Do you ever feel unwanted?
Recently I was talking to a fellow who had been told by his parents that he was a mistake. They had not planned to have any more children before he was born. And they constantly reminded him of this over many years, as if it were his fault he was born. It made him feel unwanted.
And to top it off, his parents never really showed him the loving support and affection his older siblings received.
Not too surprisingly, he had carried around this black cloud of not feeling wanted and loved for years. It had affected his life in lots of very negative ways, some subtle, some not so subtle.
Lots of people feel unwanted
Over the years, I’ve met lots of people with similar stories. Before I was married, I knew an elderly woman in Texas, Myrtle, who was the seventh or eighth child in a family, all girls except for one son. Before she was born, the father was hoping for another boy. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But he constantly told the story, in a joking kind of way to anyone who would listen, of how he was so disappointed there was another baby girl in the family. Everyone would laugh. Except for Myrtle. She took it to heart and told me often of the way she would try to win her father’s affection and respect, with some, but not much success.
These are just two examples of a wide variety of reasons that people don’t feel wanted in this world. Sometimes it could be that a parent abandoned the family. Sometimes a divorce makes a child feel unwanted. The list goes on.
Why so many people feel unwanted
Of all the people I’ve met over the years who feel unwanted and unloved, it has often revolved around one or both parents, or sometimes a close relative, telling them they were a mistake, they should have been the opposite sex, or that they were a burden to the family.
Sometimes this feeling of being unwanted comes, not from a child being told they are unwanted. It may just come because a parent doesn’t express love to a child. And the kid decides he is unwanted.
Or it could come as an adult when you’re treated with indifference, or even ostracized, at work or at church, for example.
With all the challenges facing kids today, or in any period in history, sometimes it’s hard enough growing up in a home where you are loved. The uncertainties and insecurities, the pull between the desire to fit in with and be accepted by your peers, versus the struggle to be your authentic self, not to mention all the other challenges kids and teenagers, even adults, have: all these things are a lot to deal with, as I said, even when you grow up in a loving home.
So when you don’t feel loved, it can have a big impact on how you see yourself.
Now you may not feel this issue applies to you. If you grew up in a loving and supportive home and never had to struggle with these issues, you have so much to be grateful for. But I am increasingly aware of how many people feel unwanted, to some degree.
Some churches make people feel unwanted by God
And the worst situation is when someone feels unwanted by God. Believe it or not, there are even some churches which reinforce this. attitude.
I have heard preachers keep their members in doubt as to whether God really loves them or values them. This usually happens when a church has a very legalistic approach to what it means to be a Christian, and if its members stray one inch outside what that church has decided upon as appropriate behavior, they are told God no longer loves them.
[God] wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:4 NIV
Which implies it is God’s will that everyone be in heaven.
And Job makes it clear that if God wants something, He does it.
But He is unique, and who can make Him change?
And whatever His soul desires, that He does. Job 23:13 NKJV
You are valued by God
So, no person or organization, no pastor or church, with their man-made theology or misinterpretation of the Bible, has the ability or authority to decide who God “wants” in the kingdom of heaven.
I am here to tell you that God does still love you, no matte what mistakes you have made, how others think of you, or what others have done to you.
So, if you, or someone you know, feels unwanted, either by friends and family, by the church, or even by God, is there a way to heal this?
Yes, there is. And the more I’ve worked and prayed with people who have felt unwanted, I’ve realized the only real solution is a spiritual one. You just can’t find freedom without God’s help.
Spiritual solutions when you feel unwanted
So, let’s talk about a few ideas that can be helpful in casting out this spirit of feeling unwanted.
Instead of talking about where to start this healing process, I’m going to begin by talking about the end result, which is freedom from the deeply held belief that you are unwanted. I’m starting with the fact, that at some point, you will find your freedom and be healed.
It’s important to accept this as possible, and in fact, inevitable, just as inevitable as the sun coming up each day.
There’s nothing you can do to stop the sun from rising in the morning. There’s nothing you can do to keep God from revealing to you how dearly loved and wanted you are in His kingdom of heaven.
