Learning From the No

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Learning from the “No.”

By:  Kathy A. Weckwerth

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Photo by: Joshua Garland

Every once and awhile, I like to take a close look at rejection and that good old word that comes and smacks you right in the forehead … the word, “No.”  I think if we are really honest with ourselves and each other, we will admit that rejection is a motivational tool in our daily walk.  But the word, “No,” doesn’t feel good to our hearts.

Let me use one of my favorite examples to mull these thoughts about.  It involves my dear daddy who had wonderful wise words of counsel for me when I needed them the most.

After Farmer Dean and I were married, I tried desperately to get a job as a worship director out in Dean’s direction.  Farmer Dean worked diligently to acquire a postal worker position on the outskirts of the Twin Cities.   For whatever reason, we just couldn’t find anything for either one of us.  We lived apart for that first year of our marriage and saw each other on weekends.

After a few months of searching, I learned that a position was available at a local church in the St. Cloud area.  I had been to that church and knew the worship director well.  He was very kind, but was moving to the east coast to take another position.

I remember setting down at my desk, printing out my resume, and putting an extra stack of printouts into the large manila envelope.  I decided that I would provide them with as much information and examples of my skill set as possible.  I included examples of dramas I had written, songs I had written, pictures of the 45 member children’s choir, a picture of my 25 piano students, and flyers from the city-wide worship events I had helped to lead for Elk River.  I also included recommendations from pastors, friends, and I felt very confident.  As a matter of fact, I felt overly confident.

I remember the afternoon I drove to the post office, mailed everything out to that church and called my husband.  For whatever reason I cannot remember now, Dean thought it was a great idea to take a job that was 1 hour from his home and thought we could live somewhere in the middle of the farm and St. Cloud.  I look back now and have to laugh … what in the world were we thinking!?

Two weeks went by and I didn’t get a call or an interview for this job.  I was shocked.  I picked up the phone and dialed the pastor, only to hear his words, “Yes, we got your resume.  You’re just not a good fit for us.”  Huh?  Huh, I thought.

I questioned the pastor about their needs and nothing he said made sense to me.  Everything they were looking for and then some was what I was offering them.  I hung up the phone discouraged and rejected.  The sting of the “No,” was painful.

But here’s the neat thing about God!  My over-the-top confidence level was suddenly bull-dozed into a flat playing level (where it should have been at the start).  Not only was I balanced into a confidence in Christ and not myself, but my eyes were open to what God was orchestrating.  But … I still could feel the pain of rejection and hurt.

I called my dad.  It seemed the reasonable thing to do.  He had the gift of wisdom and used it diligently to help us kids.  I explained everything to my father and I heard him say these words …

Kathleen, it’s okay that they didn’t want you.  God is working everything for your good at all times.  If that church didn’t want you, then that wasn’t where God wanted you.  When we think of it as a higher up level … where God is the CEO and making the big decisions, then we snap into reality and understand that He has a different job for us in His own perfect timing.  This doesn’t mean that you aren’t talented, or that you don’t have the skill set for the job.   This doesn’t mean that all of your efforts were for nothing, it means that YOU can learn from the “no.”  It wasn’t the best for you. “

Learning from the “no” seemed like a great concept, but to embrace the rejection seemed a little difficult.  I called Farmer Dean and we discussed things.  He tried to comfort me and although I understood what my dad told me, I couldn’t quite soak it into my spirit.

Four weeks later, the perfect job for me became available.  It was thirty minutes from the farm, it was in a nearby city, with a wonderful pastor, and several dear people who would walk by my side, encourage me, and become a part of the ministry I created.  When I mailed them my information, they called immediately and began the process of interviews, which was followed by hiring me.  They valued my gifts, they embraced my creativity, and they made me feel welcome.

The “no” from the previous church was the best “no” I could receive.  If they would have hired me, I would have missed out on the best God had for me.

What are you struggling with today?  Are you questioning why you are hearing “no” over and over?  Do you think you are lacking in value, skills, or abilities?

Perhaps it’s because you’re running ahead of God like I was.  Perhaps it’s because you think you know what’s best for yourself.

Take some time today to relish in the fact that God’s purpose and plans for you are always for the BEST. Most times it’s all about God’s timing for you.   Release the rejection, let go of the discouragement, and settle in to God’s best plans for your life.

It’s never too late.  Start today.  Start living your best life.

Proverbs 16:9  In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”