Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Tracey Mitchell's new book, Downside Up: Transform Rejection into Your Golden Opportunity (Thomas Nelson, 2013).
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Everyone encounters rejection in this fallen world. It may hit you as a major blow (such as a spouse's betrayal or a job loss) or through one of the minor yet hurtful ways that rejection can blow into your life (like negative comments someone makes about you or opportunities that turn into dead ends).
As painful as rejection can be, it doesn't have to work against you. Rejection can actually work for you if you use the experience as a springboard of opportunity to create a new season of success in your life.
Here's how you can rely on God's help to transform rejection into opportunity:
Understand how significantly your response to rejection will impact your life. The way you choose to respond to the rejection you experience will affect your confidence, your passion for living, and your potential for positive relationships. It will also determine which new opportunities God offers you. Responding negatively to rejection can destroy your dreams and discourage you, while responding positively can develop God's dreams for you and help empower you to achieve them. Decide to redirect the pain of rejection by using it to design a better life and to motivate yourself to move forward into that life.
Ask God to help you view yourself as He sees you. Clear away the distorted view of you that rejection may have placed in front of your eyes and pray for a vision of how God sees you. Write down a list of all the wonderful, God-given qualities that make you unique and remind yourself of them when you need to view yourself from God's perspective.
Overcome the desire to be perfect. Admit to yourself that you're not perfect and can never be perfect, since you're a fallible human being like everyone else. Stop trying to be perfect to please God or other people. Remind yourself that, even when others reject you, God will never reject you because He loves you completely and unconditionally. Refuse to listen to unproductive negative words from other people. Instead, renew your mind by reading and meditating on Bible verses that describe God's love for you and asking the Holy Spirit to bring those verses to mind whenever you need encouragement or need to replace a negative thought with a positive one. Pray for the Spirit's help changing your internal dialogue throughout each day, so that you tell yourself positive messages rather than negative ones. Rather than getting upset about your weaknesses, focus on your strengths. Instead of aiming for perfection, aim for excellence and simply try to do your best each day. Develop achievable goals, relax, be flexible, and embrace change.
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Whitney Hopler, Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer