How To Handle Rejection

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When my 2 year old son wants something he’ll say, “D…d…d…d…d” which is both cute and obnoxious, considering he usually knows the words of what he wants.  Most times it’s for his cup or a snack; however, other times it’ll be for the phone charger or some other object that wouldn’t make the top toddler gifts list. So when he hears, “No.” He walks in a circle, stamps his feet, tightens his face and falls on the floor screaming and crying.  It’s quite the theatrical act and after a little, “It’s okay buddy, but you don’t need the cord.” talk he gathers himself and moves onto something else.
Imagine doing that when you hear the word, “NO“.  Your boss says, “No” to your vacation request.  Someone turns you down from serving in ministry or a teen says he isn’t coming to your early morning Bible study.  Imagine walking in a circle, stomping your feet, fists clenched, tight faced and falling to the floor crying.
Rejection is hard to take.  No one likes being rejected by their crush. No one likes being turned down for a loan.  No one likes being told they can’t, they shouldn’t or that it will never happen.  No, means your wish, request, and your want has been rejected.
In ministry we face rejection in many different scenarios from asking adults to join our ministry to inviting teens to check out a night of ministry.  When we get turned down it doesn’t mean it will never happen; however, it means taking another look at your request.  If you face rejection you have two options:

  • Take A Step Back And Re Approach: When you hear, “No” the inclination is to be persistent right away; however, sometimes we need to think about why we’ve received a rejection (Check out why people say, “No”).  Arguing someone on their decision isn’t going to get you the answer you want, in fact it could hurt the trust and cause a void in the relationship.  Take some time to reflect on the situation, revisit it with a friend and look at a new plan to approach the subject.  Your rejection could have come from poor timing or a lousy use of words.  Persistence is key; but, do it with thought and not out of impulse.
  • Embrace The “No” And Think Outside The Box: If you hear “NO” after revisiting the situation, embrace the limits because God is telling you, “There is another way.”  After all it’s not about what we want, it’s about God’s plan and that might mean a whole new approach.  Embracing the “No” can be difficult because it means change.  It could mean changing a job, changing your plans and that can take a little humility.  If “No” is the answer gather a team, go to the whiteboard (why everyone needs one) and start brainstorming.  Take comfort that God has a plan for you, even if it’s not what you originally intended.

When you hear the word, “No” it’s important to just move forward.  Sometimes that’s revisiting the ask and other times it’s developing a new plan.  Either way you will need accountability, patience and trust that God is working with you in the situation.

How do you handle NO?