As a believer, you’ve probably already dealt with some degree of rejection from friends and family. When you converted, as a new believer, you probably wanted to share the gospel with your those closest to you. And, chances are, you’ve probably met with a lot of opposition. Jesus warned about this. In fact, it’s totally part of your lot as a Kingdom citizen… to be misunderstood at times, mocked, or even hated. No one is a prophet in their own land.
Furthermore, The Lord reminds us:
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” John 15: 18-20
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’” Matthew 10:34-36
So, as a Bible believing Christian, you’ve probably already felt that kind of heat from friends and family.
But that’s not where it stops.
You will likely feel a similar kind of rejection once you begin your work as an entrepreneur.
If you’ve found your sweet spot, your calling, or purpose, and began working towards your passion, chances are you’ll be just as misunderstood as when you converted.
It’s no joke.
You see, christian entrepreneurs are a different breed of believers.
Most Christians I’ve met think their purpose stops once they’re saved. They believe they were put on earth to ‘accept Jesus’ and to ‘evangelize’. Sadly, they fail to see the bigger picture.
I mean, let’s face it, if you were put on earth just to evangelize, God could send angelic drones to do just that. Evangelism is just one of God’s tools in partnering with us in our sanctification and the propagation of the gospel of the Kingdom.
The bigger picture is this: your conversion was only the beginning. The fullness of your purpose comes after… once you walk with God and He reveals to you your work, your assignment – the thing that you are called to do on earth.
And once you embrace it… that’s when entrepreneurial rejection from friends and family usually begins.
As an example, let’s take the life of Jesus. Although Jesus did the work of a carpenter, that’s not what His calling was. It just paid the bills for awhile.
He began His Work, his true work, (his calling, or ministry) when he hit thirty. Why thirty? Because, as the book of Hebrews says, He was to be a high priest to us all, and in the Old Testament, priests began their work at thirty years of age (see Number chapter 4).
So, we could say, metaphorically, that Jesus began his entrepreneurial journey at thirty. He BEGAN (the word entreprendre in French means ‘to begin’, this is where we get the word entrepreneur from) His work then.
So, what were the reactions of his entourage when He started his work? Not so good.
Here is a passage from the Bible to put you in context:
“When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them,“A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” (Matthew 13: 54-58)
So, that’s how Jesus was perceived by his own town folks from Nazareth. Sad isn’t it?
And because they didn’t buy into what he was telling them, He did not do many miracles there. They just couldn’t fathom that this ‘carpenter’s son’ could actually teach them a thing or two.
But Jesus said to them,“A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” – Matthew 15:37
Similarly, when you started your business as a coach, author, speaker, network marketer,..etc
You probably had comments like:
Isn’t this Jane, the waitress from the corner diner?
Isn’t this John, the taxi driver?
Isn’t this Sam, the guy who works as a janitor?
Isn’t that Tracy the stay at home mom?
Or maybe you told your friends and family what business you were going to start and their faces dropped, or their eyes bugged out of their head. Or perhaps they had a weird unfamiliar smile, or just nodded while their faces screamed ‘disbelief’.
If so, you’re in good company.
Many famous people had to deal with this kind of reaction from loved ones. For one, Les Brown, one of the most successful motivational speakers in the last 20 years, experienced rejection from his own friends and family. He spoke about it candidly in an interview a few years back. He said the people who didn’t buy into his speeches were those closest to him. So, you’re definitely not alone.
But let’s get back to Jesus…
In another Bible passage we read about how Jesus’ own family perceived him:
“Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “ He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3: 20-21)
So, on top of having no credibility with people from his hometown, his own family (perhaps Mary and his brothers and sisters even) wanted to seize him and take Him away from there before he would embarrass himself (or them) any further. They actually thought he was crazy!
Shakespeare put it best when he wrote “familiarity breeds contempt.”
