Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: rejection

Stone art people passing a Valentine

Love Because You Are Loved

Stone art made to look like people passing a Valentine

If you hang up the phone first, then you’re in control of the relationship. I don’t know why I thought this when I first started dating. My husband and I met over summer break during college and continued to date after I went back to school five hours away. Somehow, irrationally, I got it in my head that I could protect my heart from rejection if I could be the first one to say goodnight and get off the phone. The problem was he beat me to it every time. As soon as I’d pause and say “It was good talking—” he’d jump in with, “Yeah, miss you. Talk to you soon,” and then he’d hang up.

I’d stare at the phone gritting my teeth, torn between astonishment and outrage. Anger is often a coverup for a deeper fear—which in my case was rejection. We dated long-distance for two years. In all that time, I never was able to get off the phone before him. But he continued to call and, over time, his love and devotion allayed my fears. Now, I realize just how silly I had been.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4:18). In my manuscripts, all of my heroines start with a fear:

  • the fear of not being good enough,
  • the fear of not being loved,
  • the fear of rejection,
  • the fear of their past defining their future,
  • the fear of lacking purpose.

We all can relate to these fears in some way because they are real-life struggles. How many of us ever …?

  • Checked our phone wondering if he or she will call you back?
  • Pushed a proposal across the table praying it will be considered?
  • Walked into the class reunion dressed to impress, hoping they won’t remember you as the dorky, shy, or strange kid from third period?

There are a hundred other scenarios. With my stories, somewhere around the midpoint to the last third, the heroine realizes she is loved. It gives her the confidence to drive out fear and leads to the happily-ever-after.

girl dressed as a princess in front of a play castle

Happily-ever-after isn’t just for fairy tales.

My husband says I won’t argue with anyone except for him, and he’s right. I like conflict in my story characters’ lives not in my own. So why would I argue with my husband? Because he loves me. His love has driven out my fear of conflict. I can argue with him knowing he’ll still love me. Most people might not find that romantic, but I do. I love my husband all the more because I have the security to speak my mind.

It is this kind of love that sets us free, not a box of chocolates, nor a bouquet of flowers (even though those are very thoughtful and much appreciated). But love is even bigger than that. We live in freedom without fear because God loves us. His love has removed the sting of death and the guilt of sin. We have confidence in the day of judgment because of Jesus’ sacrifice and his love for us. When we understand the depths of God’s love, fear shrinks back and looses it grip.

His love is so overwhelming, it fills to the brim, overflowing. Not only do we have plenty of love to give away, but we also have the confidence to do so. You’ll see Love Because You Are Loved on my website and in my emails as my tagline. It stems from 1 John 4:18 “Perfect love drives out fear,” and 1 John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us.” Because we know he has our best interest a heart, God’s love helps us relinquish the struggle for control. His love gives us freedom from fear and the courage to love one another.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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So, go ahead and love because you are loved!


Being Stood Up

Rejection hurts.

I’d done up my hair, put on my best outfit and double checked myself in the mirror clockseveral times as the minutes ticked by on the clock. Ten minutes… twenty… half hour… an hour… then longer. It eventually hit me—I was being stood up. It stung, my pride, my self-esteem, and my confidence. The thought of facing my friends the following morning when they asked, “How was your date?” knotted my stomach and sent heat to the tips of my ears. The high school junior who’d asked me out didn’t apologize the next day as we passed in the halls. He acted as if his memory had been wiped of any trace of asking me on a date. In my humiliation, I vowed I was done with dating and men. Thankfully, I reneged on that vow, because now I’m happily married and raising three boys. Funny how those things work out. What at the moment felt like a big deal, now is the faintest blip on my memory’s radar.

Failing stinks.

My son didn’t make the team. He’d showed a lot of promise with baseball. He had a great swing. His coach asked him to try out for a special league, but he got cut. He tried to brush it off like it didn’t matter. My husband and I did our best to encourage him, but the next season his heart wasn’t in it. The following season he decided to try lacrosse and now he’s out there tearing up the field.

