Two hundred and fifty… that’s 2-5-0. 250 rejection emails. About 5 years ago, I wrote a blog/journal entry about Rejection being my biggest weakness/struggle and learning how to deal with it. Over these 5 years, I have received 250+ emails (sitting in a folder marked “I’m Weak, That’s Okay“) of rejection, with 50 coming since March when I resigned my position in Kalamazoo, MI. That is just emails and not including phone calls, unanswered/unresponded applications or snail mail. I think for me, what’s hard to come to terms with is that while I know it’s not personal, just business & “ministry” — I still take it personally and feel the weight of it all. And while encouragement from friends & family is needed and good, at times it’s not what I want at the moment. For me personally, I am looking for someone to simply respond beyond church rhetoric & Christianese.
If I hear another person say, “well it wasn’t meant to be, God has a better plan!” I am going to go crazy. Duh!!! I am fully aware that God is in control AND I know what the Bible says. Where has the Church gone wrong with all this Christian “pharisaical” babble. Whatever happened to weeping with those who weep and laughing with those who laugh. Our job is to encourage, and not to say stupid things that really doesn’t help people’s situation!!! We cannot lose our compassion in an effort to handout Bible verses. We have to be better listeners and show grace & love in how we respond. Without grace & love, these Bible verses are merely words on paper, filled with confused noise.
I have come to grips that man’s rejection only means that God has something bigger, better and beneficial for me! I have been in a season (for awhile) where God has been teaching, renewing and redefining who He is as a Father and what true faith is. Not this simple level of faith that we hear talked about but a deeper & stronger level of faith, that is actually lived out.
Back at the beginning of March, I remember sitting at conference table with 4 of my friends (pastors, lead staff @ the church in Michigan) letting them know of my church resignation (due to things on their end) and feeling the sting, weight, and emptiness of leaving people I love. In those moments, I was very emotional and had a lot of questions, doubts of calling, loneliness and uncertainty. That moment then has turned into this moment now 6 months later! Same questions, same thoughts, and same emotions. These were people who I had left my family/friends back in Atlanta, went broke to relocate, and became a part of their life. Their family/friends became mines, I engaged in their culture and trusted wholeheartedly. And at that table, that day in March, all I could think about were these questions to God: “What was the purpose?“, “Are we they YET?”, and “What & where is the Good being worked out?” // Through no fault of my own, I felt the full weight of rejection even though I wasn’t rejected. An all too familiar pain that is deep. And now once again, I’m feeling the weight of it all and simply just tired. Tired of the ups & downs, tired of the struggle, tired of the no’s, tired of the pain… just tired!
This isn’t a journal to get you and even myself into all the feels.. just me expressing what’s in my heart and getting it off of my chest. In this, I feel like Joseph. A man who had a vision from the Lord but was rejected by his family. He too gets pull out of the pit and placed in prosperity only to have that taken from him. Due to no fault of his own, he ends up in jail. In jail, after being rejected by people he helped, he has another vision interpreting the King’s dream. From there, he is propelled out of the jail to the #2 person in charge of an entire kingdom/country and saves the same family who rejected him. The main verse I got out of this reality of Joseph was simply this:
As for you, you meant evil against me, BUT GOD MEANT IT FOR GOOD, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. – Genesis 50:20
I am eagerly awaiting God’s promotion and trajectory into His glorious splendor he has for me. Until then, I wait patiently with joyful courage, working on my character, learning life’s lessons, continuing in love & grace and speaking of Jesus. Psalm 105:19 says this, “Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the LORD tested
Joseph’s _______ character.” Beloved, you and I are the blank. Whatever you are going through… trust that he is working out the details. If he promised it to you, know that his heart equals his hand.
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. -Proverbs 16:9
And so, I said all this to say… I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S NEXT. I don’t know if ministry vocationally is where God wants me. My trust is in that what & where ever the Lord leads, it will be WORTH IT ALL. Every pit, every jail/prison experience, and every situation are worth it all in the grand scheme of things that the Lord has for me. For he who promised is faithful!