Years ago, I worked for an organization that allowed me the opportunity to collaborate with congregations during Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Texas. I remember visiting so many historic houses of worship that had been devastated by the storm. I witnessed severe water damage and loss that impacted worship services and outreach to the community. Despite the challenges, many of these congregations while they were hurting and in repair mode were still making sure others were cared for. My job was identifying resources and building capacity during the rebuild mode.
I loved using my gifts and talents to make a difference. I will never forget that while I was home ill with bronchitis, I received a call that my role along with a consultant on the project was eliminated due to funding issues. It hurt. I loved what I was doing, and I felt like God was punishing me. I could not understand what I had done to deserve that outcome. For many of us, we are let go from more than jobs. Relationships end that we wanted. People we love say harmful things that pierce our souls. We feel unwanted, unloved, and not needed by loved ones and friends.
Something you wanted did not happen. We question God and wonder why this would happen. In my pain, a friend reminded me that God was not punishing me. Why would God harm me knowing that others would be impacted who did nothing? This circumstance reaffirmed my already scarred heart that had experienced so much rejection both personally and professionally. Despite that my head knew that it was out of my control, my heart said otherwise. Rejection makes you feel as if you are the only one hurting and will create a sense of isolation—that it is you against the world.
Experiences that result in rejection and abandonment will create holes in our hearts if we do not choose to process the pain and heal. ‘Reframing and reflection’ must be a part of your healing. Dharius Daniels, one of my favorite teachers, says it best: “I cannot overcome what I have not properly identified. I cannot get a hold of the life that God has for me if something has a stronghold over me.” Is rejection holding you back? Rejection is a part of our lives but how we process and address it is critical to making sure it does not control us, our outlook, opportunities, and relationships.
The experience is real, but it cannot define who you are and the way you see yourself. When rejection happens, are you listening to your pain or are you listening to your purpose and seeking God for direction? Are you consulting your friends only or delving deeper into your faith to help you navigate through your feelings? It is easy to elevate others above your relationship with God and when they disappoint, we are broken. People will hurt us. People will disappoint us. That’s real. God gives us direction on how we can deal with rejection.
“When his people pray for help, he listens and rescues them from their troubles. The Lord is there to rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope. The Lord’s people may suffer a lot, but he will always bring them safely through. Not one of their bones will ever be broken,” Psalm 34:17-20. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you,” 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT).
In retrospect, losing that job was a gift. It was during that time that I witnessed God’s goodness and mercy. As that door closed, God opened so many others. God blessed me to travel to Hawaii with very little money. Opportunities became available and my bills were paid while working less time and making more than I made on the job. It was in that season, I had to let go of the rejection and lean into my relationship with God. Your faith must be in God, not in people, not in jobs or in your pain.
(Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the founder/CEO of Soulstice Consultancy, specializing as a partnership broker and leadership expert for companies and organizations to thrive with measurable and meaningful impact. She also is the vice president of Community Affairs and Strategic Alliances for the State Fair of Texas.)