Wednesday Wisdom Tip – Turning Rejection to Acceptance

Cut again!

Looking at the board in the locker room, Carrie was unable to believe she had failed to make the volley ball team for the second year in a row! She had tried so hard and she was the only one of her friends not to make it. She had worked out all summer, well, a little bit at least.

“God, why? I tried my harest, prayed, asked my mom and even some friends to pray. I even tweeted a verse on Twitter! Why did You let this happen again?”

There is nothing harder than rejection; nothing worse than feeling like we’ve failed. So if it hurts so bad, why does God let it happen?

My daughter, Mariah asked this same question when she didn’t make the basketball team in middle school. At nearly 5’11”, everyone said she’d make the team for sure! She thought so too! So after three grueling days of try outs, when the coach took her aside and told her the devastating news, she was completely shocked!

“Everybody including myself expected me to make the team,” says Mariah, now eighteen. “The worst thing is when people say things like ‘This is for the best’ but it really was true.”

Not making the basketball team caused Mariah to ask herself some tough questions. Was basketball her passion? If so, she needed to get busy and put some effort into some serious practicing. If not, what was?

Asking this question led Mariah to face it: basketball really wasn’t her thing. Truth is, it wasn’t her gift either. What she really loved was music.

Mariah took the rejection and turned it around. She began to reach toward the things she loved. She joined a prestigious choir that practiced at a higher level than most and traveled. She began voice lessons and piano too! She began to invest her time and effort into what she was gifted at.

So how did this new motivation turn out? Mariah traveled to Italy and even sang in the Vatican with her choir. She tried out for her school’s exclusive chamber choir normally reserved for juniors and seniors, becoming the only sophomore to make the group. She followed her passion which led her to find her niche.

Maybe your child is pursuing a sport or activity because it is her friend’s passion. This summer might be just the time to help her investigate new hobbies and find the one that fits her personal strengths and talents. This could even open a door for the two of you to some time together working out, making pottery, trying concerts with a new sound. Help her to allow the rejection of not succeeding in one area, to open the door of acceptance in another.

Side note: last night was Mariah’s last high school concert and it was amazing! Normally her performances are all classical pieces, but last night she did a little ditty with some friends. I thought I would share it with you!


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  1. It’s so true that we need to take the time to match our passion with our giftings! I don’t know how many times I’ve had to re-route what I was doing to match what God had for me.

  2. Courtney Lynn says:

    Thank you Lynn and Mariah. I needed to read this so much today!

  3. It’s my daughter’s birthday and how befitting for to comment on this post. She’s trying to find her niche, too. I think she’s looking into what makes her want to get up in the morning; or even do when she’s really tired. Then, that’s the thing that she should pursue. Thanks for the insight.

  4. Hi, I’m sorry but I must have read thru the advise? How did she work thru it and was there something special that was said. Maybe it’s just my son is taking rejection a bit harder? It seems your daughter didn’t suffer much at all and discovered basketball wasn’t her thing after all.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      You are absolutely right! I didn’t really offer any real advice.

      I can see how the way I told the story makes it appear as if there really wasn’t a lot of rejection. There is a lot more back story that I didn’t tell.

      Mariah started playing sports with her little sister when they were 7 and 5. It quickly became apparent as her little sister was hitting homers and playing catcher and she was striking out that she didn’t have the same gifting. She kept with it for over 6 years; some years going the entire season with never hitting the ball. So she switched to trying basketball. That’s what you do when you are in a family that leans towards athletics. So, yes, there were years of internal rejection for Mariah.

      When Mariah mentioned a choir that she had heard about, I encouraged her to look into it. I had her call the choir director and set up the audition…even though she was only 13. It was out of this investigation, her passion for music budded.

      I am so sorry I didn’t make things more clear. I could have offered so much more with more information.

      I am so sorry for the rejection your son is experiencing. We continue to face it on different levels on that high school is here. Keeps me continuing to pray daily for wisdom as they experience rejection for the positive choices they make.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I really appreciate your feedback.

      1. Elloise Shore says:

        Dear Lynn, thanx so much for this artical. My seven year old son takes rejection very hard and spins iut a bit when it happens. This has taught me to teach him to pray to find what his God given gift is. I will pray for him also. Please pray for us that my son Brandon will find his gift and usse it to glorify God.

  5. Pam Orndorff says:

    Thanks for sharing this. My now 14 yr. old has played soccer and basketball since he was 5 yrs old. . He really enjoyed playing. And was very good at it until he turned 13. At 13 he tried out for the school soccer team and for the first time was told he didn’t make the team. He was really bummed out. A note was sent home discretely to each child that didn’t make the team that if they wanted to come to the practices to work out with the team they were welcome too. So that night we discussed how it made him feel. He wasn’t real sure so with a little encouragement and alot of prayer I told him to think about it and if he wasn’t in the car rider line after school then I knew what he had decided. When my husband and I went to pick him up tears rolled down our faces. At that moment I realized how much wisdom and courage my boy had. He was the only one who showed up to practice with the team. This year he tried out and he made the team. They won the championship! He realized he really wasn’t that good at it and played for the fun of it so switched to something he likes and is really good at. He now plays the Oboe, saxophone, and learning the trumpet. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Pray alot, love deeply and communicate well and god will walk with you every step of the way.

  6. My son is now 21, but when he was 14 he tried out for the High School soccer team. Unfortunately his passion out stripped his ability and he did not make the team. Soccer had been his passion and commitment since he was 4 years old. At that point I had to tell him his options for continuing to play were very limited. He decided to keep working on it. After being rejected again for a local soccer team, he continued to work out and pray. After 2 weeks a spot on the local team opened up and he joined the team. He tried out again for the High School team as a Sophomore and was rejected again, he was devastated. I suggested he pray again, suggested he consider other activities, and offered private lessons if he wanted to continue. He choose to continue, played for the local team, took private lessons and worked really hard. The coaches were shocked when he showed up again his Junior year to try out for the team. As a Junior and Senior he finally realized his dream and made the team. While the rejection was hard on him, and me his Mom, it made him the person he is today (even he recognizes that). His character, commitment, dedication and perseverance are amazing. At the end of the High School soccer season the coaches talk about each of the graduating Seniors. While most of the kids heard about their soccer skills and abilities on the field, my son was told by the coaches what a terrific person he was, how his character and perseverance were amazing and an example to everyone (including them). God used this experience with my son to grow him in integrity, compassion, perseverance and commitment. My son uses those skills today in leadership as he leads other students at college in Bible Study, discipleship, and evangelism.

  7. Caroline McGinnis says:

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom Wendy. My daughter went through this with sports as well, she tried soccer and soft ball now she is playing tennis and loves it. She also has taken my advice and tried choir and drama and loves them as well. Sometimes it just takes a while to find what they like and what they feel they are good at and when they do their is no stopping them or turning back. the vedeo was amazing thanks for sharing it they all have a gift for music.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Thanks Caroline!

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