Thursday, August 21, 2014


Let me tell you about one of the times* I failed to make Resident Assistant at my college.

You see, my college had several hoops you had to jump through to make the cut. First, because it is a Christian college, we had two Bible tests to pass. Of course, because I can skunk an elephant at his own game, I passed those.

Then was a super long, dreadfully boring and probably kind of useless application to fill out (I wonder how much they actually used any of the info they asked for in their decision, and how much they just wanted to see who'd be willing to sit the tortuous hours to fill it out).

Me being me (by which I mean I usually don't know when to quit) of course spent who knows how long filling it out, then rereading it and reworking it until I got sick of it and decided it was good enough.**

Then came the fun part. If you filled out the application, and weren't judged to be totally inadequate for the job, they put you through the ringer.

Also known as RA Qualifying.

During this period, you had a weekend of going through little skits and probably looking like a complete idiot while two RAs who had survived the gauntlet and a Resident Director told you what you did wrong and how you could fix it. Then on to the pilgrimage, a week of traipsing from your dorm to another dorm where you and your wanna-be-RA partner pretty much took over each night for the RAs on that hall and did their job for them (I bet the RAs loved that week).

Of course, this all happened in January/February and when you go to school in the foothills, you count yourself blessed if the sun shines on you during the winter. So the little jaunts could be literally feats of strength and skill and trying not to slip and fall on the sidewalks.***

And then the grand finale, the part all the little wanna-bes wait for: the choosing.

The honor of being chosen. The glory of being chosen.

Or the soul-crunching numbness when, despite the long hours, the isolation to get your studies done while your friends go to the movies because you have to be somewhere later, the treks through sleet, snow, wind, bitter bone-throbbing cold, everything, you find out... That. You.


No amount of fru-fru little things they say ("You shouldn't feel sad" "It wasn't God's will" "You were great, there were just too many" "You just need to work on X. And Y. And Z. Definitely Z.") makes any bit of the huge gaping wound in your being feel any better. It's like trying to fill in the dent on the right passenger door of your car with mayonnaise.

It's hard to make someone feel awesome about themselves when they've just been rejected.

To be honest, I'm not sure if you should try.

After all, a lot of times, we love ourselves a whole lot more than we love them.

We get uncomfortable. We see our life going awesome, and we don't want to wallow in their misery. So we say things like, "There's something else." "God has something even better in store." "You didn't really want to be an RA anyway. Who wants to put up with bratty freshmen who think it's perpetual summer camp?"

And those things are true. There is something else, something better. God does have a better plan. Does anyone really like putting up with bratty freshman, or D, E, PQ123?****

But at the time, when the rejection is at its most cutting, salt-in-open-wound burningness, not a lot of that helps.

We're sinful beings, after all. And while we might like to pretend such assurances comfort us, they often don't.

Because often, if the rejection is severe enough (a job you really wanted, a boy you really cared about, a close friend throwing your relationship in the trash and stomping on it with industrial rubber boots, etc.) that rejection can feel like a letter of doom from the world.

And sometimes, if we're honest, it feels like a rejection from God as well.

"When my father and my mother forsake me, 
Then the Lord will take care of me." ~ Psalm 27:10, NKJV

"He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds." ~ Psalm 147:3

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you...thoughts of peace and not of evil, 
to give you a future and a hope." ~ Jeremiah 29:11

"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me 
I will by no means cast out." ~ John 6:37

Those verses do not describe a god who rejects, or is heartless, or who couldn't give an old french fry about his people.

Instead, they describe a God Who is kind, Who loves us even when those who are closest to us slam the door in our faces. A God Who, even though He is letting us go through something incredibly painful, has major plans to heal us that He will follow through on. A God Who urges us to run to Him with the pain, the sorrow, the bitterness, so He can heal us.

Oh, crud. Now I'm going to tell you some of those same "fru-fru" things.

God has something better.

He has a better plan.

He is using this pain to make you into a stronger, more Christ-like woman than you ever thought you could be.

And you'll find out that, just maybe, once the glittery "oooooooooooo, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" factor is gone, you're glad you didn't get that boy/promotion/opportunity/whatever.

Because God had something better in store.

The pain might still be there (hey, no one likes being rejected), but it's easier to bear.

Because you know God's always looking out for you, caring for you, loving you.

So I pray that, for me as well as all of you out there, when rejection looms again, when we feel that everything and everyone is against us, that we can all say:

"This is my comfort in my affliction,
For Your word has given me life." ~ Psalm 119:50

*Yeah, exactly, I'm about as stubborn as a bulldog with a steak between his teeth.
**Paradox time! Even though I tend to jump into things (such as making a cake without bothering to make sure I read the recipe), I'm anal when it comes to details (I can point out practically every spelling or plot error in a book). Of course, when it comes to my grammar, anything goes!
***Okay, so I admit, I'm probably making fair use of hyperbole.
****Sorry, I can't stand when people only use X, Y, and Z as alternate options.

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