Facing rejection

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Whether we’re jocks, musicians, actors, or mathletes, at some point in our childhood, we began the process of “trying out” for teams or auditioning for certain roles or opportunities.

Eventually, we all experienced rejection. You didn’t make the varsity squad or get the role you wanted in your high school play. You didn’t get accepted into your first-choice college.  You didn’t get the internship you wanted.  You didn’t get the job.

The longer we live life, the more we will face rejection.

But what if rejection doesn’t have to be taken personally?

When I was in high school, a musical theater director of mine introduced me to his personal theory I like to call The Bagel Theory.

Hear me out.

All of us musical theater kids, we were all bagels. My friend Chloe was a chocolate chip bagel; My friend Anna was a sesame bagel; I was a blueberry bagel.  You get the idea.  We were all great bagels, but we were each a different kind of bagel.

When auditioning for a certain role, Chloe, Anna, and I could all be up for the same part.  We would all be uniquely great for the role, but at the end of the day, the casting director was looking for a certain type of bagel.  Chloe may get the gig because they were looking for a chocolate chip bagel.  It didn’t mean that Anna or I weren’t amazing bagels. We just weren’t the bagels they were looking for.

Suddenly, getting rejected for a part wasn’t a judgement of our talent or abilities, it was just a reflection of someone else’s preferences.

While I don’t audition for musical theater roles anymore, The Bagel Theory, has truly shaped how I look at every application, interview, or opportunity I seek.

Now here’s where I like to combine The Bagel Theory with The Sovereignty of God.

My job is to work hard, be prepared, and show up for the opportunity. I just need to be the best darn blueberry bagel God has created me to be.  Then, if this is the right job, internship, college, or other opportunity for me, God will take care of the rest!

So now when I am rejected, not only is it not a reflection of my value, but I can trust in God’s Sovereignty, that it just wasn’t His best for me!

But you can always find someone who is better, stronger, smarter, faster, prettier than you.

Totally. I’m not trying to ignore the fact that every person is given a unique set of skills and abilities.  But that’s just it.

God has given you a unique set of skills, talents, and abilities!

And He is going to open the doors to opportunities that He has planned out for you.  He’s also going to close doors that you and I think are perfect for us, when He has other plans in mind.

The longer I live, the more and more thankful I am when God closes a door. I only want to be exactly where He wants me to be. Rejection is no longer a reflection of my worth.  It’s a reflection of God’s sovereign hand over my life.

Singles Awareness Day

SADI never had a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day. For 28 consecutive years, February 14th came and went without a boyfriend.

Last year, I had a finance and this year I have a husband. But I managed to completely skip the whole Valentine’s Day with your boyfriend experience.

Last summer, Shauna Niequist wrote a blog I could only dream of having written.

You are significant with or without a significant other.

And that’s what I want to preach from the roof top to all my single ladies out there.

Don’t buy into the world’s lie that Valentine’s Day is just just a cruel way to shine the spotlight on those who aren’t in a romantic relationship. Resist the urge to make plans with a bottle of wine to celebrate “Singles Awareness Day”.

Why? Because you aren’t lacking.

Somehow Valentine’s Day has become a day about whether you “have” or “have not”.

If you have a significant other, then it’s your day to celebrate.  If you “have not”… well then this day is for you to be reminded of that. Our culture tells you that you are lacking.

But you aren’t lacking anything.

I’m not trying to dismiss the desire to be in a romantic relationship. We are wired for human connection. We possess a God-given craving for love. But your worth, your value, your wholeness has nothing to do with whether or not you have a boyfriend.

You, are unique, exquisitely made, chosen and dearly loved by the Creator of the Universe, who also gave you a one-of-a-kind thumbprint and purpose in this life.

None of that changes based on whether or not you have a romantic relationship to share that with.

For some reason, we have given power to others to determine our worth.  Or maybe we actually do know our worth, but we just want someone else to recognize it too– in a way that makes him send flowers, plan fun dates, and eventually buy a very expensive ring to tell the world how wonderful you truly are.

While all of those things are lovely, no one else adds to your worth or subtracts from you worth.  If I had let my husband be a determining factor of my worth, he would be carrying a weight way to heavy for him to bear.  The pressure that would put on our marriage on a daily basis is unimaginable.  A successful relationship is two whole people coming together, not looking for the other to determine or add to their worth.

You are whole and valuable because your Creator decided you are. End of story. In Jesus, you lack nothing.

