What To Do With Rejection

Someone unsubscribed to my blog. Ouch!

While I watch the number of subscribers to my blogs, I pay little attention when someone unsubscribes. There are two reasons for this: First, I encourage people to "unsubscribe" if the blog doesn't help them. Second, the number who subscribe far far exceeds those who drop it. I'm not going to invest my emotional energy playing the electronic equivalent of "she loves me, she loves me not!"

My recent bout with rejection did get me thinking though. How does God want me to handle Rejection's cold slap on the face? Here's what I've discovered:

Acknowledge it -- Don't whitewash the hurt. Call it what it is: A rejection. A failure. A disappointment. A loss. Go ahead and "feel the pain." The Psalms teach me this. The writers of the Psalms are always honest before God.

Gospelize it -- I am not crushed by rejection when I remember that neither my performance nor the opinion of others defines me. It is my relationship to Jesus that does. Jesus teaches me this. He said, "I will never leave you or forsake you"(Hebrews 13:5). There is no asterisk next to that statement. Jesus does not say, *"If you don't fail" or *"If you keep performing well." Jesus is the Good Shepherd and the Good Shepherd never lets go of his sheep. Never! (John 10:27-30)

Learn from it -- Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators, used to take the note of criticism and lay it before the Lord in prayer. "God, show me the kernel of truth in this criticism" was his prayer. What a great way to learn and grow!

Push through it -- Great achievements often come at the end of a long road of rejection. One of my favorite examples of this is the novelist Stephen King. When he received his first rejection slip (at 12), he pounded a nail into the wall in his bedroom, put the rejection slip on it, and went on writing. King said,

By the time I was fourteen...the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.[1]

If you know King, you know what happened because he didn't give up. The beginning writer became a massive best seller.

Stephen King shows me the power of tenacity, but it is God who gives the strength that sustains me. I love the words of Isaiah:

He gives power to the faint,

and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary,

and young men shall fall exhausted;

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;

they shall mount up with wings like eagles;

they shall run and not be weary;

they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:29-31 ESV

Rejection is inevitable, but it does not define us and it need not paralyze us. If you've experienced a little rejection, look to God. Then stop by my house. I've got a hammer and a nail.


[1] Stephen King. On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft.New York: Scribner. 2000. Pages 40-41.