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The R Word

The R Word

by Jessica Folsom

I’m a very stubborn person. I only need a goal to accomplish and people to get out of my way. While cautious peers nervously wait and pray for open doors, all I need is a small open window and someone to give me a leg up to reach it. However, fewer things sap my spirit quite like the R word: Rejection.

There, I said it. All too often, I’ll come across an idea only to allow the fear of rejection call the shots. The hypothetical “what ifs” swirl in my head as I’m transported back to the self-esteem of a seventh grader. Surely, I’m not the only one who struggles with this. We worry over too many uncontrollable variables and find ourselves at an identity crisis if the answer to our attempt is “no.”

So let me say it repeatedly: “No, No, NO!”

Did you die? Did your heart stop beating, because you just read a negative word on a screen? I didn’t think so. In my experience, God uses rejection as a means to guide. Here’s how:

Rejection as PROTECTION: If we’re being honest, success may be the absolute worst thing that could happen to us. It can wreak havoc on our pride, causing us to become more enamored with ourselves instead of Christ working through us. It could also be God saving us from tremendous heartache we can’t comprehend due to our lack of infinite knowledge in all situations. God’s “no” isn’t a slap on the wrist. Sometimes it’s a huge rescue from ourselves.

Rejection to DEFINE IDENTITY: Often, it’s easy to get caught up in producing our “next big idea.” When an idea gets canned, it’s easy to become depressed as a reaction to a deflated dream. Rejection shocks us into remembrance that it’s not our job to impress strangers. Rather, we’re to rest in the foundation of relationship with the Creator who knows and sees all.

Rejection to ALTER OUR COURSE: While we may think we’re making waves on the right path, God sometimes has different plans. He uses rejection as a means to alter our course by forcing us to redefine our path. Though our path may seem good, God’s rejection and redirection launch us from good to best (though it may take time for us to see).

Rejection to LIMIT FEELING OVERWHELMED: It’s always nice to have options, but with too many options comes the tidal wave of being overwhelmed by having to make a choice. What criteria should I use in making this decision? Am I going to regret this choice later? What are the consequences attached to my selection? When overwhelmed with a decision, I pray for God to close doors. It’s the closed doors that seem to make my future easier to navigate. Fewer choices equal fewer options to fret.

Though we may fear to hear the word NO it may be God’s invitation to a greater YES. Yes to an adventure we’d never have the guts to pray ourselves. The next time you’re rejected, whether personally or professionally, take a step back and evaluate. Quite possibly, God is trying to lead. Are you willing to follow?

Affectionately known as “Jyess,” Jessica Folsom currently teaches middle school Reading/Language Arts in inner city Nashville, TN. She has a compassionate burden to see twentysomethings get serious about their Creator. You may follow her on Twitter @jyess_folsom.
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