Rejection wounds, kills dreams, and stifles hope. It tells us things about ourselves, and we let it define us rather than refine us. At times it’s voice seems louder than God’s, it’s power greater than his, and it’s sword is used to prevent us from stepping into our identity and purpose in Christ.
But can I redeem rejection by shifting my perspective? My formative years were marked by rejection. My twenties were spent avoiding it. My thirties were dedicated to healing from rejection. And this decade? This decade is filled with doing rejected well.
Here me, I don’t go looking for rejection. I don’t set out to sabotage relationships or opportunities. I don’t create situations that are conducive to rejection. I’m not a pot-stirrer, a back-biter, or a fair-weather friend. But rejection happens.
It happens because we’re not everyone’s sauce. It happens because someone else’s pain spills into everything they say and do. It happens because we’re not of this world. The world hated Jesus so why do we expect the world to love us? The religious rejected Jesus, and Satan tried to tempt Jesus to reject God’s purpose for him. Rejection is part of this world, and part of the Christian’s life.
Art is an expression of the person deep within, and rejection can be the stifler that keeps this art from being presented to God and to the world. It’s a brave day when the writer hits publish on a blog post. And then, the writer sits, and bites her nails while waiting for someone, somewhere, to hit that like button, post a comment, or share. But what happens when that doesn’t happen? Do you perceive it to be rejection?
Or there’s the writer who wants to pursue traditional publication. So off to a conference to find an agent she goes, armed with a book proposal, ideas, and the bravest face she can muster. And then doors open and a miracle occurs and she gets to talk to a real-life, in the flesh, editor from a publisher’s house who gives her a list of agents to contact.
She has a choice. She can set those names aside, and keep the experience as a sweet memory. Or she can risk rejection. And so she does. She queries. And then she waits. And waits. Until the day replies show up in her inbox. Her hands shake as she opens it, but hope dies as she reads the words: not popular. not ready. go viral, it’s easy.
Rejection hurts. It strikes our hopes, our wishes, and our dreams. It also refines, and in the refining, God redeems it.
Rejection reveals motives. We tend towards selfishness. Selfish ambition has our best in mind. It has a “what’s in it for me, look at me, watch me increase” mentality. Godly ambition roots for God, does what is necessary to make God known, even if that means writing in obscurity. And as we experience rejection, our motives are redeemed and refined. Rejection causes us to be honest with ourselves about our sin. Although we lean towards selfish ambition, God redeems our motives with each rejection we receive.
Rejection builds compassion for others. Often this Christian life is a two steps forward one step back kind of life. It’s not always linear, but is circular as it spirals onward. So it is with the writing life. Rejection builds compassion towards one another and keeps an “us” mentality rather than an “I” mentality. God has called us to use words as the means to share the Gospel and when one of us hurts, we should hurt too. And when one of us celebrates, we should party too. Let’s let God use rejection to redeem our compassion for one another.
Rejection humbles us. Pride disguises itself in false humility and insecurity. It’s easy to say that we’re writing for Christ while at the same time craving recognition for ourselves. Our hearts can be deceived into believing we’re functioning in Christ’s strength, but it’s really our strength and abilities. Sometimes we have hidden pride that only rejection can flush out. Pride is sneaky, insidious, and snarky. God uses rejection to redeem a prideful heart.
Learn to separate your work from rejection. Rejection can dash hopes, but God is our hope. Is the call of God contingent on your acceptance of an agent or publisher? No. Is your dream of writing life-changing content wrong? No. Is rejection part of the journey. Yes.
Do the work of writing. Submit your work and submit to God. Seek him. Follow him through the next open door. Be faithful in the journey. So often we want the destination when we really need the journey. Rejection is one part of the journey. Let God redeem your rejection. Let it reveal your motives, build compassion, and humble you. In the hands of a faithful God, rejection is redeemable. Let it be a catalyst for your spiritual growth. Your journey is worth it.
Jessica Van Roekel is a woman on the journey to wholeness through brokenness. She believes that through Christ our personal histories don’t have to define our present or determine our future. Her greatest desire is to see people live this ‘God-life’ with all the power and grace that God provides. Jessica lives in a rural community with her husband and four children. She leads worship on Sundays, but seeks to be a worshiper every day. You can connect with her at www.welcomegrace.com and www.facebook.com/yourJessicaVanRoekel