I like to think that I’ve gotten better at keeping God at the center of most parts of my life. But somehow, every time I feel rejected from an opportunity or in friendships- it becomes really obvious that rejection is the one thing that can mess me up mentally like nothing else. I can go from “giving it to God” and “getting my identity from God” to “why am I not likable? What is wrong with me?” and at a complete loss for why ‘the thing’ didn’t work out, and what it must mean about me.
Last year, I was asked to apply for a job working for a company I used to work alongside many years ago. Full disclosure, I have no intention of leaving my job; I love it, seriously, I love it. But, since I was asked to apply for it, I figured why not hear what they have to offer because clearly they wanted me. And frankly, that felt good. So you can imagine my utter shock when not only did I not get an interview, but a rejection letter that said “Dear Katie”… (my name’s Kacie…) Talk about the ultimate rejection times two! Not only did I not even get a courtesy interview, but I couldn’t even get rejected by the right name.
The problem is the rejections kept coming for me. From being asked to apply for a couple of new roles at my job and not getting them; to the smallest form of rejection of people not showing up for my small group.
All of those rejections started building and building until they finally exploded into what I like to call my breaking point. I started running through all these different questions in my head. Am I not good enough? Am I not worthy enough? Am I not smart enough? What’s wrong with me? Why does this keep happening to me? Am I not likable? Am I off-putting? Is there some crucial ‘thing’ that I haven’t done that de-legitimizes me? Did they somehow see straight through to all of my weaknesses & insecurities? I kept asking those questions over and over and over again when I finally heard a quiet voice in my head say, “stop.”
I’ve been on my journey with God long enough to know this voice in my head wasn’t mine but God’s, and I honestly just wanted to tell God to ‘shut up’ and let me have my pity party. But I don’t think God would take too kindly to me telling him to shut up, so instead, I shut up and asked him, “why?” More specifically, why God do you keep rejecting me?
Well, I soon realized ‘don’t ask a question you don’t want answered’, because God will answer and even give you the hard truth.
I asked God why he kept rejecting me, and this thought popped into my head. “You keep making assumptions of what will happen, and your assumptions are not my rejection”.
Well sh*t God, that’s not what I wanted to hear. I wanted God to tell me I was right, he’s sorry, and he’ll never let me feel rejected again. But instead I got a truth bomb dropped in my lap.
I was making one big ole assumption after another. I assumed I would get the jobs because I was perfect for them. I assumed everyone in my group would like me, because ‘hey, it’s me!’ And by assuming these things, especially the jobs, I unintentionally had misplaced my identity. If you are wondering what the heck I mean by identity, I mean how I view myself. If ‘how I view myself’ comes from ‘how things are going with jobs, friendships, or even my husband’, and the thing stops going well— it will be crushing. But if how I view myself is fully sourced from what God is saying— when something happens, I will first view it through the lens of God’s unchanged love for me, his daughter. Well, I didn’t put my identity into God. I instead viewed myself through jobs and relationships, and took those right out of the hands of God. By doing this, I set myself up for failure because when things didn’t go the way I planned or assumed, it rocked me to my core because my worth was in the job.
Over the past couple of months, this verse keeps popping into my head and even showing up in my social media feed. Okay, I get it God, you are wanting to tell me something.
Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
When I start assuming— I’m taking God right out of the conversation. I’m saying “Hey, God I know you are powerful, and you know— God and all, but my thoughts and plans are way more important than anything you have for me.” And more importantly, what I’m saying to God is, “I don’t trust you.” I don’t trust that you get how much this thing affected me. I don’t trust that I’m going to still have my best life, without that thing. I don’t trust that you were present on my behalf in that moment. I don’t trust that it was You that lovingly made that call for my life. I don’t trust that you’re actually carrying out any specific intentional plan in my life. And I don’t trust that you’ve got a good handle on things. I’m assuming that my vantage point is better and more full than Gods.
The funny thing about this whole situation is when I was asked to apply for the jobs, I prayed to God and asked him to please open the doors if this was the path he wanted for me; and if not, please shut them. God DID answer my prayer. He shut the doors so tightly, to show me he had other plans for me. But I was so wrapped up in my rejection that I completely overlooked it.
God has reminded me that when I pray, he will answer. He reminded me, his plans for me are not my plans for me, and I need to trust Him. He reminded me that my identity shouldn’t be wrapped up in worldly things like jobs, but my identity should always start with knowing I’m his daughter. And because I’m His daughter, that means like every good father he knows my life and has plans I can’t even begin to understand, but I do know he’s always got my best interest at heart. And finally, God also reminded me that he might not always answer my prayers the way I want him to answer them. But it’s not him rejecting me; it’s actually God loving me.
Looking back, I can understand why I didn’t get those jobs, and it wasn’t because I wasn’t smart enough or qualified enough because, let’s be honest, I was. But, it’s because God has a different path for me, and even though I might not know exactly what that path is right now, I do trust him and know he’s got big plans for me.
If you are wondering what the purpose of this article is, I would sum it up into one action plan. Before you make any decision— take it to God first, and if he says no, he’s not rejecting you, he’s just got something better for you.