Jesus of Nazareth began feeling the ripples of His impactful mission early on. His acquaintances didn’t want any part in what He offered and He obliged them. He performed no miracles and taught very little in Nazareth. He didn’t give His pearls to swine.
My friends, all this to say that the same reactions will be met in your life the moment you begin doing different things than what others have come to know from you.
When you begin a self-discovery journey and you start doing things differently because you are an entrepreneur, they will resist that change vehemently.
Accept it as being part of your journey.
When you start aiming in becoming more, doing more, and doing it differently, you will see it.
When you begin pursuing your dreams with passion, you definitely will feel its sting.
When you begin shifting your mindset towards greater ideals and goals, entrepreneurial rejection from friends and family will rear its ugly head through your entourage as they try to drag you back down.
You see, people’s perception of us is part of what they call their ‘reality’. When we evolve and begin changing, we affect their ‘reality’ and it makes them feel very uneasy. That’s why they feel they have to halt it, or ‘knock some sense into you’.
It’s not their fault really, they just don’t want their paradigm to change – and you are a part of it. It’s their unconscious defense mechanism.
Some call it cognitive dissonance.
Let’s get a Little scientific, let’s go Deeper…
In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. The occurrence of cognitive dissonance is a consequence of a person performing an action that contradicts personal beliefs, ideals, and values; and also occurs when confronted with new information that contradicts said beliefs, ideals, and values.
In the book A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (1957), Leon Festinger proposed that human beings strive for internal psychological consistency in order to mentally function in the real world. A person who experiences internal inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and so is motivated to reduce the cognitive dissonance, by making changes to justify the stressful behavior, either by adding new parts to the cognition causing the psychological dissonance, or by actively avoiding social situations and contradictory information likely to increase the magnitude of the cognitive dissonance. (Wikipedia)
So, in short, this means that when you come to people exposing a different way of being, doing, or thinking, they will have a self-protective knee-jerk reaction and will reject you. This reaction may be permanent, or they may eventually come around and warm up to you and your beliefs.
As a result, I have noticed the following in my own life:
- Mediocre people want you to be mediocre
- Average people want you to be average
- Great people want you to be great
That, by the way, is why I became intentional about surrounding myself with great people. And by great I just mean those who don’t settle – those who have a growth mindset and are always wanting to learn more and become more.
Understand that your Vision was given to you by God and not to THEM. You have only one person to please and that’s being obedient to HIM.
When I first understood that in my life, it took a huge load off of my shoulders. We are trained to follow our parents ideas and footsteps when we are young. As adults, we have to break free and listen to God’s purpose and vision for our life.
That is a HUGE step in your life and many times it will NOT be approved by your friends and family. It’s not because they don’t want the best for you. They just can’t see God’s personal plan for you.
I once heard a preacher talk about vision, and he talked about God giving you the vision in increments, one small step at a time. As you move forward in the direction He leads, He adds to that vision.
If needed, take some distance from people who crush your dreams. Some people are simply negative, all of the time. It’s in our nature as Christians to want to please people but we aren’t doing any good to get to the goals that God has set for us to surround ourselves with such negative people. It will weigh you down. In the case of really toxic people you may have to stay away permanently.
So, let’s recap. There are, in all, five Actionable steps to overcome loved one’s rejection. Here they are:
1-Understand it., it’s normal. It comes with the territory. It is to be expected, and it’s not personal.
2- Accept it. Don’t fight it or them over it. Take it in stride.
3- Keep Going- Don’t let it stop you or deter you from moving forward and building your vision…
4- It’s YOUR vision from God – not theirs.
5- If needed, take some distance.
So, in closing, I hope this article has given you a better understanding on this matter and I hope this will help you to NOT take it personally any longer. I hope this will motivate you to keep pressing forward and let go of the negative opinions and rejection you may feel at times.
P.S. If you liked this blog post, you’ll love the podcast we recorded on this very subject. Listen to it here: https://www.thrivingonpurpose.com/overcoming-entrepreneurial-rejection-from-friends-and-family/