At first, it sucks. After an hour, it still sucks. Some time later, it gets better. Supposedly.
The sky swells as the sun abandons this side of the world, clouds block out the hope of stars. The cracked desert wonders why the rain never actually materializes. Even the moon seems hazy on the whys and why nots. You ponder the planets, the depth of the universe, and you feel a deeper sympathy for poor rejected Pluto. Rejection happens in space too, you say. Maybe you hide under the covers, letting the air grow heavy with your exhales. Sleep seems like the best solution, but your heavy eyelids aren’t enough to keep the gremlins of negativity from threading through your mind.
The initial thoughts spiral something like this: oh well, so that’s that, they didn’t like me, what do I care, I guess I do care, I could’ve done better, why did I say those things, maybe they are threatened by success, who am I kidding I’m not a success, what is success anyways, why does it matter, why can’t I stop thinking about this, why why why. Ice cream.
I’ve never experienced a tornado in real life, but I think my brain can relate to it after being rejected. It swirls through vortexes, around space and time until the wind dies down and everything I had previously settled has been disrupted.
Rejection is the disruption of what you thought you knew was good.
The good part is it means you can redefine what good is.
As a recent college graduate, rejection is something very common for myself and many of my peers. We spend hours upon hours looking and applying for jobs we aren’t even sure we want. But when we are told we can’t have that job, we believe we wanted it more. My most recent application took me through a month long process of a 15 page proofreading test, an initial interview, and a second two hour phone interview.
Needless to say, rejection hurts more when it has a longer build up.
Rejection is also a close relative to shame, that feeling of worthlessness keeping you from admitting the incident to others.
Personally, it helps me to analyze those feelings more, letting the logic mix with emotion into a dose of truth. Why is it hard to admit when someone rejects me? Probably because I don’t want to reveal that someone didn’t want me, as if giving life to my fears of worthlessness. This circles back to a problem I discussed in my last post though: letting others define my worth.
Would rejection be scary if I truly believed I was wanted and loved no matter what? Would it be hard to admit my rejection to others if I wasn’t afraid of others believing I was unworthy, which is a lie?
Somewhere in time we decided that rejection was always and only a bad thing. We also forgot that Christ came to redefine how we view rejection. His death and resurrection returned us to a perpetual state of un-rejection where we are accepted and loved by God.
With these things in mind, I can redefine rejection. If I believe the truth that I am loved and accepted by God, then what is being rejected is not my worth, but my false conceptions. I built an idea up in my mind as good, and the rejection of that idea simply means I need to redefine what I thought was good. Perhaps there is something even better out there for me, this good was not good enough.
Oh the possibilities! Rejection stops hurting when we look at it as a new opportunity, a chance to seek a greater good than what we previously hoped for. Redefine rejection by rejecting what you thought was good.
I don’t usually use The Message translation, but I love the way it clarifies the meaning of this verse:
“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:12-13)
It’s ok to hide under the covers for a little while, it humbles us into remembering we are human and gives us compassion for people and Pluto. But God’s mercies are new every morning – the sun didn’t really abandon you, it was just giving you time before it came back with it’s warm reminder of a new day.
When have you felt rejected?
How did it work out for good?