I was not on it.
I read each name again, hoping I had casually glanced over my own name, knowing I hadn’t. Not me. I would not be on the B-team cheerleading squad this year. I pasted a plastic smile on my face to cover the rejection I felt and tried to make myself as small as possible. I maneuvered my way back out of the crowd eager to make a quick get-away. I jogged back to the car, pulled open the long heavy door, and slinked into the seat.
“Did you make it?” Those were the only words my brother uttered the entire trip there and back. “No.” My face spoke more than I was willing to say. He cranked up the music, peeled out of the parking lot and said with his car what his words could not.
I was dejected. Rejected. Unwanted. It wasn’t the first, and it wasn’t the last. Rejection happens daily. In the closet of fears, rejection is one of the biggest. It gives no thought of race, sex, religion, or political affiliation. We are all rejected at some time or another. If it is inevitable, why then does it cut us to the bone? How should Christians feel when rejected? Is it okay to be sad if what we wished for was not God’s will anyway?
How should Christians feel when they are rejected?
Let’s start by answering the first question. How should Christians feel when they are rejected? However they want. When rejection of any sort comes my way, I feel sad. Very sad. Not everyone handles rejection the same way, so perhaps dismissal elicits another emotion from you.
Is it okay to be sad if what we wished for was not God’s will anyway?
Yes. Let me explain by telling you a story about my children. One night my daughter wanted a box of raisins. I asked her to get her brother one, as well. A few minutes later she returned with the raisins and tossed a box to her brother – right in his eye. My son came crying to me, rubbing his now red eye with my daughter trailing behind. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. I’m sorry, Colin,” my daughter offered her sheepish apology. “That’s okay,” my son muttered between snuffles and tears.
You see, he didn’t say he was not in pain. He was saying it was okay that it happened. He was acknowledging he knew she didn’t mean to hurt him. But he was still crying. He was hurt. When God says no or not this way, and it comes in the form of rejection, it’s okay to feel sad. Being sad or mad or whatever feeling that comes with rejection doesn’t mean that we are not accepting God’s plan for us. It just means that, like Colin, we are still hurting a little bit. We are human. Hurting when you’ve been rejected or dismissed is natural. Take some time to be sad, and then move on.
My uncle once told me that rejection elicits one four-letter word. I very carefully asked which one. “Next” he responded with a smile. What a great thought. Next. After you’ve had some time to accept the news, adopt the “next” attitude and focus on what you’ll do in the time that follows.
The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone. (Psalm 118:11 NIV)
Christ was rejected, yet He became the capstone. One definition of capstone is a building material consisting of a piece of rock hewn in a definite shape for a special purpose. Perhaps you were rejected as a simple building brick because God was defining you for a special purpose instead.
Have you been rejected, discarded, or cast-off? It’s okay to be a little depressed. Give yourself permission, but don’t stay there. Embrace where you are and give a little shout, “Next.” The next place God takes you might just be beyond anything you could imagine.
**Thank you for all of the birthday wishes for my grandmother. She is loving them. It’s not too late, if you’d like to send her well wishes scroll down to the next post and leave a comment. I’ll be sure she hears them.