Like most people, I hate rejection.
The thing I don’t like about being told ‘no’ is that it makes me feel small. I almost always regret making my request, even if I deny it. The old adage, “It is better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all” is true or whatever, but it doesn’t mention how bad a series of solid NO’s hurts.
I quit my career last May.
I worked my butt off for five years to get a degree in Civil Engineering, and I did. I graduated, moved back home, and I started applying for jobs. A few months later, I was hired on as a Staff Engineer at a top Civil Engineering firm in the Bahamas. I was surrounded by amazing engineers, and offered the opportunity to progress my career at a pace that was much quicker than most Junior Engineers.
I was excited…until the newness wore off and the same old dread I had felt during my studies started to settle in my bones. I still hated it. I thought working in the field would open my eyes to another side of engineering that I hadn’t seen before, and it did, but the revelation only served to confirm that this wasn’t the career for me. What do you do when, in the absence of passion, obligation isn’t enough to fuel you anymore? This is the point I was at, this is the question I was asking myself.
So after one year of working in the field I’d torn myself a part to break into, I quit.
Now, this story is a lot more complex than that, but I will expound in another blog post.
For right now I want to talk about the past eight months and how I have learned to welcome the word NO. I have applied for dozens of jobs since I resigned, and have been on more interviews in this period of time than I had been on in my entire life. I heard A LOT of No’s.
When they started rolling in, I was shook. I cried when I went on two interviews for a position I felt I was more than qualified for and still got the call that it had gone to somebody else. I questioned my ability to write a decent Cover Letter, I changed the layout of my resume at least five times, I practiced sitting up straight and making eye contact in the mirror, I rehearsed the answer to the inevitable question that always came up, “Why would you quit such a great career so quickly?”
I questioned my motives, my inner strength, my determination, and my desires. I went to war with myself because I was convinced that I was doing something wrong. It honestly was not until I wrote the blog post about the blessings in dark places that I felt completely at peace with my process. (‘But Daniah you just wrote that blog post a few weeks ago.’ Yes, girl. It took a while.)
The week after I quit my job, I was heavily convicted about starting the blog. I’d felt led to do it for years, but I never did. I made excuses and danced my way out of guilt. Well, it all came crashing down on me in that moment when I was on my bedroom floor sobbing hysterically because I felt the weight of a buried gift rotting inside of me.
Two days later I posted my first blog post, and I have been fumbling with the words and loving it ever since. I’m in process, a growing process. And it wasn’t until the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I have been placed in this season for a reason that I began to understand why my heart posture is important.
We go through tough times, and we go through rough times, but if all we do is GO through and not GROW through, we will feel victimized. We will ask all the questions our insecurities bring to the forefront, like why is it happening for them and not for me? Why do bad things always happen to me? Why is my life so horrible? Why do I suck?
I was placed in a position where I had to experience repeated rejection so that I understood that Yahweh is ordering my steps. Had I got that very first position I interviewed for, I would not have started writing. I would not have learned what it means to pray unceasingly. I would not have fallen in love with the Scriptures. I would not have learned what it means to truly worship with everything I have. I would not have learned that provision comes from Yahweh. I would not have learned that it is possible to have complete peace in the midst of complete chaos. I would not have learned that I could go through trying times where I had no control and CHOOSE not to panic. I would not have learned that I can pick my perspective. I would not have discovered who I am, aside from my abilities and talents.
If you’re honest, you can probably admit that when you were in a waiting period longer than you anticipated, you learned more than you realized. I had to shut off my complaining long enough to allow the Holy Spirit to show me all the lessons.
So how do you handle No? You realize that what’s yours is yours, and there’s no devil in Hell that can stop it from being yours. If the answer is No, that means it wasn’t yours. We always think that Yahweh is going to order our steps with a series of Yes’s, but sometimes He has to show you where you DO belong by slamming the doors to the all the places you DON’T belong.
I’ve learned that the enemy has no access to what Yahweh has labeled as ours from the beginning of time. He can, however, influence the way we see ourselves and who we think we are, how we choose to speak, what we focus on, how we feel, and how long we stay in seasons that were meant to be moments of transition, not places of rest. He doesn’t have to take away what’s meant for us if he can convince us that we’re not worthy of having it, we’re not experienced enough to sustain it, we’re not smart or pretty enough to receive it, we don’t have the strength or talent to reach it, we’re not capable of keeping it, or that we’re straight stupid for believing we could ever have it.
