Rejection-God at Work

By Carol Mathews

I’m not bragging, but, historically, if I have an opportunity to meet with a prospective client,  hear their needs, and respond with a proposal…I get the job. I win the account, do the work,  and my clients are happy. Potential work (with rare exception) meant work. Until now, and  it has put me in a bit of a crisis.

You see, fundraising for the movie, “Good Enough” hasn’t gone as planned. The reasons are for another day, but this project has taken a backseat to the more pressing issues of living. My family depends on my income. They tend to like running water, air conditioning and, well, eating.

Okay, I believe I can deal with this situation. I can still raise money for the film while doing contract work. Of course I can! What’s exciting, in my opinion, is that the vast majority of my work opportunities surround the topic of foster care. I can do contract work while simultaneously researching for my foster care film! How perfect is God’s awesome plan!? I see things so clearly.

Unfortunately, some folks have not received the memo (the one I’ve written on God’s behalf). It isn’t just one would-be client. While I would  love to chalk it up to a prospect who just doesn’t get how awesome I am, it is several opportunities, and several organizations unable to follow through on supporting the project.  Although it looked promising, months later, after an exorbitant amount of time spent, I have nothing. Nada. And losing the work isn’t the exception…it is the (new) rule.

My mind fills with negative thoughts, and the most overwhelming feeling is the sharp pain of rejection. No matter the reasons for the departed opportunity – it feels personal. Self doubt creeps in: “Am I outdated, offensive, or too expensive?  Why don’t people want to work with me? Did I miss my professional expiration date? Am I in the wrong place?”

The book of James, chapter 1, reminds me to thank God in everything because God is working in and through it. Thank God in everything. Even the gross, hard stuff. I am supposed to trust He is at work in all of it. So I try to genuinely thank Him…and I feel His peace wash over me. It isn’t always easy. I have to contend for this peace. I have to work at this perspective. I have to practice thanksgiving. But in doing so, even imperfectly, I believe I am receiving these benefits from the rejection:

Humility. Rejection is humbling. I know humility is a big deal to God. So, thank you, God, for the rejection and the humility that arrives with it. Help me stay humble when things begin to go well.

Obedience. Rejection is a reminder that I am not in control. Try as I might, I can’t predict the future. I cannot know other people’s hearts or what their actions will be. The realization that I am not in control is imperative if I am going to remain obedient and serve the One who is in control. Thank you, God, for your reminder of whom I.

God’s Favor. The opposite of rejection is favor, and scripture tells us time and again that favor with men comes from God so that we may do His work. Esther won the favor of the king and was able to save her people. Luke 2:52 says Jesus grew in favor with God and people. The favor they received was to do the will of God. And when God calls me to a place,  job or person, His favor will accompany it. Thank you God for the realization that favor with people is for me to do your will…it’s all about You.

This unprecedented sweep of rejection in my professional life is God’s loving hand moving me where He wants me. I might not see where I am going, but I trust He is taking me to a new place. I will follow His pillar of fire. I will follow prayerfully and more humbly, more aware of my need of Him. I’m thankful — hopeful — that He is using my life for His purposes.

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! 2 Corinthians 12:7–8 MSG

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