Learning Joy In Rejection

giraffesdancing

I’ve told the story before about a giraffe named Gerald who dreams of being a dancer with the other animals in the jungle.  Gerald has the desire but his ability to dance like the others isn’t quite up to par.  His knees are crooked and his legs are thin.  All the other animals mock him when he approaches the jungle dance floor.  His swagger  (as they say in jungle-eeze) isn’t zig-zaging like the others.

Gerald took lessons, studied the moves, more grooves, and eventually developed his own style. One day, on jr.audition day, Gerald showed up prepared to zig and zag in a confident direction.  After many hours on the dirt floor, he perfected a secret move all his own and still wasn’t chosen.

As he lumbered off in a dejected fashion, the lonely lanky spotted giraffe felt rejection from his “wanna-be’s”.  Downcast, he met up with his cricket friend who chirped “Gerald, you just need a different song.” Gerald’s heart lightened a little as he took the cricket’s advice.  He retreated to his own little jungle corner to let his heart dance free.

Soon, Gerald was prancing and sashaying once again.

Suddenly, a crowd gathered in amazement and recognized Gerald could dance after all.  All he needed was his own little space be brave and bold, freedom to unleash his rhythm by the light of the moon.

It might seem strange to you to tell you I think about Gerald often.  I know how this kind of rejection feels.  What the story doesn’t tell you is Gerald had a lot of doubt going into dancing.  So much doubt he wanted to give up.  He wanted to do anything else instead of dancing.  Gerald also had a big heart to teach others to dance but he couldn’t lead out because he felt unqualified.

The story didn’t mention how Gerald was faithful to his craft.  There were lots of practices he only watched from the outlying and surrounding undergrowth as the other animals gracefully swayed.  Gerald watched in wonder at their magical skill.  He longed to be included and seen by them.  But shamefully, self-doubt kept coming against him.  Opposition came in the jeers and taunts of his so-called friends.  Provocation came from his inner critic.  He was discouraged and just wanted to give up.

Why does this story move me so much?  It has a happy ending like most children books do and Gerald found the courage to recover a dream.  For me, it also speaks of how we should never give up uncovering who God created us to be.  If you are honest with yourself, wouldn’t you admit you want to belong somehow?

The search for purpose sometimes leads a person to unexpected places.  Michael Hyatt says to do “what makes you cry” in life.  What I’ve found so far is dreams are full of hard work and lots of practice.  There’s lots of pieces to making a dream work.  There’s even more work to get someone to notice your dance in a jungle full of excellent dancers.

So why should we try?  If Micheal Hyatt were here now I would ask him, “What’s the point?”  It doesn’t matter if you are a musician or not, please watch Victor Wooten’s talk. His lessons about life, success, creativity, learning, passion, permission and smiling are profound.

In using my creative confidence, I still have some lessons to learn.  Like Gerald, my dance doesn’t look like others, but mine is a worthy and weighty move .  I have also learned to not lean on feelings but to dance anyway.  Taking action on an idea requires applied practice and a dedication to stay the course.  Dancing takes courage, skill, and ability.  It takes guts to put your best foot forward.  It’s risky, hard and you may lose.  But… you will never know discovery unless you try.  It’s never to late to be what you might have been.

What lies behind us, and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.

Speaking metaphorically, life is a dance.  We all have a unique design made by a God without rival.  And when an incomparable God has placed His uniqueness within, it’s our best response to practice and sing in the octave He gave you.  There’s no two dancers the same, each are unique in every way.  And finally, God just loves it I show up for practice, even with my deficiencies.

So where are you in this dancer’s world?

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When You Compare

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Pinning your hearts on what the world says about you instead of believing what God says about you is damaging.  The world is a twisted version of what God intended and it takes a relationship with the One who made you to live from His approval of you.  Your worth was worth dying for by Jesus.  You might think this sounds cliché, but it’s true.  Your identity was sealed on the day of your accepting that there is a better way in Jesus.  So why do we compare ourselves with others or with ourselves?

It’s dangerous, and full of pride.  Don’t go there!

  1. Comparisons kill. 2 Corinthians 10:12 says, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”  It’s not a good practice to measure yourself to the standards of man. That makes you a fool!
  2. Comparisons destroy humility. “We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or clever, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking, there would be nothing to be proud about.” ~ C.S. Lewis.  Comparing only measures where you fall short, or fail at something, again foolish and that’s a poverty mindset!
  3. Comparison fools our focus. When you compare you are fooling yourself, allowing resentfulness and bitterness take root in your life.  The road to entitlement is a slippery slope often bypassing gratefulness and contentment.  “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. ” Philippians 4:11-12.

Remember Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God loves you, and has chosen you to be His child before the foundations of the world were created.  Accept that He made you to be you!  You have been given a unique and purpose!

God doesn’t compare His children, so why do you?  Knowing who are in Christ is also knowing who you don’t have to be.

Think of your life like this:  You are an apple tree seed, designed to bear a certain kind of apple.  In a sense, the tree is already in the seed; God put it there.  The seed is the glory of God that is divinely placed, your potential.  Before the apple seed can realize its full potential and become an apple tree it must be planted in the proper environment where it can be nurtured and cared for.  When all the conditions are right – fertile soil, irrigation, the proper climate and the plenty of sunshine—the seed will sprout and produce a tree.  That is the way God designed you, the tree, and the fruit is your glory with crisp, juicy apples.  The apple seed will “become” a fruit-bearing tree, and the kind of fruit that God intended it to be.

You are uniquely you with a God placed vision for your life!   God has made you with His glory inside and He always sees beyond the obvious!  He looks past what is to what can be.  God has planted in us dreams, ideas, passions, imagination, creativity and hope.  These things require the right environment in order to flourish and come to fruition.   Choices we make every day affect both the environment in which we live and breathe and grow.  How we spend our time, our money, how we feed our bodies, the ideas and images that fill our minds form books, movies, or the internet…all of them have an effect on our “trees”!   So don’t compare your tree, patterns of behavior or imitate any fakers.  You have what it takes inside of you to become what God has planned for you!

Keeping yourselves clean, pure and free of comparisons brings contentment and allows God’s perfecting work in you to become what He intended.  That doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes or have flaws but in your weakest moment, you are still powerfully loved.  God’s love overpowers all that you are not!  If an apple tree dies in the seed, we never see its fruit, its glory.  God wants to release you to your full potential.  So be you…you have been divinely designed!  Jesus has given you all the approval you need and nothing compares to that!