Now, if you’re struggling with even a small degree of unworthiness or feeling unloved and unwanted, you may be thinking right now: James, how can you be so sure that I’ll be healed of feeling unwanted? I’ve been praying about it for years and I still carry around this terrible burden of not being wanted by my parents and never being good enough.
Well, the reason I’m so confident you will find freedom from this burden is because of God’s promise in the book of Revelation. This applies to so many things.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. Revelation 21:4 NLT
This is a promise of what God does in the new heaven and new earth mentioned in Revelation.
Unfortunately, we have been taught, and we are convinced, that this new heaven and new earth are somewhere way off in the future after we die.
But Jesus said from the very beginning of his ministry that
the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17 NKJV
He also makes the point later in his ministry,
For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21 NKJV
Heaven is the answer when you feel unwanted
Because the kingdom of heaven is at hand and within you, the promise of no more tears or death, pain or sorrow talked about in Revelation 21:4 (which I just mentioned), is already here and within you. God has not only guaranteed your victory over these things, but has already established it. And this includes freedom from feeling unwanted.
Imagine how you will feel when all these tears and emotional pain from the past are gone, and the feeling that you were unwanted has no more hold on you.
There’s a sublime beauty in the moment you begin to realize the past does not define you. Bad things may have happened to you. But they are not part of you. You may have made bad decisions, on purpose or accidentally. But they are part of who you are. Only God defines who and what you are.
I did a whole podcast episode on this: Episode 135: Your Past Does not Define You
How does God define us?
It’s really quite simple.
Paul puts it this way in
Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” [Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 20:34, 41] And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18 NIV
And in Galatians,
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26-28 NLT
That’s the simplicity of it. You are the child of God, not the label you or the world has put on you.
How do you see yourself?
Now I realize those words are easy to say, You are the child of God. And they can come across like just words with no real depth behind them. But they are still true. You are the child of God.
As long as you see yourself as a victim of someone not loving you or not wanting you, you will never find healing.
Yes, people may have treated you that way. And you may have seen, or still see yourself this way. But at some point, and how about right this moment, you can change the way you see yourself.
Again, this may just sound like hollow words, but stay with me.
How do you change the way you see yourself? Well, you can’t do it just by sheer human will power, or by trying to convince yourself you are a good person.
What perspective are you looking from?
The only way to change the way you see yourself is to change the perspective you look at yourself from.
And what is that supposed to mean?
Well, if you’re looking at yourself from the perspective of what has happened to you here on earth, that you are someone who has been mistreated, unloved, and unwanted, you’ll have a very hard time letting go of the way you identify yourself, and it will be hard to change.
But if you look at yourself from the perspective of what’s true about you in heaven right now, remember, Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is at hand and within you, you begin to see more clearly that none of those things that happened to you, none of the things people said about you, can ever get into heaven. They have never touched your heavenly identity.
That’s why Paul could say, “you are all the children of God.” Galatians 3:26
We are not the children of circumstance, not the children of the world, not the children of mistakes. You are the child of God.
You are a child of light
You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:5 NIV
In the kingdom of heaven, there is no darkness. All is light. On earth, there is a constant shift between light and darkness.
But the more you can see yourself as a citizen of heaven, right now, where there is no darkness, and no one is unwanted, the more you’ll find freedom from the serpent’s lie that you are unwanted.
The devil’s lie about you
And here’s a point that’s crucial to finding your freedom. The serpent, the devil, or Satan, the accuser – whatever name you prefer – is the source of this lie that you are unwanted. He whispers it into your thinking, but he cannot make it true.
The devil is actually trying to project onto you his own status. It is the devil who is not wanted, or allowed, in heaven. And he attempts to convince you that what is true about him is true about you. He tries to get you to identify with his nature and circumstances. But what comes from the devil is always a lie.
Jesus calls out the devil plain and simple, when he says
He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 NIV
The next time you hear yourself say or think, “I am unwanted. Nobody loves me,” that’s actually the serpent whispering to you. It’s the devil talking, not you. T urn that lie back on him.
You can say something like, “You’re right Satan. You are unwanted. You are unloved. You have no place in the kingdom of heaven and your lies have no place in me. Be gone from me.”
