The committee didn’t choose you.
The job went to someone else.
The table was full.
The team didn’t need you.
The boy didn’t want you.
Rejection. It comes in all shapes and sizes. It can blindside you. It can be expected. It can come as a result of a bad choice you made. It can happen just because.
But, no matter who you are or how old you get, rejection is never easy.
I’ve never met anyone who wakes up and says, “Today, I want to be rejected.” That’s just not normal. Rejection is not something we choose, but it is a real part of our lives.
I'm learning, though, that the way you respond to rejection has a much bigger impact than the rejection itself. It can leave you devastated, or it can teach you valuable lessons. It can make you give up, or it can push you to try harder. Here’s what I mean:
A few weeks ago I heard from my agent. (Yes, I have an agent, and yes, that makes me laugh!) He has been working with publishers trying to get my children’s book in the right hands. The first round of pitches went out months ago, and the first round of responses came back with a unanimous, “This isn’t the right project for us right now.” My agent offered this encouragement: “Try your best not be disheartened—it is rare that we receive a contract prior to receiving several rejections first!!”
I’ll be honest. I don’t understand how the publishing world works. I don’t fully grasp the process and expectations that come along with it. But, here’s what I do know: rejection isn’t easy. It can put a definite damper on your day.
So, how did I respond?
My natural response would have been tears, a few days of being down, and then throwing my hands up as if to say, “Well, I tried.”
My actual response was much different. And, I can only think that as I’ve been continuing to grow and mature in the Lord, He has helped me come to such a place in my life.
Rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough. It could simply mean you just aren’t the right person for the job, project, team, etc. That has nothing to do with your self-worth. It just means you aren’t the best fit for that particular thing. Hard to swallow? Sure. But, use this as an opportunity to learn, improve, grow, and mature.
Rejection doesn’t mean you should give up. If your source of rejection is something you truly believe God is leading you to, then giving up is not an option. Try harder. Use a different method. Continue to pray. If God directs you along a path, anything less than following that path is disobedience. It doesn’t mean it will be easy; it doesn’t mean it will happen quickly. It does mean, however, that God has something in store. Don't miss out on "what could come" because you are stuck in the "what didn't happen."
Rejection doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have tried. I firmly believe that trying is part of the process of success. How would you know if you could or could not if you didn’t try? Trying builds trust … trust that God will carry out what He began in you.
Rejection can open the door for other opportunities. I don’t know if my book will ever be published. In my heart, I believe it will. However, through this process I have met countless writers and others who have encouraged me. I’ve had two different articles picked up for various magazines. I would never have had these opportunities had I not taken a first step with this book.
I’m not sure if you’ve experienced rejection lately. I hope you haven’t. But, if you have, rest in the truth that God has a plan for you. It may not be the path you would have chosen, but I guarantee the plans He has for you are better than anything you could have dreamed or imagined for yourself.
Take that chance. Apply for that job. Try out for that team. Submit that book proposal. You’ll never know what could have been if you don’t try.
And, while I've still got you, can you pray for that second round of pitches going out to publishers? I've got a book I want the world to see!