So forget “Singles Awareness Day”.  Resist the lie that our culture screams.  It’s not about “have” or “have not”, it’s about knowing who you are, who God has made you to be, and believing that you are fully valued. Period.

Deal Breaker: His Church Denomination

3-old-fashioned-steeple-church-in-winter-corey-hochachka“But how (insert church denomination here) is he?”

I’ve heard this question three times in the past month. A group of girls gabbing about a new guy of interest, when eventually his church affiliation comes up. All three times, the man being discussed is a church member in a different denomination than the gal who’s interested.

But how Baptist is he?

But how Lutheran is he?

But how Church of Christ is he?

But how Pentecostal is he?

You get the idea. Each time the conversation ends with the conclusion that this denominational difference might be a deal breaker.

There are a lot of reasons we could list that I believe are valid deal breakers when dating someone, but let me suggest that his church denomination should not be one of them.

I realize we are looking for a compatible life-partner and part of compatibility is agreeing on a church together. However, deciding that someone isn’t “the right fit” purely based on his church-affiliation seems so ironically wrong.

When we get down to the bottom of it, our church affiliation boils down to two things: preference and theology.

You attend your church because it fits your preferences.

Some of us love liturgy. Some of us love to jump up and down and raise our hands during worship. Some of us just care about the sermon.  Some of us want the sermon to be entertaining or feel good. Some of us want it to be intense and academic. Some of us prefer hymns. Some of us love it when we sing songs from the radio. Some of us want our church to play major roles in global missions or justice missions or environmental issues. I could go on.

The point is it’s your preference.  And your preference is not any better or more right than his preference. If choosing a church is going to be the greatest struggle you have in your marital years, then HALLELUJAH. What a great way for you both to consider each others’ needs and pick a church together.

You (might) attend your church because you agree with it’s theology.

Many times, people don’t even know the real nitty gritty of their denomination’s theology.  So, before you write off someone else because they aren’t the same denomination as you, perhaps it’s time for you to truly dig into what your church believes and why it believes it and give the other person a chance to share what they believe. It might not be exactly what you thought.

So what if there are real theological differences? Isn’t that a deal breaker?

Maybe. It depends. The truth is that you are going to be hard pressed to find someone that completely agrees with you on everything you believe. That may seem horrifying, but let me put it this way.

You are not 100% right. There is no way that you are totally correct on everything you think and believe when it comes to our God and the Bible. There are incredibly godly men and women, folks who have devoted their life to studying God’s Word, who fall all over the spectrum on major theological differences. That leads me to believe that it’s okay for us to not 100% agree on every tiny detail.  Do we need to agree on major theological points like the gospel, the Trinity, the validity of Scripture? Yes. However, I think too often we allow minor theological differences to become major gaps between us.

Here’s the deal. The reason I think it is so ironically wrong to dismiss someone based on their denomination is that it seems to go against everything God would desire for us. God’s design is for His followers to be one body, heirs of one household, citizens of one kingdom, one faith, serving one Lord. (1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 2 + 4)

Instead of fretting over “how can this work?” if he’s Methodist and you’re Southern Baptist, consider if perhaps God is wanting to stretch your view of what His Kingdom really looks like.

Regardless of our church-style preferences (and even many of our theological differences–gasp), all Jesus-followers will be in heaven one day praising the same God together. I think we’ll do it all– liturgy, hymns, silence, shouting, hands raised, no instruments, orchestras, rock bands, dancing– all of it.

So maybe, just maybe, we can date and even marry someone who has been loyal to a different denomination than we have on this earth. Perhaps it’s time to expand our view of what God’s kingdom looks like and loosen our grip, just a bit, on the preferences we hold so tightly.

Say no.

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In my post two weeks ago, I talked about the need for women to say “yes” when asked out on a date by a good guy.  When I wrote that post, I was writing to a certain kind of woman. I was also writing to 23-year old me.

Until about the age of 27 (and even following), I was looking for a brunette male, 6’4″, handsome, with a sharp wit, who loved Jesus. I didn’t think that was too much to ask.  I didn’t have a list of 100 items. Just 5: Tall, hunky, brown, hilarious, Jesus-lover.  Yet somehow that list of 5 things was almost impossible for any guy to meet. So, 99% of the time, I said “no” to great guys without ever giving them a chance and getting to know them.

It took the poking and prodding of two close, older/WISER women, who suggested I was looking for the “wrong guy” and God doing quite a number on my heart before I was ready to “say yes” to my future-husband when he asked me out on our first date.  The only reason my husband and I are married, is because I had my “say yes” rule and he got that first date.

