I am a freelance writer, so editors have said “no thanks” to plenty of my ideas. I’ve also experienced rejection as a speaker. I was once told my voice on a tape was painful to hear. And I’ve experienced rejection when tension developed over my administrative role as a woman in ministry. So what have I learned from all that?
1. You learn the world doesn’t end when you are rejected. Life goes on. Yes, I’m disappointed. Yes, I’m discouraged. But if I’m doing what I feel God calls me to do, I persevere, because perseverance is a vitamin for the soul. “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith . . . perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7)
2. You learn to seek only God’s approval rather than the approval of others. If God closes a door, he opens a window. If one magazine doesn’t want my work, perhaps another will. If I may not administrate, I may write or teach or whatever opportunity opens when I look around. God is not limited in how he uses our skills and spiritual gifts. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Colossians 3:23)
3. You learn you are not the center of the universe. Perhaps you’ve come to believe you are indispensable. Guess again. Any one of us can be replaced in a heartbeat. Rejection is very humbling, but humility is a grace that enhances your beauty in God’s eyes. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10)
4. You learn rejection leads to blessing. My writing, speaking and serving has been strengthened as I’ve looked for kernels of truth in input from critics. Perhaps that job you lost will lead to a better job. Perhaps that relationship that ended opens your heart to a new and better relationship. “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of them that love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
5. You learn to rely on God rather than people, jobs and/or circumstances. Too often we forget about God as we go about our daily lives. We think we’re in charge. We make plans and schedule events. But then a rejection wreaks havoc in our lives. Suddenly we turn to God. And we find he’s been waiting for us. We find he is faithful—even in this. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
So if you have experienced rejection (and if you haven’t, you will), keep these thoughts in mind as you move forward with life in spite of it. And life will get better in spite of it—maybe even because of it.
Have a blessed May. If you receive this blog by e-mail, just click on the link at the bottom to leave a comment about something you’ve learned from rejection. I’d love to add to my list. And feel free to share this post if you know someone who needs a word of encouragement.
Upcoming Engagements (all except last one are Friends of the Heart Mother’s Day events):
May 7, 10 a.m. – Duncannon Church of God
May 7, 6 p.m. – Ruhl United Methodist Church, Manheim
May 11, 6 p.m. – Trinity Lutheran, Valley View
May 14, 1:30 p.m. – Salem United Church of Christ, Elizabethville
May 14, 6 p.m. – St. Peters United Church of Christ, Berrysburg
May 15, 6 p.m. – Bethesda Evangelical Congregational, Reedsville
May 22, 8 and 10:30 a.m. – Shirley speaking at First UM, Millersburg