How Rejection Can Strengthen Your Faith

Updated Nov 10, 2014
How Rejection Can Strengthen Your Faith
Dealing with rejection? Here's why it's not something to dread.

It just felt icky.

I stared numbly at the computer screen, willing myself to click “Send” again. But no dice. The mouse didn’t want to move. Or maybe I didn’t want to move.

It was time to fire off another resume in my year-long job search. A year is a long time, and it was beginning to feel like a fruitless year at that. Was I taking two steps forward in life, only to take two steps back?

It was September again, a time for new beginnings. And here I was, still sitting at my desk at home, doing the same thing that I did last September. Writing away, looking for job openings, dealing with rejection.

Things were better in some ways. I’d probably gained some maturity and some discipline. My home office was in a nicer location—we’d moved it out into the family room where there was more daylight. We’d also moved to a new church and had settled in, making a lot of wonderful connections.

But the career thing continued to bog me down.

I had just come out of one more intensive job application process, jumped through a litany of hoops for a dream position—and I had gotten so close. But they chose another candidate. They didn’t want me. They wanted someone else. 

I would look around at my peers, at women my age, at women younger than me. I’d see librarians, teachers, doctors, counsellors, dentists and lawyers. Then I’d look at myself, ten years after university graduation. No job title. Unstable, piecemeal income. Just a stay-at-home mom trying to fumble her way back into the workforce.

“Don’t waste your life”, a well-meaning family member told me. “You’re so smart. You’ve got so much potential. Make something of yourself.”

Right. Make something of myself. Because right now, I’m nothing.

I felt like such a loser.

A week after that painful rejection, I phoned my friend Soo to chat—and also to lick my wounds.

“Welcome to the feeling of being a nothing,” she said.

My eyes widened. Excuse me? Is that supposed to make me feel better? But before I could work myself up into a nice huff, she kept talking.

“It’s so hard, but it’s so good,” she said. “Isn’t that the crux of the Christian life? That in our weakness, God is made strong? I’m asking myself the same question right now, when I feel incompetent and out of my element. Can I be okay with that? Can I be okay with being downtrodden, humbled and rejected?”

She paused, the air thick with meaning. “It really reminds me that my identity isn’t in what I achieve. My identity isn’t in what I do. It’s in what my Savior did for me.”

I stifled back a wave of emotion. She was so right. And I was so thankful for the wake-up call.

Lord God,I silently prayed, I’m sorry for forgetting who I am in Christ. I give you all my hurt and all my pain. Heal me. I know I am a somebody in Christ and in nothing else. I give you my talents and abilities and I once again, every day trust that you know what you are about. That You know my abilities because You created me. So I know You will use my abilities for your kingdom and for others. Take my job search and do Your will.


A few weeks later, another job interview popped up. Dare I hope again?

“Pray for me,” I gushed to Soo. “This is a dream job. It’s just perfect. It’s tailored for me! I really think God might be in this new opportunity...”

“It’s not really about whether God is in the opportunity,” Soo responded.  “God’s always in it. He’s God.”

“Then what’s it about?”

“It’s about your attitude. It’s about how you respond—whether or not you get the job.”

Again, she was so right. And after this round of interviews, I was dealt yet another no. I wasn’t the best fit, they said. I was highly qualified, but just not enough.

But this time, I didn’t feel quite so deflated. My faith was just a little stronger and my reaction just a little less glum. This time, my job search had been nestled in the safe confines of biblical wisdom uttered by a good friend, and nestled in a prayer uttered to God in faith and trust.

Julia Cheung Headshot Julia Cheung is a cultural analyst and journalist of relationships, always on the lookout for stories of beautiful misfits. She lives in Vancouver BC with the loveable motley crew of her pastor husband and two preteen children.  She is a bundle of antitheses, a lover of truth, a teller of tales,  a too often emotional egoist and a fervently curious anti-narcissist. You can find her online at