Wouldn’t life be simpler if we could just succeed at everything? Actually, no. Chasing failure can take you further than success. Why? Because when we fail, we analyze what happened. We study to figure out where we went wrong. Sometimes the worst thing that can happen to someone is success. With success we give ourselves a pat on the back. We don’t check to see if it could have been a fluke or if we could improve. Success reinforces the behavior and if the behavior wasn’t perfection than perfection won’t be sought.

Squirrel trapped in a bublbeMaybe we should take ourselves out of the fight before we get hurt? We could remove ourselves from the equation to keep us from feeling any pain, but what life experiences are we passing up in the process? Should we stay in a protective bubble? When does the insulated bubble become a prison of our own making?

Fail trying, don’t fail watching.Bob Goff author of Love Does

Allowing yourself or others to fail can be hard to do especially when it’s your own children. Standing by as they struggle is heart-wrenching. (My protective mother bear instincts kick into high gear.) But, what if you’re keeping them or yourself from crucial character development. I want to force my kids to study for tests while my husband says let them fail and learn from it. I remind my husband how important grades are for their future and to get into a good college, etc. He reminds me that it’s better for them to learn the importance of studying, by the pain of an F, while we can still be an influence on them. It’s a lot easier than having them flunk out of college later because you’re not there to force them to be responsible. (I hate it when he’s right.)

“Though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” – Proverbs 24:16

All of us will deal with failure and rejection, even Jesus was rejected. The same people he came to save nailed him to the cross and crucified him. Jesus forewarned his disciples that some people won’t listen. He told them to “Shake the dust of your feet” and move on. Jesus’s brother James wrote in 1:2-4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

So whatever failure you may have faced or are facing, pick yourself up, dust off your sandals, and persevere. Use rejection and failure as a launch pad for growth, and realize you’re a great work in the making.

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three paint brushes

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” I said to twelve, six-year-old girls this two paint brushesweekend at my niece’s art-themed birthday party as I taught them how to paint a pink flamingo. (My niece loves anything pink.) I also emphasized this concept when I used to teach elementary art students. I wanted them to understand it wasn’t okay to say something negative about anyone’s project.

What some see as ugly, others find to be beautiful.

  • Artist Vincent Van Gogh only sold one of his paintings during his lifetime. While alive, Van Gogh was considered a failure as an artist. Yet, according to Widewalls auction results, Vincent’s paintings, Portrait du Docteur Gachet, sold for $75 million, and Reference.com estimates the value of his painting, Starry Night, is now well over 100 million dollars. If only Van Gogh could see the price tag now.
  • Dr. Seuss’s first book, And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected twenty-seven times before he bumped into a friend on the street who happened to work for Vanguard Press and told him to send him a copy.
  • Thomas Edison was deemed a “difficult” child by his school teacher who believed Edison’s brain to be “addled.” His mother pulled him from the school and decided to teach him herself. Edison became a famous inventor holding over 1,000 patents including the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, and the movie camera.

Many of us deal with naysayers, rejections, and failures, but I want to shout, “Stay the course!” Charlotte Gambill in her a book, The Miracle in the Middle, writes about how many people quit in the middle when fear and doubts seem the greatest. But, it’s in the middle where our character and strength are forged along with a deeper trust in God. I wish Van Gogh could see how the raw emotion displayed in his bold brush strokes created a new era of post-impressionism. I’m thankful that Dr. Seuss didn’t give up on writing because I’m not certain my children would have enjoyed learning to read if he had. And, if Thomas Edison believed what his school teacher thought of him, we all might be sitting around in the dark.

There is beauty in what you do. Don’t stop believing in yourself. 2 Peter 1:3 says, “He (God) gives us everything we need for life and for holy living.” We have what it takes to fulfill our purpose, so turn a deaf ear to the naysayers. Sometimes it just takes time to find the right “beholder.”

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