You’re good. You’re not just good, you’re exceptional. A cut above the other really talented people. A torque-tight set of skills, but…
There’s a few others in line before you.
The bronze medal is an accomplishment that not many ever have the resilience to reach, but it ain’t gold.
The day you find out you’re not needed can have the same feeling as not getting picked for dodgeball – or sometimes even worse, getting picked after someone who obviously doesn’t have near the dodgeball acumen and experience. And on top of that, it’s your dodgeball!!
You have a couple options:
GET YOUR BALL AND GO HOME
After all, you have the right to do so. Those losers can get their own ball, but in reality, nobody else loses aside from you. You not only lost your prized ideal of a preferred future, you also lost friends. This is the same as “scorched earth” which was Hitler’s last plan of desperation when he was retreating from the Eastern Front.
The inevitable outcome of this response is bitterness.
Don’t get bitter. Get better! This may seem like your emotions are being judged as an overreaction or petty sensitivity but it’s not. Take a moment and cool off. Get alone and have a good cry. Talk to God and tell Him you’re thankful for bringing you this far. Ultimately isn’t He the one that places you in some strategic place in this life that only you can fit?
Could it be that maybe He’s testing you to see if you treasure the gift He’s given you over the giver Himself? Paul’s letter to the Romans begins with this as the main reason for our backward nature toward God, after all, He’s done for us.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Ingratitude is really the main driver behind bitterness. Francis Schaeffer commented on the first and last of the 10 Commandments (“You shall have no other gods before me.”, and “You shall not covet.”) saying that all of the offended commandments in between them are a result of ingratitude against God and/or neighbor.
HOW TO INCREASE GRATITUDE
Back to the Bible, Paul gives us some insight on how to cultivate a spirit of genuine gratitude.
19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20
This isn’t fake-it-til-you-make-it hackery but it will NOT feel as natural as searing anger. It has to be cultivated through dying to self. Don’t choke yet. This is the only way to grow. You have to get beyond the needs of self in order to truly live. Sure that sounds like something your pastor would say but what does he know, right?
Denying yourself can seem like allowing your lungs to burn as a result of holding your breath. It may seem like you’re going to die if you expose yourself to this on a regular basis but you won’t die. Your old desires that exist only to please self and not others are burning up within you. This is good because it’s stealing their power over you. It’s at this moment that the Spirit of God can take up more residence in your heart.
Know this too that God doesn’t waste anything. He will gather up the broken pieces of your pain and mold them into something beautiful. He’s the ultimate DIY junkie and can do things with your heartache that you never thought possible!