Pentecost 118

Pentecost 118
My Psalm 118

Rejected or Renewed?
My All in All

Within the past week a baseball legend retired. It was an illustrious career which spanned twenty years with the same team. Watching the news coverage of his last game, the announcer mentioned that the revered player was not the boldest, the brashest, a world-record holder, nor the perennial bad boy. He was, quite simply, a player who came to play and who came ready to play. Even this beloved player, tickets for his last game reaching upwards of $15,000 US dollars, was once quoted as saying “Everyone fears rejection.”

We think of rejection as a bad thing, a painful thing. Dating back to the early fifteenth century, the word originally meant to throw or throw back. It has a great many meanings and those meanings vary greatly. Psychologically, rejection is something we fear because it means someone did not like us or we were found lacking. In the animal kingdom, rejection occurs when an animal is shunned by the larger group or a parent. For humans, rejection is a type of relationship or rather a non-relationship. It happens when a person is excluded from a group. The reasons for such disenfranchisement are based on both facts and assumptions.

However, rejection is not always a bad thing. In the communications arena, a signal that is received without interference is said to be rejected. In basketball, it can mean a block, a defensive move that aids in accomplishing the team’s objective to win. In compiling statistical data, rejection describes a type of technique for data gathering of observations.

When a young person rejects peer pressure, they are lauded. After all, no one intentionally takes a path that leads to addiction or death. Yet, often, people are encouraged to “go with the flow” or “follow the crowd”. The courage it takes to do the right thing or make the right choice is seldom recognized or rewarded. Living a life of faith, a life whose direction encourages peace often means rejecting society’s norm.

Best-selling author Harvey McKay describes what it takes to be successful. “Most fears of rejection rest on the desire for approval from other people. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions. Worrying about the past or the future isn’t productive. When you start chastising yourself for past mistakes, or seeing disaster around every corner, stop and take a breath and ask yourself what you can do right now to succeed.”

Grammy-winning musical artist Taylor Swift explains how rejection helped her achieve her dreams. “A lot of people ask me, ‘How did you have the courage to walk up to record labels when you were 12 or 13 and jump right into the music industry?’ It’s because I knew I could never feel the kind of rejection that I felt in middle school. Because in the music industry, if they’re gonna say no to you, at least they’re gonna be polite about it.”

Rejection is never easy and often we focus on the pain it can cause. Being afraid to live one’s beliefs, though, because of rejection accomplishes nothing. If someone is going to bar you because of who you are or what you believe or how you live those beliefs, then they will find another excuse not to like you, to reject you.

Many in today’s world feel that they must conform; they must disregard what they believe in order to “get ahead”. To quote Charles Stanley: “Too many Christians have a commitment of convenience. They’ll stay faithful as long as it’s safe and doesn’t involve risk, rejection, or criticism. Instead of standing alone in the face of challenge or temptation, they check to see which way their friends are going.” Memoirs are full of people who express regret at how they conformed instead of being true to what they believed. Regrets accomplish very little.

What a better world we would have if we all gave up the regrets, used rejection as a motivator, and then renewed our life and its purpose! Having one number one record did not make Taylor Swift’s life perfect. She echoes Stanley: “You have people come into your life shockingly and surprisingly. You have losses that you never thought you’d experience. You have rejection and you have [to] learn how to deal with that and how to get up the next day and go on with it.”

Bo Bennett summed it up best: “A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.”

My Psalm 118

Bless you, O( Mighty One!
Your love is never-ending and endures forever.
It will sustain me and uphold me in the trials of life.
No matter what is said;
No matter what I face;
No matter how I hurt –
You are there with me, to heal me, to help me.
Blessed is He/She who picks me up when I fall, when I stumble, when I crash and burn.
Thanks be to you, Great Spirit!
Ain’t nothing you and I can’t get through!
You are my strength.

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