How are you with handling rejection? What should we do when people reject us because of our beliefs and values as Christians? Embrace the Butterfly Effect!
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One early fall afternoon a few years ago, I’d been crying. I had shared my passionate fire for Jesus with a friend, but she didn’t want to hear it. Her marriage was struggling. I shared how my relationship with Christ had transformed my marriage. But all she could hear was more things for her to do when she felt like she was already doing everything.
Not only did she reject a Christian take on marriage, our friendship ended.
Later, I replayed every word in my head. I had tried come alongside her, speak with love, gentleness and compassion, and being real about my own brokenness, failures, sin, and redemption.
But something had gone terribly wrong!
2 Timothy 1:8 ESV “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,”
Trying not to let my hurt derail me, I needed some time with God. Seeking His solace and comfort, I went outside to be alone to pray. My daughter is wonderful at a great many things, but being quiet is not one of them. 😉
“Dear God, I don’t know what to do. How do I deal with this pain? What should I do to heal this fractured relationship? How can I be obedient to you in the middle of this hurt?” Tears filled my eyes as I prayed.
A small orange and black butterfly swooped over my head and fluttered its way to the tree above. Squinting in the sunlight, I looked into the branches, but it was gone. All I could see was a bunch of leaves browning in the late summer heat wave.
But then the wind rustled the leaves, and the butterfly flickered to catch the cool breeze on her wings. Her vibrant wings shone against the dreary backdrop.
God whispered into my heart that moment.A beautiful butterfly can be lost among the dying leaves if she looks like her surroundings. Click To Tweet
A beautiful butterfly can be lost among the dying leaves if she closes up to look like her surroundings. It is only when she dares to open as a new creation that her beauty is obvious.
The Butterfly Effect is when we stand out as vibrantly alive in the midst of a dead world.
One tiny butterfly amidst a tree full of brown leaves was all the more beautiful because of the contrast between her and the surroundings.
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2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Chills raced over my arms. I felt God’s words flow into my heart.
I’m not supposed to look like the rest of the world anymore. I’m not supposed to blend in. God is calling me to stand out, not as myself, but as a witness for Him.
I may not be blameless in the derailment of our friendship. In my excitement and immaturity, I may not have presented my faith with gentleness or waiting patiently for the right time. I’m learning how to best reach people where they are, but she wasn’t rejecting me, not really. For the first time, I truly understood the following verse.
John 15:18 ESV “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”
Jesus knew we would need help handling rejection!
I had forgotten what it felt like to be running full tilt away from God, walking away from people who could only talk about Jesus, the darkness in me refusing to be around their light.
Romans 8:7 ESV “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”
Their light made the darkness in me so obvious. I got angry, indignant, and chose my way over God’s. Thank goodness, He didn’t leave me there!
Ephesians 5:8 ESV “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”
Jesus and the Holy Spirit changed my life, my heart, changed my parenting, and my marriage. I wanted to shout it from the mountains. It was a miracle for my life and family.
Who wouldn’t want a miracle?
People who don’t know they need one. People who have never truly come face to face with their need for salvation and grace.
She couldn’t see God’s blessings in what I was saying. All she could see was the things of this world she would have to give up to follow Christ.Who wouldn't want a miracle? People who don't know they need one. #butterflyeffect #newcreation Click To Tweet
Most believers will tell you we all have moments in which we cling to worldly things. Selfishly holding onto something that isn’t what God wants for us, we later realize it was holding us back from best things God wants for us.
1 John 2:15 ESV “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Serving God has to be an all or nothing proposition.
Being sold out for Jesus is a decision. When the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to God, and I started to understand grace, my whole heart changed perspective. Letting Him clean up my life is a process, but I had to surrender as master of my heart. And in doing so, I learned that I am such a happier person without the very things I used to think made me ‘happy.’
I would love to tell you this friend has come back and asked me what makes me so different, and maybe someday I can. I can’t say the hurt is completely gone either, but knowing my responsibility is to grow closer to God is comforting.
I’m learning to listen more, talk less, serve more, know that living differently, loving much, using His butterfly effect is my best witness.
We meet them where they are, not excusing their sin, but loving them anyway as Christ first loved us.
But, I have to choose to spread my wings, letting people see His new creation in me, not let the world pressure me to look like them.
People who are ready, will see His butterfly effect in me. And for those who aren’t, I will plant a seed.