Rejection on the Road to Beautiful

“You’re not good enough.”

Deciding how we allow those words to hit our ears, our hearts and our minds is one of the biggest lessons we must learn as we journey through life.

We hear or feel the weight of those words all the time.  And the reality is, those words are true. We are not good enough.  

Maybe we aren’t the best candidate for the job. There is someone more qualified or more educated than us.

Maybe we didn’t make that sports team because our skills and ability didn’t impress the coach like the other kids who did receive a spot on the team.

Maybe he doesn’t want to date you because you’re just not his type. You’re not what he’s looking for in a girlfriend.

Maybe you don’t get invited to the birthday sleep over because the rest of the girls in the group have decided that you’re just not cool enough.

Rejection, regardless of whether it’s merited or not, hurts.

Last week, my son tried out for his middle school soccer team for the second year in a row.  He got cut in the final round of cuts for the second year in a row. 49 boys tried out and only 19 made the team. I know my son must now navigate through those unspoken words swirling around in his brain and heart.

You weren’t good enough to be chosen.

Ugh. Just writing those words makes my heart sad. I, like all of humanity, have had to face rejection on many occasions in life.

If we’re not careful we can make the mistake of tying our worth as a human being to these acceptances or rejections we experience in life.

If we’re not careful we can make the mistake of thinking our identity and our value is determined by these external approvals or rejections.

Ultimately, our worth comes from our Creator who says, I have loved you since before time with an everlasting love. I have chosen you. You are accepted and pre-approved by Me.  Here and here alone is where your identity rests…beloved sons and daughters of the most High King.

You’re not good enough.  And yet, those words can sting.

I’ll say it again: Deciding how we allow those words to hit our ears, our hearts and our minds is one of the biggest lessons we must learn as we journey through life.  

Sean is already on a league team and will be playing plenty of soccer this Spring but he was still disappointed he didn’t get selected to play on the school team. I understand. We all love to be picked. It’s a good feeling to be chosen.

These were some of the words my husband said to our son after his name was not on this year’s soccer roster. “I know that making the school team was something you wanted and I know you’re disappointed…but just make this a part of your story.”  

The more I think about those words of encouragement, the more I love them.

There are more pages to turn, more sentences to be written. This is not where the story ends. 

The stories we are living are bigger than one rejection letter or one acceptance speech.  

What’s fascinating to me is that, yes, it’s these moments that make up a life (a story) but life is much bigger than a single moment.

Pain, suffering, rejection will always be a part of the story here on earth, it’s just not the whole story.  

This is what I love so much about the folks we read about in scripture. We find rejection threading itself through so many of the characters. And yet, we also see how rejection isn’t how their stories end.

I think about the life of Joseph. Talk about some serious rejections and bad breaks. He was thrown into a pit and then sold into slavery by his own brothers. Yet, that moment of rejection (along with others) was actually the catalyst putting him on the path he needed to be on.

I think about the prostitute cleaning Jesus feet with her own “I can’t thank you enough” tears. The Pharisees, like the rest of the world, shouted she’s not good enough.  But Jesus.  

I think of the prostitute dragged out into the city streets. Accusations flying and fingers pointing. We reject her…she is not good enough!   But Jesus.

I think of how Jesus came to this earth to walk the road of rejection. You’re not the King we’re looking for. You don’t look the part…you’re not good enough to be our King. But the story did not end there!

All these accounts?  They are moments in a bigger, more beautiful story.  

In Christ, rejection doesn’t get to write the final chapter in our stories. In Christ, rejection can be used to bring us to where we needed to be all along…on the road to redemption. 

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. 14 Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity.” Col 3:12-14

This Jesus is the stone rejected by you builders, which has become the cornerstone. Act 4:11

 

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