When I was a young man living in North Carolina, I wasn’t exactly the kind of guy you wanted your daughter to date. I had yet to meet Jesus and took the term heathen to a whole new level. In fact, the only reason I started attending the small Assemblies of God church in my home town was because I was interested in the pastor’s daughter. After attending the church for a few weeks, I decided to make my move. I bought her a t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “Foxy Lady” across the front. Looking back, I can see the lack of wisdom in that gift, but at the time it seemed perfect. As a pastor and a father of three beautiful daughters myself, I can only now understand what her father must have been thinking; needless to say, he was less than pleased. For reasons I could not understand at the time, my feelings were neither reciprocated by her nor appreciated by her father; she also gave back the t-shirt. The sting of rejection was very real.   Despite my best efforts, I could not convince the pastor’s daughter to give me a shot. I attended her church, complimented her, bought her gifts, and yet she had no interest in me. The truth was that she knew better to get involved with the kind of guy I was back then. She was not the great love of my life nor was that destined to be a life changing relationship, but that experience did teach me quite a bit about the tenuous relationship between hard work and rejection. So often we believe that if we work hard enough or put in enough effort, we will accomplish the things on which we have set our sights. But what happens when hard work doesn’t pay off? What do we do when, despite our best efforts, we are rejected?   Rejection is uncomfortable; it can make even the most accomplished person feel small and embarrassed. But what is it about rejection that gives it such power in our lives? In her most recent book, Uninvited, Lysa TerKeurst says, “Rejection steals the best of who I am by reinforcing the worst of what’s been said to me.” Did you catch that? Rejection doesn’t hurt because it affirms the secret truths of who we are; rejection is painful because it reminds us of moments when we have wrongly believed that we were unworthy of something we wanted.   Rejection is inevitable; you will be shot down, turned away, or passed over at one point or another both personally and professionally. The secret to dealing with rejection is not to avoid taking risks or being vulnerable; after all, if you aren’t willing to be take a risk, you will never be great. On the contrary, the key to dealing with rejection is to understand that you are entitled to nothing but worthy of everything. Hard work does not mean you are entitled to whatever you are working towards; you aren’t entitled to that new job, promotion, or even a date. You are, however, worthy of those things. Circumstances are constantly changing; your value, however, is constant. [bctt tweet="Circumstances are constantly changing; your value, however, is constant." username="dukematlock"] Rejection does not have the ability to dictate your value. I have been rejected many times in my life, but I have never become less worthy or valuable.  My worth did not decrease because the pastor’s daughter did not want to go out with me, nor did it decrease every time I applied for a job and didn’t get it or was passed over for a promotion. The same is true for you; your value is not changed by external circumstances. [bctt tweet="Rejection does not have the ability to dictate your value." username="dukematlock"] When facing rejection, remember that it is normal to feel discouraged, but it is unacceptable to allow discouragement to become destructive. Rejection can make you better or it can make you a beggar; which one of those you become is up to you. [bctt tweet="Rejection can make you better or it can make you a beggar; which one you become is up to you." username="dukematlock"]    

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