It happens again. It’s not like you weren’t expecting it. But there was still a ray of hope. And it still hurts when even a single ray of hope is shattered by a shotgun blast of rejection.
So you curl up with carton of ice cream or your favorite chocolate bar in a dark room and blare the angsty songs of your adolescence through your headphones. The smoothness of the dark, the rock, and the chocolate allow the perfect atmosphere to revel in your emotions.
The scene I’m describing isn’t taking place after a break-up. This is a different kind of rejection: you’ve been turned down for yet another job. There have been many others to tell you no (or just ignore you), yes, but this one… you thought you were so close.
So close to your dreams being fulfilled and your money problems going away and being able to move out of your parents’ house. So close to being proud of your answer when people ask what you’re up to these days. So close to getting on with your life.
But as Mat Kearney sings, “We can feel so far/ From so close.”
Whatever reason they give (or don’t): not enough experience, not the right training, not familiar with the software, not in the right location, or there’s just someone better; whatever they say to try to deafen the blow: we had a lot of great applicants, we enjoyed visiting with you, we’ll keep your resume on file, we hope God will bless your future– it doesn’t make you feel less worthless or make the sting of rejection hurt any less.
Maybe you haven’t been here or you aren’t right now. Maybe you’re not unemployed, but you feel me because you aren’t doing what you want to be doing. Maybe you are right here with me. Perhaps I’ve made some decisions that have put me here. Perhaps I’ve wasted my time on things that won’t get me anywhere. Perhaps I’m not as smart as I thought I was. Whether I deserve to be here or not, here I am.
Question and Answer
Here we are. And it comes down to this: not how do we make the best of a bad situation, but how do we survive this situation?
That’s the question I’ve been struggling with. It hasn’t been an easy year and a half since I graduated from college. That said, it could’ve been a lot worse. I have a lot for which I can be thankful. But sometimes, even for an optimist like me, the glass is half empty no matter how you look at it.
After my last big rejection, I stared at the glass of my life for weeks and all I saw was a mixture of failure and hopelessness. If it was full of anything, it was full of dejection. I looked at my life and all I could see were the things I don’t have and the things that are wrong with me. Even the ol’ Romans 8 failsafe didn’t bring me back to the light this time.
Finally, I worked my way through the numbness to really talk it out with God. And he gave me one word that snapped me back to life. One word that I’d read and heard and prayed hundreds of times during those weeks, yet it did nothing for me until he smacked me in the head with it. One word:
Trust me, he said. Stop trying to control your future and really, truly, completely hand it over to me. I’ve got this. I’ve known your future since before you could plan it out, since before you were even born (Psalm 139, baby). I’ve had your days written before you’d lived even one of them. I’ve got this. And I’ve got you. Trust me. Not just with the job. But with everything. Everything you’ve been holding on to– hand it over. I’ve got to have all of it to make you who I created you to be. You’ve got to trust me with everything– your greatest fears, secrets, desires, loves, failures, talents, even your greatest dreams. Trust me with them. Because I know what to do with them. And I know what to do with you. Trust me.
It’s such a simple verb, but such a difficult action. And the word it goes hand in hand with is just as difficult: obey.
“Trust and obey/ for there’s no other way/ to be happy in Jesus/ than to trust and obey.”
Hand over your life to him. Give him control– not just of your life, but of you. Trust in him. Obey him. Let him take all your worries and sorrows, while you just follow him– where you are, right now, now matter what’s in the glass or how full or empty it is. He’ll take care of that. You take care of keeping your eyes on him and deepening his footprints.
It’s not easy, but it’s the answer.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”– Proverbs 3:5-6
COMMENT: Have you ever been/ are you in a situation like this? What advice would you give those of us who are? When has God shown you what it means to truly trust him?