Just reading it conjures up past feelings, doesn’t it? We think of when we didn’t get into our first choice school. Or maybe it’s that job you wanted but it went to someone else. Could be the time you loved someone and they decided you weren’t it for them.
Whatever it is, rejection SUCKS. I know there are better words, but let’s be honest, it totally sucks. Because even if the person is explaining why you’re good too, the message is always clear: but you aren’t good enough.
That’s what it comes down to, I think. It’s one thing to know something is out of your league, like my dreams to marry Zac Efron and work a high-profile marketing job. Sounds nice, but I know I couldn’t hang in either scenario. Because of this, I don’t think you can really feel rejection because you don’t have hope in the first place.
But when you want something, and feel like it’s attainable, you experience hope that maybe this could be your life. Maybe this is your path. Maybe everything is suddenly clear.
There’s a brief moment where we feel good enough. Small encouragements slowly build us up and we feel better. We feel confident. We feel ready. The voice of self-doubt quiets down because we’re so filled up with what we can do, we forgot to listen to the lies of what we can’t.
And then it happens. We learn we actually aren’t good enough.
Employers will say you were a strong candidate, but they found someone else who better aligned with their organization. Schools will let you know your application was impressive, but they are passing on you. People will say all sorts of things, but the summary is always I don’t choose you.
It’s easy at this point for a cloud to form, kind of like in a cartoon where someone is sad and it’s raining on them. Except in this metaphorical example, the cloud is watering your seeds of self-doubt until they grow and overtake all the positive energy you’d been enjoying.
“See, they didn’t choose you because you actually aren’t good enough. Told you.”
This is on my mind because recently, it happened to me. I did all the right things, received the right responses, and thought I saw the end of the story. Only, the call came, I was applauded, but not picked. Immediately the flood began, seeping into other areas of my life.
I didn’t feel good about anything. I cancelled another opportunity because I wasn’t qualified so why try? I started doubting personal relationships because why could that person actually be interested in me? Maybe, the voice tells me, I need to just settle for my life.
Who would choose me, anyway?
This is the point where my faith and humanity collide, because at my core I know I’m chosen. In Ephesians 1:4 it says “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ.” What a powerful statement. It was always God’s plan to love and choose me. He knew, before creation, who I would be and what I would do, and He loved me anyway.
I know that these earthly disappointments are nothing compared to the goodness of God; however, knowledge doesn’t always extend into feelings.
It’s kind of like anxiety. I can tell my brain logically there isn’t a volcano in Buffalo, but my anxiety is like “lol we don’t care LET’S PANIC.” I can remember that I am deeply loved, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I can just eliminate the bad feelings.
I think that’s important to remember though. I can live in the truth and still experience the human emotions. Just like I can accept that God’s plan is different than mine and still mourn for the life I wanted.
Some people will probably disagree and quote scripture I don’t know telling me I should never experience a negative emotion when I have the joy of salvation, and maybe they’re right. Personally, though, I believe in a Savior who came and experienced all of humanity and definitely knows a thing or two about rejection.
Especially when you think about Jesus in Gethsemane. He was in agony praying and asking God to not make Him go through with the crucifixion. He knew the rejection He was about to face and He didn’t want it. He wasn’t smiling and cheery despite His circumstances, yet He followed and trusted His father.
If that’s the example Jesus set, why can’t I do the same?
They key is, of course, that I can’t stay in the garden crying. At some point, I need to get up and walk toward what’s next. Lean on God to fully reaffirm my value and not let one company ruin my entire life.
This week, I am disappointed, which is okay. A line from one of my favorite worship songs is “Friday’s disappointment is Sunday’s empty tomb,” meaning right now I don’t know what’s happening, but God’s plan is bigger than I can imagine. So I will walk in that instead of my own sorrow.
Rejection will come for us all, probably our whole lives. Be sad when you need to be sad, but find your worth in something permanent. The successes of the world are fleeting, but being chosen and loved by God is eternal. Remember (and I preach to myself), I am not worthy of His selection and yet He would choose me every. Single. Time.