When you feel unwanted, find help
There are lots of other things that can be helpful along the way to overcoming the feeling you are unwanted. Being a part of a supportive community can be a big help in this process, as well deep, contemplative prayer and Bible study. Pray for yourself and ask others to pray for you.
If you have dealt with this issue, I’d love to hear what has helped you find freedom.
When you feel unwanted, forgive
Another important part of the healing process, and leaving behind the feeling that you are unwanted, is forgiveness.
But if someone has constantly told you that you were an unwanted child, it may not be so easy to forgive them. Forgiveness is sometimes very hard and takes many swings of the axe to cut down the tree of resentment and bitterness.
When Jesus said we need to forgive 70 x 7, he knew what he was talking about. I know from experience that it takes forgiving someone over and over for what they have done to me before I find complete freedom.
If you’d like to hear a more in-depth discussion of forgiveness, what it is and how to forgive someone, I encourage you to listen to Episode 18, Forgiving 70 x 7: How I Forgave My 8th Grade Gym Teacher.
Now from the title, it’s obvious that particular situation was not as serious as someone being told by a parent they are unwanted, but the path to forgiveness is the same, whatever the circumstances.
So I encourage you to forgive whoever has told you you are unwanted.
How God sees you
Let’s come back to what is true about you in the kingdom of heaven, what is true about the way God sees you.
Ask yourself, “What is true about me in the kingdom of heaven right now, where there is no more pain, sorrow, or tears?”
Or better yet, ask God, “God, what is true about me in Your kingdom? How do You see me in Your kingdom right now?”
This is actually a great question to ask God under any circumstance or any challenge you’re facing. And even when you’re not praying about a particular problem, but just wanting to get a better understanding of your relationship to God, this is a really helpful thing to do.
When you ask God this question in sincere prayer, be ready for an answer. And be prepared for God to tell you things about yourself that may, at first, seem too wonderful to be true.
When you feel unwanted, write a letter to God
I would also encourage you to write down this question on a piece of paper, or better yet, in a journal, as if you’re writing a letter to God. Remember that, writing a letter to someone? When you wrote a letter to a friend, you expected an answer.
When you ask God a question, you can expect an answer. I have been writing these kinds of questions in my journal for over 40 years. It’s really a humbling experience to go back and read the answers God has given me over the years to my questions. If I hadn’t written them all down, I would never have remembered most of them.
And that’s a key point. Write down your questions. But also write down God’s answers. Sometimes when I’m feeling uninspired, lonely and rejected, or just down in the dumps, I’ll read something from one of these old journals, there are about seven or eight of them now. I see the things God has told me about myself over the years, how He loves me, how He has guided me, how He has rebuked me, how He has blessed me.
And this always brings me back to the realization that God created me for a reason. I was not an accident that God didn’t intend to create but somehow I showed up anyway.
You are not a mistake
This is true for you as well. You are not a mistake. God created you on purpose for a purpose. God created you because He wanted you to be His child. And you are.
That doesn’t mean everyone on earth sees this. But God does and so you can too.
God sees you. God knows you. God values you. God loves you. You are a treasured member of His family. And He loves you just as much as He loves everyone else.
In fact, if you want to really know how God feels about you, check out
For the LORD your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
I love that verse. It is so comforting.
Just think about this for a minute. God delights in you with gladness. He is rejoicing over you with joyful songs this very moment. It’s not because of what you have done or not done, right or wrong. It’s simply because you are God’s dear child, always wanted and loved by Him.
Photo credit: Sasha Freemind
James Early, the Jesus Mindset Coach, is a Bible teacher, speaker, and podcaster. He conducts Bible workshops online and in person. His focus is on getting back to the original Christianity of Jesus by embracing the mindset of Christ in daily life. Contact him here.
1 Timothy 2:4 NIV
4 [God] wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Job 23:13 NKJV
13 But He is unique, and who can make Him change?
And whatever His soul desires, that He does.
Revelation 21:4 NLT
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.
Matthew 4:17 NKJV
17 the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Luke 17:21 NKJV
21 For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
2 Corinthians 6:17, 18 NIV
17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” [Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 20:34, 41] 18 And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
Galatians 3:26-28 NLT
26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.
28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:5 NIV
5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.
John 8:44 NIV
44 He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
17 For the LORD your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.