Do you know somebody who graciously dealt with blocked opportunities? Me, I know one. It’s myself. Lalayo pa ba ako? Before it crosses your mind that I’m being boastful here, let’s first give emphasis to the word “graciously”, from it’s root word GRACE, which means “underserved favor”, something that is not produced by human effort, but has been freely given to men by God. You may check out and ponder on these verses to learn more about Grace: (Romans 3:20-24; Ephesians 4:7; Ephesians 2:8-10) So maybe I’m boasting now, but that’s only because of what He has done through me. Apart from it, I can do nothing.
But really, it’s not like I’ve mastered dealing with rejections, terminations, and unanswered prayers. It’s just that over the years, God has taught me to endure, has given me the grace to do so, & to face the reality that rejections may actually be okay for my growth as a Christian.
Through Christ, I’ve learned to have a better perspective on rejection. I have a long list of closed door experiences: not getting the job I wanted, joining a national pageant for years and not being able to win a crown, not making it to fashion show go-sees for not being tall enough, not being liked by my childhood crush (Praise God!!! 😝), not making it as a lead actor for a broadway theatre show back in college, being denied to enter the United States when I was 17 years old, and a whooole lot more. — I used to question Him a lot for all these. And I used to be so horrible at dealing with rejections. I’d ask, why wouldn’t He give what I wanted if He really loves me? I’d be filled with shame and bitterness deep inside. Shame produced by my pride, and bitterness birthed by my innately ungrateful heart. These would be so evident back when when I did not clearly understand grace yet.
The thing about my rejected opportunities is most of the time I would want them so “BADLY”. I unawarely wanted them for the wrong reasons. Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Most of the things I wanted so much to attain were selfish passions. Like in not winning a crown, I’m not the only candidate in any pageant, if I call myself a Christian and feel bad for others’ reign just because I didn’t win, then that would make me a hypocrite. But hey, Jesus died for me already, so I shall no longer live for myself. It’s hard and it may seem impossible to not live for yourself, but nothing is impossible with Him. I mean, I would see it in my life now little by little. Back then, my eyes would be so focused on physicality, material possessions, earthly success stories, good image. But what’s the point of attaining all these if I won’t be able to bring them all to heaven? I’m not saying it’s wrong to be successful, but to wanna be one for selfish reasons, is what makes it wrong. In fact, it is in vain; for only what’s done for Christ truly lasts. (Romans 7:18) I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.<
I have read a book on how the early Christians selflessly lived their lives for Jesus, and it challenged me in a good way. If they could do it, then maybe I can too. Besides, we only have One God, we only glorify & worship One King, with the same great power and ability to transform & use us for His glory. I’m not saying that I’m going to be martyred for my faith, but if that happens, I pray God gives me the grace to endure. Here’s the link to the free ebook, you might be interested: A Little Book on the Reformation, by Nathan Busenitz.⚡️
So here’s how I dealt with some of the closed doors in my life:
1. Seek Godly counsel – I’d go directly to mentors/people with sound wisdom. (Proverbs 11:14) Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory. Graciously, God gave me the right people to go to. When I was terminated at PAL, people helped me reset my plans. I have friends from the aviation industry who helped me move forward, advised that I apply for other Airlines, and Spiritual mentors who covered me with prayers.
2. Accept rebuke. In relation to no.1, I make sure that I honour my mentors, asses their advise, be encouraged by their prayers and accept their rebuke when necessary. (Most of the time, rebukes are very much needed for me. Haha.) I make sure I go to someone who won’t feed my ego, but will really be transparent enough to tell me what’s wrong & why certain things won’t go my way. (Proverbs 15:31-33) He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline despises himself, But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding. The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility.
3. Pray unceasingly. Now that God has been enabling me to be enticed more on heavenly matters than the the earthly & temporary ones, I believe my prayer life has improved. I learned to pray for His will to be done and not be pushy with what I want. So how do I know His will? Through His Word. Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.” Also in Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” — I’m constantly learning to pray the right prayers. I no longer get as disappointed as I would be back then (especially during my early pageant years in 2013), because now, I’d graciously learn to rely on His will, having His Word as my life’s authority. Reading the Word of God everyday allows me to learn and understand His will for me.
Guys, being a Christian is really dying to self. (I knoow, mahirap talaga!😭) It may not be something we learn overnight, and not something we swiftly attain unless Grace does it to us. But pray unceasingly, will you? Be patient as you wait for His answer. Pray not to be bitter, pray to always be humbled. You know another thing that makes me so grateful about rejection? Through the personal rejections I had, I’d see how much the Lord has protected me. He knows my heart and what I’m capable of doing when I do things outside His will. I’m not saying that you are doing things out of His will, but if closed doors frustrate you, I pray you trust Him all the more. Faith is fully believing in what you hope for and being certain of what you do not see. That doesn’t mean believing merely in your dreams & goals in life, but believing that God is above it all and being certain that He is your ultimate goal. One more thing, rejection could be His way of disciplining us. Guess what the Word has to say about discipline: Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed instead.Hebrews 12:9-12 I’m grateful that I landed to an extent of grace that is too beautiful, healthful & helpful for my Christian growth that left me no room for self condemnation, that gave me ample time to be truly sorry for my sin, accept the things I’ve done wrong and change what I can change — by grace, through faith, in Christ. Grace also taught me that no matter how much goodness I do in this world, it will never be the basis of my salvation — for my goodness degrades the truth. I can never attain what my God has already done for me. Because even in trying to do so, thoughts of evil will enter my head, a little bit of selfishness, competitiveness, greediness, lust of the flesh and the heart. Sure, they do not materialise, I get to kill the ideas before it becomes actual sin, but it is still sin. That’s why I’m excited for the day where I’ll go to a place where none of the ugliness and filthiness of any man’s heart will exist. I’m excited for heaven. “He will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face and remove His people’s disgrace from the whole earth, for the Lord has spoken.”Isaiah 25:8 Let’s rejoice with opportunities that didn’t unfold right in front of us. Greater things are yet to come, may not be in this world, but in our true home. Every Christian’s citizenship isn’t in this world, we’ve got eternity waiting for us, heaven!!!❤️
So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4