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  • Stacey Sumereau

Rejection or Lost Opportunity? How to Avoid Disappointment and Insecurity

A few days ago, I got a text. It was one of my voice students “breaking up” with me. She said she had just lost motivation and was rethinking her decision to pursue a career in singing. Immediately a flash of insecurity hit me. Had I done something wrong? Was I the reason she lost her passion? Does she secretly think I’m a bad teacher?

Almost immediately, however, I recovered. I let go of those questions that, a few years ago, would have bugged me all day and run circles in my head. Having a voice student was a great little side income and I really enjoyed her nurturing her talent. However, as I’ve re-trained my brain from negative self-talk (more on that here,) I’ve come to learn and accept something fundamentally important:

Losing an opportunity does not necessarily reflect badly on you. In cases where you’ll never fully understand a person or situation, it's essential to give yourself the benefit of the doubt.

I have experienced rejection and disappointment many, many times. I used to be in the business of rejection, aka Musical Theater in NYC. Auditioning two or three times a day and experiencing rejection for six whole months should have made me tough, but to be honest I never quite got the hang of it then. Disappointment used to be my daily bedfellow in those days. I said unkind things to myself that I would never say to a friend. Why did I think it was okay to motivate myself with negativity and self-judgement? It wasn’t until I left theater and discerned religious life that I finally got to learn a hugely important truth:

Losing opportunities makes way for something God has in store for you that is BETTER than what you want now.

It’s true, friends. It’s so dang hopeful and it’s TRUE. Learning to live a surrendered life by praying the prayer of surrender (get that for free in your inbox by clicking the magical SUBSCRIBE button in the top right corner!) and learning to trust God has the side effect of making me a genuinely happier person. I have seen, time and time again, that God closing a door has created space for something else. Something better, and something that fulfills my deep desires more than the lost opportunity. In this instance, a free night without a voice lesson will create space for my podcasting/blogging/speaking ministry, fewer obligations for me meaning time for self-care, and less stress.

Surrendering to God also allows me to be confident. I don’t have to wonder if I’m good enough like I used to (although self-reflection into how I can improve as a singer and teacher are a must!) I still struggle- let’s be honest here- but I realize that the truest, best approach is NEVER to browbeat myself. If you're doing that, stop right now and just pray ten times:

Jesus, I love you. Take care of everything.

In Searching for and Maintaining Peace, Fr. Jacques Philippe writes: “the fundamental problem is that we employ too much of our own criteria as to what is not good and we don’t have enough confidence in the Wisdom and Power of God.” Words to live by, friends. So when you lose an opportunity, experience a rejection or a disappointment, or fail to give yourself the benefit of the doubt, take some deep breaths and join me in praying this simple prayer with each breath:

Jesus, I love you. Take care of everything.

And he will.

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