Hi, friends. I love reading posts in which people embrace vulnerability and acknowledge their flaws, so in this post, I’m sharing a couple stories with y’all about my struggles with pride, and more specifically, rejection. Though I’m still far from perfect, I’m trying to allow God’s grace to flow through every part of me–especially the not-so-pretty parts.
I’ve always had a drive to be the best.
How Rejection Altered my Plans in College
I’ve always excelled academically. All my life, I’ve loved the feelings of accomplishment and admiration. As a lifelong reader and writer, I naturally joined my high school newspaper; over the years, I wrote many articles and ended my senior year as the editor-in-chief. Going into college, I had no doubts that my new instructors would love me and I’d make some of the highest grades in class. Given my newspaper experience, I was especially confident about my writing skills. I declared an English major right off the bat.
Fast forward to my first English course in university–we’re getting our first essays handed back, and I assume I rocked it, of course! Boy, was I floored to see a big, fat “F” on the paper. I was like a fish that had moved from a bowl to a pond; suddenly, all my clout had evaporated.
After editing the first draft a couple times and still receiving another “F,” I dropped the course and switched majors because I didn’t know who I was if I wasn’t a good writer. Soon enough, I was taking business classes and earning average grades. I acted carelessly and out-of-character for a while. Part of that was being young and dumb in a new environment…but the early-on rejection of my writing abilities did cause me to question my identity.
After a year or two, when I took a basic writing course, a much kinder professor steered me back in the direction of the English department. After I switched my major back, I made straight A’s every semester until graduation. Suffice to say that I was in my element again.
Praise & Rejection as a Lay Servant
As a lay servant in the Methodist church, I have preached several sermons. I’m accustomed to excelling in the areas of teaching and preaching–an organic extension of my love for reading and writing. I thrive off the positive reception of my messages. Of course, I pray that I will be a vessel for the Word when I preach; my messages are sincere. I’m just being brutally honest and admitting that I crave validation.
Last year, I took a course on preaching at lay school. On the last day, we all gave sermons, then we all voted for the person who should preach at the final gathering with the whole lay school. I put my heart and soul into my message. As we waited for the vote to be tallied, I literally counseled myself in my head–“It’s okay if you don’t win. It’s not about you.” [I’ve known for a while that I struggle with pride. At least I’m self-aware. ;)] But when the tallies for each person were announced, no one had voted for me (except for my grandma), and I felt the crushing sting of rejection again. Once again, the fish had been transported from a bowl to a pond and felt less special than usual.
I beat myself up for my reaction after all was said and done. Several other people didn’t win either, Lily, and I bet they don’t even care! Why are you so selfish?!
When I faced rejection as a college freshman, my world was flipped on its axis. But now that Jesus is real to me and I genuinely strive to live in the Holy Spirit, I try to be humble and receive rejection with grace. I reassure myself with the knowledge that we are all important and beloved members of the body of Christ.
I’ve always had a drive to be the best, but I should only strive to be MY best. And if I ever feel that my time, efforts, and God-given talents have been overlooked, I should remember that God always sees me.
Thanks for reading! Have you ever struggled with pride or rejection? Let me know in the comments.