More than anything else, the enemy will use your insecurity, lack of identity, and intimidation to stop you from ever pursuing your purpose. He will disorient you so bad that you don’t even consider the fact that you were crafted and designed, created and called for a specific reason. He will convince you that there’s no such thing as destiny to stop you from ever seeking it. And if he can stop you from ever pursuing purpose, he doesn’t have to work to keep you bound, because you’re doing it for him. Your life will always be in uproar when you’re operating in spaces you’re not graced to be in. When you heed the call and follow the voice of Yahweh, you are released from prisons you’ve been placed in through misalignment. Alignment brings peace, freedom, provision, and protection. All of these things are internal, that means that your circumstances do not have to dictate your inward state.
I gained encouragement from King David when he was on the run, constantly seeking refuge from a king (who also happened to be his father-in-law) that was so jealous of him and his success that he hunted him down until the day he died. I read up on Joseph, who, before he was the Prince of Egypt, lived an upstanding life, but still ended up hated by his own family, enslaved, accused, imprisoned for half his life at the time, and forgotten. I thought about the prophet Daniel was ripped from his home country and enslaved in the land of his enemies, lied on, and then thrown into a lion’s den for being himself. These men had it rough. Life wasn’t all well and dandy for them either. But somehow they managed to view their suffering through the lens of Yahweh’s perspective, and that’s how they were able to make it through and accomplish the monstrous calls that Yahweh placed on their lives. I was tasked with viewing every ‘No’ from Yahweh’s perspective, and it wasn’t easy, but it taught me that how we choose to view suffering determines how much we learn from it.
I don’t know everything, but I know an Aligned You is a lethal weapon to the kingdom of Hell. And the enemy knows this, so he keeps us quiet and afraid, knowing that we’re meant for more, but also knowing that he can never destroy Yahweh’s plan, only attempt to stop us from seeking Him out long enough for Him to reveal it to us.
I had one goal when I quit my job: not to panic.
I have a history of flipping out and letting anxiety get the best of me. I’ve been known to work myself into hysteria and become so consumed by fear and worry that I end up depressed. But I was determined that no matter what happened, no matter who told me No, no matter how many rejection e-mails and phone calls I got, no matter how long it took for me to find another job, I would not allow panic to consume me.
I had a few moments where I felt like a running piece of fabric – like I was slowly coming undone, one thread at a time. I felt myself slowly losing my grip on the confidence that everything would work out fine. I felt the darkness growing closer, and the fear getting thicker, but I was always able to claw my way out of the hole before I got too deep in, something I was never conscious enough to ever do.
I learned how to hold my peace in this season, I learned how to choose my thoughts carefully. I learned how to encourage myself late at night when I felt panic beating down my back door. I learned to worship when I was in distress about how much money I needed but didn’t have. I learned to pour out my heart in prayer when I was bombarded by questions about my future that I couldn’t answer. I learned to write in the midst of my own creativity famine, and how to find myself in the stories told in scripture.
I learned how to fight in this season. My process taught me who I am, but also who Yahweh is.
I needed every, single No. I needed every wave of disappointment to build my resolve. I needed the blows to make me stronger. I needed to come back from every low place so that I could learn the way to the high places. I needed to be pruned so that I could be healthy. I needed to be pressed to be refined. I needed to feel alone so that I would know that I am never alone.
That’s how you handle No, you trust Yahweh’s unfailing hand that is guiding you every single step of the way. You choose to trust Him, you choose His way above your own, you choose to follow His leading instead of allowing desperation to cause you to be random. You lean in to the Yes you released when you set your feet on the path to purpose. And you believe that even the No is working for your good.
You do this every time you face rejection and you’ll find that your faith muscles are being strengthened. Focus on each instance, take it one step at a time, not thinking about past or future rejection. I am not telling anyone to go and quit your job, but this was my process, and it’s what I needed to go through in order to force me to address some huge misconceptions and character flaws I had. My faith is all I know, and to be honest it’s the only way I know how to process the things that happen in this life. I cannot rely on any other source but Yahweh, and He has yet to fail me.
Over eight months, and dozens of No’s later, I finally got my Yes, the Yes that Heaven sent, and the Yes that I am ready to receive.
I am aware that that sounded like someone propsed to me… they haven’t. I am employed though.
You don’t know what’s on the other side of your process, and you don’t know who you can become if you go through it. But I can promise you that if you submit to it, if you choose to face the pain Yahweh’s way, He will make it work for your good, and you’ll maintain your peace the whole time.
I don’t know what is next for me, but I’ll tell you one thing I do know…whatever it is, I’ve been trained for it.
In the words of this FANTASTIC motivational, fist-pump worthy track by Pastor Steven Furtick, I Can Handle It.