This week, my big girl got a ballerina’s dream – she gets to dance on a big stage with professional ballerinas. She got picked to be a mouse in The Nutcracker. But many, many little girls left the theater crying. That’s a hard hit for a girl.
The fact that she got the part was evidence of her tenacity. Just four years ago, she entered herself in a talent show and lost her nerve in front of a couple hundred people. Her daddy saved her that night with their favorite game called “lift the ballerina.”
I thought she might quit dancing after that night. She didn’t. She loves to dance, but she needed some time to conquer her stage fright. I’m so proud of her for keeping her dream ahead of her fear.
Rejection Is Coming
When I was in fourth grade, I tried out for a choir at the Catholic school I attended that year. I was certain I made it. I was certain I would get to be a singer the next school year.
Then I got the rejection letter in the mail. It read something like, “Thank you for trying out, but we’ve decided on a different lineup of singers.” Ouch.
That was probably my first big hit with rejection. I’m sure there were other times, but that one stands out because it came in such a formal way. It came in a FORM LETTER.
I’ve received my fair share of rejection form letters over the years. Each one still had a sting, but a few stick out. It was something I envisioned for myself and I felt like I didn’t do something right. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, that opportunity was more than I needed in my life at the moment. Sometimes, I’m protected by a “no.” Sometimes, I’m just not quite ready for the thing I think I want the most.
However, it took me a long time to get over the hurts of rejection. I actually believed that my worth was tied to the rejection in many ways. I heard what others said about with their “You’re better than that,” or “You’ll get it next time.” But I didn’t take it to heart.
YOUR Mindset Matters
Rejection can build deep pits and take years of reframed thinking to undo. It took me 32 years to get that rejection doesn’t have to steal the best of me.
I was 32 years old before I really took that to heart. I was reading Psalm 139. And these three verses changed my heart:
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:14-16 NIV
The truth is, I didn’t know that full well. I didn’t know that I was God’s work in progress. I believed He loved me. I believed He wanted what’s best for me.
But I didn’t understand that His plans are the best plans. That’s been my personal dying to self. I had to do some repair work on how I process love and worth.
And I didn’t realize how perfect His timing was. I had two little girls when I was 32. One was becoming a big kid, and one was my baby. They needed a mama who knew her worth to speak truth about herself. They needed a mama who would always speak truth into their lives.
I still struggle with rejection from time to time, but I did make a decision to replace my thinking with these words. I’m worthy of love because I’m loved by the One who made me. That’s got to be the basis of my thinking or I’m always going to feel rejected.
And that’s where Satan attacks our girls – in the part that matters to them most. Are they worthy of love? Do they matter?
Why Our Response to Their Pain Matters
That’s why I believe so deeply in walking through the pains our kids experience with them. Don’t explain it away.
Oh, I want to take it for my own. I’d do anything not to see that little face crumple. But that’s not my job. My job is to sit there and live it with her. My highest requirement as Mama is to show up and feel the feelings, even when I have super important things to do.
And y’all, that hard work pays off. That sitting there listening to the breakdown of every little detail of the rejection helps her to process it. Talking about it incessantly and you just hearing her puts her heart back to being a little girl’s heart.
Tenacity Blesses Others
My big girl is the most tenacious person I’ve ever met. She has a gift of steadfastness. She often puts me in my place with my words about myself.
She’s even tenacious in doing things she doesn’t like in “her way” just to show us.
But there’s something to be said about that character trait. Her tenacity means that she can really respond when a person is hurting.
For instance, she was thrilled she was selected for the ballet. I told her that going to ballet class even when she didn’t want to really paid off.
She agreed, but there was something else on her mind. She wasn’t overly excited. She needed to process something. And this was it – she didn’t like seeing others get rejected.
Cue the tears. We’re about to have a moment.
She really asked me if it would be ok for her to give her part to someone else. A particular girl she really admires. I loved her so much at that moment.
I told her that her heart was in the right place, but that this part was hers and she was to do her best with it.
Then, she related it to her own life, which is a new thing for us. (I’m actually thrilled about this.)
She said that she’d been talking to a friend on the phone about ballet class. The friend wasn’t happy with the discipline of the teacher. She wanted the teacher to be more challenging in class. She wanted to work harder. (I love that these girls had this conversation.)
So, here’s my proud mama moment. My big girl said, “Even if the teacher doesn’t work hard. You work hard. This is your dream. You do it.”
That’s why we raise tenacious kids, y’all. So they can pass it on.