From Rejection to Resiliency

Photo of a glass ceiling, from John Ed Mathison's Blog "From Rejection to Resiliency", illustrating the metaphor of Naomi Campbell breaking the glass ceiling

One of the first black models to gain global stature was Naomi Campbell. At age 49, she has managed to maintain a legendary career even though she has to compete in an industry with women half her age. She has learned how to deal with rejection and discrimination. She said, “I’ve been told so many nos and not possibles… I used those to build a strong resiliency.” 

How do we handle unjust treatment and discrimination? There are a lot of people who would like to pull us down. I’ve heard that when you have a group of crabs in a can and one of the crabs tries to climb out, the rest of the crabs reach up and pull him back down into the can. The crabs won’t let any crab get out of the can. That’s a lot like society!

I’ve seen good athletes who start to excel when a lot of peers and coaches don’t want to let them get outside the norm of accomplishments. They find ways to stop them. Teachers and bosses devise creative ways to hold people back. It’s one thing for a person to know that the future is wide open, but it’s another thing to always bump into those glass ceilings that people put up.

The good thing about the gospel of Christ is that Jesus never put ceilings on people! In fact, He was always inspiring people by showing them the possibilities of what they could be. He dealt with tax collectors, prostitutes, religious hypocrites, murderers, ordinary people, etc. He showed everybody how they could accomplish unbelievable things.

Naomi was also a person who didn’t handle racism well early in her life. She lived with a single mom. Because of her situation, she developed a terrible attitude and a negative self-image. The anger and frustration built up in her until she pleaded guilty to assaults three times as a young person. She even turned to drugs and alcohol.

But she said, “I’m so grateful to God to be a recovering addict and a recovering alcoholic.” She feels that God gave her a second chance in life. She’s turned from uncontrolled anger to a strong resilient personality. She’s continuing to pursue the best that God has for her.

Anger, resentment, jealousy, hatred—these will kill you. God can give a second chance and deliver you from any of these. The answer is not in alcohol or drugs but in His grace. Claim that today!

And don’t let the nos and not possibles govern your life. Hear the words of Jesus for you, “All things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

Claim God’s promise through Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

You can be a model of God’s plan!

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