On Tuesday nights, my small group and I have been studying Overcoming Fear. Each week, we focus on a different type of fear. Last Tuesday was the fear of rejection. We had a great discussion, but who knew it would be so timely? The next day, I received not one, but two rejection notices from publishers!
And I'm not alone! Last week, a friend in our group received a rejection notice from a job she applied for. And another friend from this summer's writers conference received 3 rejection notices for her work. Must be rejection season!
Then, this week unbelievably, my inbox contained a devotion about rejection (from Proverbs 31 ministry) AND an email article for writers called "Rejecting Rejection". If you have been dealing with rejection, click on the links to be encouraged. God's timing always amazes me. How could He who keeps the entire universe spinning in perfection be concerned with our tiny wounded hearts?
But I submit to you that there is a valuable lesson to be learned from rejection. Jesus Himself was rejected (Isaiah 53:3). He was perfect, and even He was rejected. Can we expect anything different? Being rejected, He asked the Father to forgive them. When we are rejected, we are given an opportunity to develop Christlikeness, an opportunity that we would not have were it not for the rejection we received.
For most of my life, I lived in fear and never stepped through doors that the Lord placed before me. This year, I walked through the doors, even though it meant risking rejection. Playing it safe had kept me from moving forward. So even though I was rejected, I believe I was victorious just because I tried!
While I am not embracing rejection, I am not rejecting it either. I am determined to use it wisely. I will not harden my heart. I will seek to improve what needs improvement. And I will trust that in God's time, His plan will be accomplished. His plan, not mine! James tells us to consider it pure joy whenever you face trials ... because the testing of your faith develops perseverance ... so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (Jms 1:2-4) I'm not quite at the "joy" stage, but I am anticipating the benefits that He will bring to pass.
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
"For the LORD will not reject His people;
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3: 5-6
He will never forsake his inheritance."