One of my kiddos tasted rejection this week. Man, that’s tough on a mom. Am I the only one who wants to protect my children from hard stuff? Probably not.

It got me thinking back to when I didn’t make the cheerleading squad. I tried out twice, once when I was in junior high and once when I was in high school. I didn’t make the cut either time.

Truth is, I wasn’t cheerleading material. I wasn’t loud. I didn’t like people looking at me. I wasn’t graceful or athletic. But I still wanted to be on the squad. Being on the squad meant you belonged. Being on the squad would move me from the new girl no one really noticed to a member of the team. With the skirt. With the hair ribbons. With the cheerleader friends. I know now that being on the cheerleading squad wouldn’t have fixed anything. It would likely have only made things worse.

I remember well another situation where I received a stinging rejection. I was beginning to explore a call to ministry and had decided to leave my full-time career. I interviewed to be an office manager in a religious organization. In all honesty, I thought the interview was a formality. I believed myself to be a natural choice for the job. I was wrong.

It was tough when I wasn’t offered the position because I felt God wasn’t looking out for me. I was trying to take steps in obedience to His call. I could not understand why this position hadn’t come through. A few months later, I found out the director I would have been working for was dismissed for sexual misconduct. The realization of the bigger picture taught me a lesson I still carry with me. I felt I had been spared from a painful season.

Sometimes, maybe even often times, the rejections that come into our lives are actually beneficial. Maybe, like me with cheerleading, something just isn’t a good fit. Maybe, like me with the job, there is something greater going on we can’t understand. Can we step outside our initial hurt and be open-minded towards God despite the disappointment? When we can, our trust in Him is increased.

Rejection hurts. I certainly don’t go looking for it. Sometimes it leaves tender spots or scars. I have my share and I’m sure you do, too. But here is what I believe. God sees us. He cares about the places in our hearts that hurt. He wants to teach us and grow us through our life experiences. A brighter, clearer day is ahead. It’s those of us who have learned how to deal with rejection that can confidently get up and try again. We are stronger from the learning. Peace!