Earlier this week, my five year old son, Zechariah, had his very first crushing disappointment. In his young age, he hasn't taken too many risks. He's been well protected.
Last week I was watching one of his friends and took them both to Billy Vanilly for cupcakes where my sister works. They were having a coloring contest. Zech and his friend, Zana, were excited to enter the contest. Both of them colored so carefully and tried to stay in the lines.
This week, I got a text from my sister saying Zana won the contest for her age group. I thought Zech would be really excited in the same way that I was.
He was not excited.
He was crushed.
The tears wouldn't stop flowing. "I thought mine was nice."
He ran to the comfort of the bathroom to hide from me. When we are in the depths of despair, we often don't want to share our pain. It can be embarrassing to be that vulnerable to those around, no matter how much they love us.
I let him cry for a while before I joined him. The words coming from inside were enough to break my heart.
"I don't like Zana's picture. I just like my picture instead. I don't want to play that game anymore. I thought I won. I don't wanna do that coloring contest cause I hate that now."
When I finally went in, he was wedged in the corner between the door and the bathtub. He didn't want my comfort or my words of encouragement. He was sad, and a little angry.
His emotions were all over the place. He would abandon the idea of ever setting foot in that cupcake place again, and then the next line would be him promising to color his picture just like Zana did so he could win.
This was the first time he had been compared to another individual and he lost. It may have been something so small as a child's coloring contest, but I could tell he was questioning his worth. Was he good enough? Did he need to change and be like the other person to be chosen?
Rejection hurts. There is no way around it. You must go through it.
You don't know how much I wanted to hold him and tell him I would buy him a cupcake, the prize for the contest. To pretend with him that he had won. I could have easily smoothed things over, and convinced him that his picture was just as good, if not better.
But... would that have been beneficial? I could have rescued him. I could have been his savior from the pain. I chose not to. I chose to sit beside him and cry with him. I wanted God to be his Savior.
There is going to come a time where the "contest" is on a much bigger scale. A time will come when the outcome is huge, life changing. I want him to learn at a very young age that he is worthy and loved by God because of who he is, not because of what he's done.
"And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners." Romans 5:4-6
We will have adversity, suffering, rejection, and disappointments. But we have hope; we have a God who loves us enough to send his son to take our punishment. There is no person I love enough to sacrifice my child for. Does this take the pain out of our rejection? Not always.
It's about a choice. Will this make me bitter and angry? Or am I going to move on? I think the best thing we can do for ourselves is to ask God, "What now? What do you want me to learn? What do you want me to do? What are you speaking to me through this?" Remember that verse I mentioned, "This hope will not lead to disappointment." God is faithful. He might ask you to do something, or He might not. He can take our disappointments and turn them around for our benefit. God can make the undesirable beautiful.
Yesterday Zana was going to get her free cupcake. I asked Zech if he wanted to join her there and he could tell her she did a good job coloring. I gave him the chance, but respected his decision. He said, "No, I don't want to go there. I just want to be her friend."
I was proud of him. Sometimes we let bitterness creep in and ruin a friendship because of jealousy or rejection. Zech wasn't going to put himself in a place where he was reminded of his loss, but he was going to continuing being friends like always.
|Zana's is the 3rd picture!|