It's Not Me, It's You

“Well, how’d you do?” His mom didn’t really need to hear his answer. His face gave the test results, no driver’s license for him today. Apparently, snapchatting while taking your driving test is an automatic fail.

As everyone knows, nothing about rejection is funny. It’s not funny to be rejected by a potential employer. There’s nothing humorous when rejected by a lover. Rejection from a medical school admissions department will not make you laugh. All seats saved in the school cafeteria is only funny to those already sitting in the seats. Rejection hurts. Rejection confuses. Rejection paralyzes. Rejection has no sympathy. Rejection takes no prisoners. Rejection embitters. Rejection endangers. Occasionally, rejection proves helpful.

Why Didn’t She Ask Me?

They’d been friends since tea party days. Most Thursdays their moms enjoyed good coffee, and the girls went downstairs to a world of dreams and fantasies. The dolls took their seats, and the girls poured them imaginary tea into cups perfectly resting on plastic saucers. Like their moms upstairs, they laughed and told stories only true in the world of make believe.

When the college years came, the young women went separate ways making promises of friendship they’d find difficult to keep. In high school they talked about their wedding days and the part each would have in the others, but when the day came for her lifelong friend to marry, she shared nothing. She wasn’t part of the bridal party. In fact, she wasn’t even invited to attend. Sure, they weren’t as close as they were when they were children, but had she forgotten their love for each other so that even a simple invitation was not extended?

I Was Passed Over

Seventeen years he’d given to the company, working for and with the same boss year after year. He worked hard, grew in his capacity, and took on more responsibility without recognition or increased pay. He cleaned up the messes others made, helped those new to the workgroup, and anticipated problems and solved them so his boss wouldn’t have to. His loyalty was unquestioned and his ethic beyond reproach.

For some time he knew change was on the horizon. His boss was moving on to a new opportunity and that meant the door was open to move up. Nobody knew the department and the product better than he did. While not a slam dunk, he was sure his chances were pretty good to take the career step. But there are no guarantees in business. He didn’t get the promotion. In fact, he didn’t even get an interview. Apparently, upper management already had their candidate, someone with an MBA that was going to do something to “bring a paradigm shift in line with the recent SWOT analysis delivering a change in culture that would prove more customer focused and results oriented.”


How to Handle Rejection

We do need to face the truth that not all rejection is bad.

Rejection can be a prompt to change where change is right and necessary. 2+2 does not equal 5. The sooner you accept the rejection of your answer, the better it will be for you. Not qualified is not an attack on your person. It can be a simple statement of fact. How can you become what’s needed to meet the qualification? Where rejection causes positive change in your work ethic, your character, or your relationships, embrace the rejection as a difficult but beneficial necessity in your life.

It’s not always possible to acquire what’s needed to overcome the rejection. If that’s reality, you will need to adjust your desires. As a child of God, you can trust him to walk with you through the painful reality or to grant you grace in your pursuit of the qualifications. The psalmist wrote, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me (27:10).”

Can your experience of rejection inspire your worship of our Lord?

To us Jesus is the most beautiful human being, but he wasn’t and isn’t to everyone. Isaiah 53 says, “He is despised and rejected by men.” To make matters much worse, our Lord cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Jesus Christ understands our rejection. He is all too familiar with our grief (Isaiah 53:3). He knows what it feels like to be passed over, humiliated, discarded, rejected.

His rejection was not for lack of qualifications or petty preferences. His rejection was because of the failed qualifications of others. His rejection was because of me and because of you. Can you see the wonder of Jesus’s love for you in the deep hurt of your rejection? Could his wounds bring healing to yours?

In the pain of your rejection, remember the words of Jesus, “Those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them (John 6:37).”

Rejection is the brutal experience of every human being. We cannot protect our children from it. We cannot execute a plan that always will deflect rejection. Rejection is part of this world, but rejection is not part of the world of Jesus for those who are his.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).

As always I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing