I was sure I was going to go to school in Massachusetts.
From the minute I discovered the school I knew it was right. The historical sites in the area would provide hands-on learning opportunities, the new places to explore would satisfy my hunger to see more of the world, and the secondary education program would catapult me into my teaching career.
I told anyone who would listen about the grand adventure I was preparing to embark on. I had even planned out a clever Facebook status to announce my exciting plans for the upcoming year.
I eagerly mailed in my application, and was ecstatic when I was accepted to the school. The only thing standing between me and my dream was a financial aid letter. One fateful day in February, I received the long-awaited letter. Instead of containing the joyous news I was expecting though, it said, “We’re very sorry, but we are unable to give you the financial aid you need.”
Rejection stings. It doesn’t matter if it’s a job, or a trip, or a school, or a relationship; rejection is universally difficult.
When I received the rejection letter, I was crushed. I had poured my heart into my dream of going to school in Massachusetts, and any other school felt second-rate at best, and at worst, just plain wrong.
I spent a very tense month waiting to hear back about financial aid from the other schools I had applied to. It was a month of deep prayer and acute anxiety. Fortunately I received the aid I needed from my second choice school in Oregon, but while I was relieved, I was not necessarily excited. Little did I know God had incredible plans in store!
The hardest thing about rejection is that it disrupts our carefully laid plans. We go through life trying to make decisions that will put us where we hope to be, but when rejection enters the picture, we suddenly have to rethink our entire future. The last thing we want to do is see rejection as an opportunity, but maybe God uses rejection to realign us with his will.
Now that I’ve been at school in Oregon for a semester, I can confidently say it has completely exceeded all of my expectations! If I had gone to Massachusetts, I would have never experienced the amazing community God has blessed me with, and I would have never met my best friend.
After living away from home, I can also fully appreciate how difficult moving to Massachusetts would have been. For me, Washington State is my home, and in hindsight, I can see I was not ready to move so far away from my family.
I feel a deeper sense of, “I belong here,” than I have at any other point in my life.
The more I think about it the more I realize that rejection can open more doors than it closes. The key is choosing to see it in the right light. Yes, rejection is disappointing and disheartening, but it also presents us with an opportunity.
My dad frequently reminds me that if I say yes to one thing, I will have to say no to other things. Life is a series of choices of when to say yes, and when to say no. We cannot say yes to everything that comes our way. Decision-making is tough, but maybe rejection can help us make difficult choices.
By forcing us to say no to good things, rejection allows us to say yes to unexpected things that may be even better.