Everyone has had it happen, and it hurts. It is when you worked for something, you put yourself out there, and someone else was chosen for what you wanted.
You applied for your dream job…but were passed over.
You wanted to get into that graduate school…but you didn’t make the cut.
You sought a promotion…but someone else got it.
You tried out for the team…and were left to be in the stands instead of on the bench.
We know the feeling. It is painful–because we wanted it so much–to be told “no,” or even possibly, “you’re not good enough.”
(By the way, as an aside, I have often wondered about the man we are told about in Acts 1 who is named “Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus” [v.23]. Can you imagine being the one who was not chosen to be an apostle, while Matthias was? I have no doubt that Joseph handled it well, but it has intrigued me for a long time.)
When those times come and you are not the one chosen, what can you do? While this is not an exhaustive list, here are 6 things that I would hope every Christian would do.
1. Prayerfully Evaluate Yourself. It is easy to assume that you were better qualified, more prepared, or more gifted than you actually were. After all, we are striving to put our best foot forward, so we emphasize (maybe overemphasize?) our good traits. Is there something you could have done better? Is there some training or education you need? Could you have been more humble? More well-spoken? More prepared for the interview?
2. Take Your Frustration to God. God created us with emotions, so He understands when we are frustrated and hurt. While we must always remember to be reverent toward God in our prayers, it is acceptable to pour out our frustrations to Him. After all, as a loving Father, He wants to hear from His children!
3. Respect the One Who Got the Position. You did not get the job (or promotion or position), but someone did, and they have feelings, too. Scripture commands us to “rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15), and that is not always easy! Even if you feel that you were more qualified or prepared, respect that the leaders did the best they could, and do not ruin this positive moment for someone else.
4. Be Gracious of the Leaders and the Process. I have literally seen people who were passed over for a job or position take to social media to blast those who did not choose him/her. Such is unbecoming of a Christian! Leaders, in a vast majority of cases, are doing the best they can and are trying their best to have the best process in place. Give them the grace they deserve as leaders and respect the system used of selection.
5. Learn and Grow. The sting of the moment is very real, but if you will use it properly, you will come out on the other side better. How many of our best doctors did not get into their first choice of medical school, but used that to better themselves, and we are better for it! How many preachers did not get that job, but are far better preachers because they know better how to have humility from that “rejection?”
6. Trust that God Has a Plan. Is it not at least possible that, in His perfect providence, God would like you to take this time where you feel rejected and use it to His glory? Maybe you didn’t make the team so you can use that time to learn Scripture better and teach a friend. Maybe you did not get the job over there because you need to shine His light right where you are. Maybe you did not get into that school and it is because it would have been a place where you were tempted to move away from the faith. Even through times when you feel passed over, trust that God has a plan.
None of this is meant to say that you won’t feel down, hurt, or even rejected. The pain is real and natural; every person knows that feeling. But as people of God, there is a right way to handle every situation, even when someone else gets what you wanted. I pray these things will help you when that moment inevitably comes.
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn