In our last Langstaff Letter, I shared a message about ten things I never dreamed I would be involved in. I also made the comment that if you had known me back when I was a young man, you would not have picked me to be involved in them either. Simply speaking, at that time of my life, I lacked in confidence. I had an inferiority complex, a poor self-image and I was shy, even though I tried to cover it in other ways. I had no great sense of destiny or calling. As I discovered later, the root cause of my negative self-image was a root of rejection that went back to the day that I was born. Let me tell you the story.
MY STORY OF REJECTION
I was the last child born in a family of three. The first two children were boys, and my mother quite naturally wanted a girl. When I was born, she asked the doctor who had delivered me, ‘What is it?’ I imagine there was an uncomfortable silence as, knowing my mother’s strong desire for a girl, the doctor hesitated to answer. Eventually, he said, ‘I would rather not say.’ My mother, realizing that I was a boy, cried out, ‘Take him away! I don’t want him!’ She was bitterly disappointed.
At this crucial moment of birth, there were no loving arms to welcome me, no whispers of a mother’s love – only rejection.
Now, when you give birth to a baby, you can not return it as if it was a Target store purchase. So, my parents had no choice but to keep me. Expecting and desiring a girl, they had no boy’s names picked out. My name was supposed to have been Margaret. Some names can fit with either a boy or a girl, but Margaret was not one of them. So, people began to make suggestions, which were put into a hat. Out of this hat, they drew my name, Alan. They gave me the middle name McGregor, which was my mom’s maiden name, a reminder of my Scottish heritage.
I was fully aware of the events surrounding my birth because it was a story that inevitably came up at family gatherings. All through my life, I was reminded that I was supposed to have been the girl of the family. The story would be told, and people would laugh, driving the hurt from the rejection I had experienced even deeper into my heart and my subconscious mind.
My first toy was a doll. I was the only boy on the block with a doll. I was shy and lacked confidence. My first school photograph showed a little boy hardly able to look at the camera. Later, in my teenage years, I hid all my insecurities behind sarcastic humor, joking, and teasing others, especially the girls.
My lack of confidence and poor self-image was further reinforced when I realized because my skin was fair and would never tan. It went pink and freckled, and many times I suffered sunburn. I used to wonder how I could join all the freckles together so I could be nicely tanned like my mates, and live the cool image of an Australian man – a bronze Aussie.
One day at a Sunday School Picnic, I escaped my mother’s watchful eye and swam out to a pontoon in the middle of the river. I took off my shirt that my mother always made me wear to prevent sunburn, and I stayed on the pontoon all afternoon. The result was a severe sunburn that kept me in bed for a week.
So, I grew up knowing the story of my birth, lacking in self-confidence, without a positive self-image, but I never realized the root of it all went back to my birth. I believe when I was born I came under a spirit of rejection. I must note that my mother and father did love me. I believe that the turning point for my mother was when I contracted diphtheria as a baby and nearly died, spending a month in an infectious disease hospital.
It was not until 1971 when I was thirty-seven years old, and on my first trip around the world that things changed. My wife and my two daughters joined me for the last part of the trip on the West coast of America. A friend of ours had asked us to deliver a parcel to a friend of his in Seattle, Washington. The friend along with his wife came to the hotel to pick it up. Naturally enough, we invited them in to visit for a while. During the conversation, somehow the story of my birth came up. The woman, with great discernment, simply stated, ‘Do you realize what this has done to you?’ Suddenly, I had a blinding revelation of how the rejection I had experienced had affected me from my earliest days of childhood. My sense of inferiority, my lack of confidence, my poor self-image – all these had their roots in the spirit of rejection.
The woman asked if she could pray for me. As I sat at the end of the bed, she and her husband, together with my wife Dorothy, laid hands on me and prayed for me to be set free from the spirit of rejection that had been a cloud over my entire life.
That meeting in Seattle brought deliverance. However, I also realized that I had to develop a healthy new self-image based on the Bible and how God saw me. My mother had wanted a girl, but obviously, God wanted a boy, and God had won. There is an old song that goes, ‘You have to eliminate the negative and accentuate the positive.’ I knew that even though I had been delivered from a spirit of rejection, I still had to build up a new God-given self-image. A small book titled ‘In Him’ by Kenneth Hagen was one of the keys to doing just that, as I began to see myself as God saw me and who I am ‘In Him.’
SOME THOUGHTS ON REJECTION
During the early days of ministry in Australia, a wonderful minister and his wife, Noel and Phyl Gibson, helped us greatly. Out his experience in a ministry of deliverance, he wrote, ‘The greatest undiagnosed, therefore untreated, malady within the body of Christ today is rejection.’ Carol Thompson, who used to teach at ‘Christ for the Nations,’ also wrote, ‘The deepest bruise that can be inflicted by our enemy is the bruise of rejection.’
It happens in so many ways, in so many circumstances – at home, at work, at school, in a broken relationship, or a divorce. It can also be experienced amongst Christians and in the church.
It is not my plan to set out a teaching on ‘Rejection’ in this Langstaff Letter. I simply wanted to share my own testimony of how the spirit of rejection affected me and how I was set free, to encourage those people who may be where I was. I want to encourage you that God has an answer for rejection. It is to be found in Jesus Christ, in His word, and through the power of the Holy Spirit. You may need help, like I did, to gain the victory, but remember Jesus said, ‘And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32).’ Also, ‘Therefore, if the son makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).’
This month is a milestone in our lives as on November 8th, Dorothy turned 80, and on November 29th Dorothy and I celebrate our 60th Wedding Anniversary. We want to thank the many people who have sent in cards, emails, letters, congratulations, and best wishes. You have blessed us greatly, and we want to say a big ‘Thank You! We love you and thank God for you all!’