I’ve often heard religious leaders repeat the mantra “rejection is simply protection” or “rejection is redirection.”
Every time I hear these expressions, I am immediately reminded of a particular experience when such wise words took on a real meaning for me. Like the time I could not find the funds to cover my tuition at a prestigious private fine arts college in Miami where I aspired to study film. As a result, I ended up enrolling at a community college, transferring to a university (after four years) and graduating with a degree in journalism.
Perhaps that is not the best example since the school did not really reject me. It was my parents who rejected the school and the idea of paying $20,000 plus per year (that did not include books or equipment).
Still, it hurt me until I finally accepted that it was for the best. I saved a lot of money attending a public institution and I learned that I wasn’t as passionate about writing and producing film like I thought I was. I was really attracted to the idea of becoming a successful film writer in Hollywood.
I didn’t deal with much rejection after that. In my former years, things came easy. Whenever I applied to a school, I was accepted. Whenever I applied to a job, I was hired. Whenever I applied for a credit card, I was approved. Easy, peasy.
But these days, things are different. Jobs are competitive, schools are selective, credit cards are manipulative (you have to be very careful and discerning with those) and life is a tougher teacher when you become an adult.
Recently, I applied to several jobs. I was called for interviews for three of them and moved on to the next steps. I prayed, mustered up as much confidence as I could and sold myself to the best of my ability. The hiring managers seemed impressed and assured me that they would be in contact in a week.
After several weeks went by, I had a gut feeling that I would not be hired by neither employers. I was right. I received one disappointing e-mail after another (all in one week): “Thank you for your interest with [insert company name here]. After careful consideration, you have not been selected.” I even received a letter from a school that I attended three years ago but took a break from. I had decided to re-enroll last month so that I could go back and finish the Master of Art program. However, when I tore open the letter, it read: “We regret to inform you that you have not been selected.” Ouch! That hurts! And those aforementioned mantras could offer no sense of relief or hope to me. I felt like I was down for the count.
After all, it was just a few years ago when my husband and I learned that the deal fell through on a house we were trying to purchase. Prior to that, we lost our unborn baby. Surely, rejection letters from a potential employer or school are mild in comparison, but nonetheless, they are some damaging triggers.
Hearing you have not been selected, chosen, picked, favored, etc. every day can remind you of experiences in the past when you felt like a failure, and ultimately take a toll on your confidence.
Thank God, He says otherwise: “But I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last” (John 15:16).
Did you catch that? God does not want to lead us to a high-paying job where we are likely to become reckless in our spending, arrogant, compromising, and miserable. At the end of our lives, none of that will contribute to our legacies and that’s what God wants to protect us from. Quite simply, He wants to give us a blessing that “brings wealth, without painful toil for it” (Proverbs 10:22).
In the grand scheme of rejection, God truly wants to redirect us to our purpose — that unique assignment that will bring glory to His name, allow us to make our mark on this world and outlive us for many generations to come.
We may not have been selected for that job position or degree program that would have enabled us to build our careers. But rest assured, we were created by a loving God who has written to us 66 letters of acceptance and promises to lead us to our purpose and fulfillment if we will just trust His route. The way of the world will get us lost anyway.