Friday, 07 December 2012 00:54

Overcoming Rejection

Written by  Candy Arrington
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Devon walked away from the list posted on the board outside the drama classroom. Once again, he’d been bypassed. Oh, he’d be in several crowd scenes, but he’d auditioned for a lead role in the play, and Samuel had gotten the part. Samuel always got the lead. “I don’t know why they even bother having auditions,” Devon muttered. “They cast the same people for the lead roles every time.”

Whether a disappointment over not being selected, a lost friendship, or a romantic breakup, we’ve all encountered some form of rejection. Being excluded is an awful feeling that can negatively shape our perspective on life, if we allow it to. But there are ways to move beyond rejection. We start by considering some key elements.

Acknowledge Feelings.When rejection comes, it hurts, and there is no use denying the emotions you feel—anger, frustration, sadness. In fact, denying these emotions makes it harder to overcome rejection and can cause bitterness. If you find yourself constantly complaining to others about the fact that you weren’t selected, about a person who hurt you, or the unfairness of life, you probably need to spend some time in prayer. Tell God how you feel, why you are angry, and how much you dislike what happened.

Jesus understands the hurt associated with rejection because he was rejected. (Isaiah 53:3) Then ask Him to help you move beyond the painful feelings. Focus on the blessings in your life. Rejection doesn’t mean you will never have other opportunities, but if you allow yourself to obsess about what happened and rehearse angry things you wish you could say, you risk becoming the kind of toxic person no one wants to be around.


Admit Limitations.It’s hard to acknowledge we have weaknesses, but we all do. First Corinthians 12 reminds us we have different gifts and talents. We are individual members that combine to form a unit and make up the Body of Christ. If we could do everything well, we wouldn’t need each other or God, and realizing we have limitations keeps us humble. God wants us to depend on each other and on Him. We were not designed to know it all and do it all, although the world often makes us feel that should be our goal.


Realize Others are Qualified. After Jesus’ death, his followers returned to Jerusalem and gathered in an upper room. Peter announced they needed to replace Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus and later died. Justus and Matthias were nominated. The disciples prayed for direction, cast lots (a practice that was common at the time), and Matthias was selected to become one of the twelve apostles. (Acts 1:12-26)

I’ve often wondered how Justus felt. Surely he was disappointed, perhaps even angry, but scripture doesn’t provide an account of his response. I believe he responded in a manner characteristic of those who were part of the early church, that he understood the importance of unity and oneness for the sake of the common good. It takes a level of maturity to think this way.

Just because others are selected doesn’t mean the ones not chosen aren’t worthy. God may give you a job, position, or ability that is less visible, but is suited for your personality and His kingdom. People connect with different personality types and your quiet example may have more impact on others than those in the spotlight. You may have the opportunity to minister more to one person than someone who stands before a crowd. But it’s really difficult to rejoice with someone else’s successes, especially when that person isn’t a Christian. It just doesn’t seem fair, does it? But Psalm 37:7 says, “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.”


Anticipate Ego. It’s part of human nature to crave attention, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look beyond what you want to have happen and think you deserve. God may allow certain events in your life to mold you spiritually or cultivate humility. In this sense, humility doesn’t mean humiliation. God doesn’t want you to feel worthless, but rather have a proper perspective on self.

My grandmother used to warn, “Don’t get the big head.” For years I didn’t understand what she meant, but later, I realized her warning was against thinking you were too important. Romans 12:3 (NLT) cautions us not to think more highly of ourselves than we should, but to honestly evaluate our motives. Ego is a big problem for most of us because we like the feelings recognition and fame produce. But any time we’re more focused on ourselves than on others or God we’re in the perfect position for Satan to use us. Being aware of the power of ego helps us fight against the devil’s schemes.


View Rejection Through a Wide Lens.At some point, everyone experiences rejection. But you don’t have to allow it to shape your self-worth and determine how you act and react from now on. Although they feel major at the time, rejections are just a blip on the radar screen of your life. Try to have a broad overview, realizing there are high and low points in everyone’s life and trust that God will work things out for your good if you are patient and focused on Him. Don’t mark yourself as a failure and give half effort because you think it doesn’t matter or you’ll never be chosen. Continue to do everything to the best of your ability for an audience of One—God.


Candy Arrington is a contributing writer.

Last modified on Friday, 07 December 2012 00:57
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