Our twins are doing an intensive art history unit study this year. My youngest complains that she can’t concentrate on her work because she’s fascinated watching her sisters do theirs. After Laura and Beth do the artist’s study, they move on to their assignment, one of which is an art project. I have been enjoying seeing their creations immensely and, sometimes like Rachel, catch myself watching them in their progress.
They learned about the Salon, a place in France that hosted art exhibitions beginning in 1667. I had read that between 1748 and 1890 it was the greatest art event in the Western world. I was especially intrigued when the girls discovered that the Salon jury could make or break artists. A rejected piece of art was literally stamped “rejected” on the back. Imagine the impossible task of trying to sell something stamped “rejected”. Imagine trying to establish yourself as an artist in France once that judgment was passed. This tidbit gave me pause to think about rejection of our talents and of ourselves as human beings.
Some time ago, I read an interesting thought about a line in the LORD’s prayer, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil….”. We have all been created with a purpose. I believe this verse pertains most to those who know what their purpose is but are unwilling to give themselves time to mature and cultivate their gift. This is a prayer that we will not be tempted to “arrive” ahead of time thereby incurring evil.
I’m going to tell you a minister’s story. Well, at least what I remember of it. He was praying over people in a prayer line and skipped a man. The man moved down the line and I can’t remember if the minister intentionally skipped him again or not, but he most definitely skipped him at least that once. The attendee would not to be ignored. He insisted the minister pray for him. The minister didn’t want to, saying,
“You have a call on your life but you’re not ready.”
The man was adamant that he receive prayer. He was ready NOW. If I properly recall, the minister prayed. The young man was launched into ministry, greatly due to his own force. He burned fast and hot. And out. Last the minister heard, the young man wasn’t in ministry anymore and quite possibly wasn’t even serving the LORD anymore. If we cave to the temptation to get ahead of God, we may fall into evil. That being said, there may be times when it looks like rejection, in fact, it may be all out rejection, but not in God’s economy. In His way of thinking, it is protection.
Being a writer, I’m going to look at this from an author’s perspective. How many times can a poem, a manuscript, a sentiment for a card, etc., be rejected? Many! I’ve got the rejection letters to prove it. This devotion clarified a lot for me. What looks like rejection is protection. What if the manuscript would go on to film? What if the sentiment would be one that manufacturers would want to use over and over again? And what if that notoriety came too soon, before the maturity of me, the author? I’m not saying we mature and never learn anything ever again. I’m saying we must reach a place in our lives that our character is such, that we realize our need for Christ to sustain us in times of failure as much as, and perhaps even more so, in times of success.
As long as the rejection comes, we hone our skills and persist. We continue to battle and we are alert. But face it, in times of acceptance and accolades, we tend to drop our defenses. Or worse, become prideful and believe our achievements are due to our own merit. The LORD warned the Israelites numerous times not to forget Him when they entered the Promised Land, when they ate and were full, when they built fine houses and settled into them. They were to remember and not believe their wealth was the making of their own power and strength lest destruction come upon them. Serious, weighty stuff that is still applicable today.
When I was younger, I had the misconception that friends were friends forever. I then began to see many of my friendships tested when I entered my teenage years…and probably just as many dissolved through those tender years and into early adulthood. That put really big dents in my forever friends theory. It used to crush me when people would enter my life and then leave.
Now, as an adult, I see life for what it is concerning most relationships: a revolving door. Wisdom came with age and people exiting my life hurt less and less as I realized that people are tools in God’s hands. Myself included. We are positioned in each others lives for a season(s). When done properly, relationships can be fertile soil for sweet sharing of ideas, talents, ministry, experiences, etc., even if only for a small amount of time. We all have something to offer, something to help someone on their way to their purpose and vice versa. We can even learn from people we wish we’d never met! (It’s called learning how not to behave 🙂 ).
Whether the pain is due to a perceived fractured relationship or another failed attempt, chin up! This is not rejection, this is protection. Our skills and our characters are being tested and sharpened. Much of how we handle “rejection” today determines our success for tomorrow. Please believe me, God does truly desire that we succeed and fulfill all that He has planned for us.
Join me today in trusting God with our relationships and our purpose. It’s hard, I know, but let’s relinquish control to Him. Give Him Time. Allow Him to bring the right people into our life at the right time and, if required, let them go when it is time. And when we succeed, when we come into the land He has called us, remember, it is He who gave us the power and the strength to get there.
I leave you with “Your Time Will Come” (and a scripture verse). I love the melding of voices, instruments, and the lyrics of this song! I hope you find it as inspiring as I do.
For He says:
“In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:2 NKJV