Day 36: Firings, Rejection, and the Thankfulness of Letting Go

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As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:4-5

A friend of mine wrote a business book with short chapters with catchy titles on important nuggets that every boss and business owner should know. He compiled it from his experiences building a company from the ground up from when he was a very young man. But he didn’t have a good title for the book yet and my wife and I had titled quite a few books. He asked for our input. After scanning his table of contents, one chapter title jumped out at me and I said, “That’s it. That’s the title.” It was “Fire Someone Today.” The chapter basically dealt with how firing someone that isn’t a good fit is kinder than trying to go above and beyond to make them fit because, ultimately, you’re just keeping that person from finding the job that is truly for them.

Time and time again, from bosses to employees, teachers to students, friends to friends, everyone tries to avoid rejection. The irony is that rejection is a natural part of life. From our earliest days we remember picking teams in gym class, awkward middle school social events, the stress surrounding a potential prom date, and interviewing for our first job—all involving potential rejection. Even saying “I love you” to someone for the first time is fraught with rejection peril. Or is it?

Rejection is consistently portrayed as a negative, certainly not something we should be thankful for. We hear the rejected say, “It feels like the end of the world” and “I never want to go through this again.” The funny thing is that rejection always makes things better. You heard me: rejection always makes things better. If you truly believe that all things work together for good, then you have to believe that even rejection turns out for the good. Most of the time we hurt from rejection because we didn’t have a proper perspective on the situation and we let things get out of control. Guess what? Rejection is your reset button.

We hear, “I don’t think this is going to work out.”

Click. Reboot.

Unfortunately, instead of grasping that the other person was doing us a favor by setting us free to find a different opportunity that was truly made for us, we lament over what we’ve “wasted”: time, affection, gifts, and effort, among other wailings. 

Whether you’re the one doing the rejecting or the one being rejected, now that it’s over, you are left with two options. You can hang on or let go. When you hang on, you’re not thankful for rejection but your discontented about your present and future. But when you let go, you become free to be thankful.

No one can do this for you. No one can ease your pain. It’s up to you. If you want to become the person God wants you to be, then you will look at this experience as another step on the path to the top of the mountain. It will be the only way that you can get from the dark valley to the top of the towering heights to bask in the sun. If you choose to get off this climb and head back down into darkness, you have no one to blame but yourself. But if you are a brave soul and choose to fight, to climb inch by inch up the rough terrain of walking in thankfulness for rejection, then I guarantee you that this experience with rejection will make your life better.

A wise soul sees that rejection is just another door eliminated in the process of finding the one we’re looking for. He doesn’t run and hide or return to the door to try the lock one more time. The wise soul fears nothing the world or others can throw at her. She has a healthy perspective that life is fraught with rejection. And rejection is life’s process of elimination for discovering your place and purpose. Thank God today for the broken road you have climbed!

Questions to ponder

What’s the first rejection you received that you can remember? How did you deal?

What’s the first time you dished out rejection? How did you do?

I know the answer to this, but do you: why can you be thankful for rejection?

Share your faith journey!

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