look good in front of people whose opinions we most value. That may be a group of peers at the office, the women at church, an expert we admire, or even our family. We’ll dress ourselves up, try to hide elements of ourselves we don’t like, pretend to be people we aren’t just to please others and avoid being rejected.
Fear of rejection prompts some of us to make wrong and dangerous choices. It isolates others. And it imprisons all of us who give that fear control of our lives.
So how do we prevent the fear of rejection from taking over? How can we face possible or even likely rejection with courage instead of fear?
A powerful moment in Emily Conrad’s newly released novel, Justice, gives the simplest, yet life-changing answer.
Still reeling from being the victim of a crime, the heroine Brooklyn feels like damaged goods after what happened to her. She has to do daily battle against fear in many forms, but one fear that she allows to dictate her decisions for a time is the fear of rejection. She’s not good enough, she thinks, for the man she loves. She believes if the community she lives in learns the truth about her, they’ll reject her.
So her fear makes her keep to herself. She hides the truth as long as she can. And even with those who know the truth and who care about her the most, she allows fear to keep her from accepting their help or their love. Choosing to live without love and relationships seems so much safer than taking the risk on either and being rejected instead.
But Brooklyn doesn’t have to live under the power of her fear. And neither do we.
In a powerful scene, a person who cares tells Brooklyn, “Jesus loves you, and that ought to be enough for the whole world.”
There is so much truth in that line. Because here’s the deal: that IS enough for the whole world.
Jesus’s love for you is enough to cover, heal, and even prevent the wound from every rejection you will face in this life. He made you, He watches over you, He has a good purpose for your life. He has an amazing plan to use you for eternal impact.
If you are a follower of Jesus, you have this indescribable, everlasting love from your Creator and Savior. No rejection can ever take that away (John 10:28).
If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, He offers this love to you, too. You can’t earn it, you can’t deserve it. Like Brooklyn in Justice, we are all damaged goods who won’t ever be able to earn the forgiveness and love of Jesus.
But He offers His love and forgiveness anyway. He offers us freedom from the fear of rejection and all our other fears.
Will you take hold of that freedom? If you are a follower of Christ, remember that He first loved us, when we were worthless and made repulsive by our sin. He still loves us. No matter what we do or don’t do. No matter who rejects us in this life.
All that ultimately matters is that Jesus will never reject us (Heb. 13:5). His is the only acceptance we truly need.
So let’s boldly run into the arms of the ultimate Lover. There, He will calm our fears with the only love and approval that will last forever.
Jerusha Agen imagines danger around every corner, but knows God is there, too. So naturally, she writes romantic suspense infused with the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ. With a B.A. in English and a background in screenwriting, Jerusha is the author of the Fear Warrior Blog, where she writes about fighting against fear in our everyday lives. You’ll often find Jerusha sharing irresistibly adorable photos of her Furry Fear Warriors (three big dogs and two little cats) on social media. Visit Jerusha at www.JerushaAgen.com and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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