Though I firmly stand behind what I wrote in that post, I also need to address that not every woman needs to “say yes” more.  In fact, some women need to “say no” more often. In the words of CS Lewis, some of us are “like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because (s)he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.” Harsh? Yes. Truthful? Dead on.

Some of us are content dating mud pies when God has something entirely better in mind for us.

My friend, Stephanie May Wilson, wrote the perfect blog this week to sum it up. Let’s make sure we’re saying “yes” to the good guys and giving them a chance, but saying “no thank you” to the mud pies. It’s time to trust God has something better in store for you.


The 5 Guys You Don’t Want to Date

1. The one who won’t commit

You’re talking to a guy, acting like you’re dating even, but no matter how much time passes, or what happens, it seems like he’s never willing to fully commit. Every time you talk about it, trying to super gently bring it up, he talks around it. He has reasons why you shouldn’t be exclusive, or even better, reasons why titles totally don’t matter.

And because you like the guy so much, or because you want the relationship to work so badly, you continue to wait. You wait, and you hope, and you settle for this weird middle ground where no promises have been made, and no accountability exists.

But it’s fine. Right?

The truth is that if a guy wants to be your boyfriend, he will be your boyfriend. People who want to commit generally do. Not only that, but you deserve someone who wants to be with you. You deserve someone who wants you to be theirs, who wants to make a commitment to you, who wants to be exclusive. You deserve to be chosen. Bottom line.

Read the rest…

Things that drive you crazy

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“I’m going to kill my husband,” she said.

“He always leaves his shoes at the front door. No matter what I do; no matter how many times I ask, beg, plead, throw fits, he will not pick up his shoes and put them in our closet.  He knows it drives me crazy and for whatever reason, he can’t seem to put them in the closet. What do I do?”

I heard this story about 8 years ago.

My sweet friend and mentor was relaying to me a conversation she had recently with another woman. This woman, her friend, was pleading with her for help. The shoe issue was killing her, making her angry, and ultimately creating so much resentment towards her husband.

Some of us can read that and go “Oh honey, get over it,” but others of us empathize. There are things our husbands do that drive us bananas. And sometimes those things seem like they will actually kill us because it gets under our skin so much. So what’s a girl to do?  She’s communicated maturely and not-so-maturely about the situation, both to no avail.

Some would counsel, “Come hell or high water you must teach him to put his shoes away.  Don’t be his mother.  Don’t clean up after him.  Force him to do it.”  But instead, this is how my mentor responded.

“You know what you’re going to do? Every day when he leaves his shoes at the front door and it drives you crazy, you’re going to pick up his shoes and put them in the closet for him. When he asks later, ‘Where are my shoes?!” you say, “I put them in the closet; let me get them for you.” No attitude. No sass.

And guess what? Eight years later, that story is my life.

We’ve compromised some.  We agreed I could handle one pair of shoes by the door. But when he leaves more than a pair, I pick them up and put them in our closet. When he asks where they are, I respond, “Oh! I put them in the closet; let me get them for you.”

You know what that does? It makes something that shouldn’t be an issue, a non-issue.

I really like things a certain way, especially our house. It would be very easy for me to be annoyed and angry every time my husband leaves his shoes at the front door. But you know what fixes it? Just putting them away! If they bother me at the door, then I should put them away. Keep in mind, I’m not punishing him, by putting his shoes away and forcing him to retrieve them. I don’t inconvenience him. I serve him.

The same thing can be applied with roommates. I realized one day I was practically losing my salvation over dirty dishes in the sink. (Side note: I kid. I don’t really think you can lose your salvation.) So if the dirty dishes are really getting me that angry, you know what fixes it?  Putting them in the dishwasher.

But you shouldn’t clean up after your roommate or your husband. Ok, I agree with that, but then I will be frustrated and rattled for NOTHING.

My same sweet mentor also says,

“Don’t let Satan steal your joy for one second.”

Dirty dishes in the sink, shoes at the front door– those are things to be thankful for.  We have shoes for goodness sakes!  Lots of them if you’ve seen my closet.  A lot of people in this world don’t have shoes. We have so much food, we leave it out in excess, dirty dishes everywhere!  What a blessing!  Both things are things to be grateful for, but the trivial annoyance that I allow them to become– well that is just stealing my joy.

What about you?  What are things that just make your skin scrawl or steal your joy?  Is it time for you to just start “putting the shoes away”?

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