“Thanks for coming, we’ll get back to you soon.”
“You’re really great, but we’ve decided to go a different direction”
“We really enjoyed meeting you, but we are going with another candidate”
“Thanks for auditioning, but we have chosen another person”
Rejection. We’ve all dealt with it at one point or another- whether it be a job, an audition, friendships, a dating situation and or something else. Rejection is never fun, it hurts, and makes us feel unworthy, unqualified, and many times unloved. Rejection is usually at the core of a big change, a decision to quit, or it can be the very thing that propels a person’s future. Rejection and Failure are two things that have pushed many to the next level and have helped some succeed. But it all depends on the way we look at rejection. In the moment, rejection is so painful and I know that whenever I have been rejected, or sensed rejection, It takes me a bit to bounce back and continue toward my goal. I have never been one of those people that allows rejection to hurt me so badly that I quit, or feel like I can’t continue until a couple years ago. I have lived a really great life and I attribute that all to God watching out for me. I’m sure I have been made fun of or teased during my adolescents like many others, but I was shielded from seeing this or feeling this. I have not experienced rejection yet when it comes to a career, but I’m sure if and when that happens, I will be hurt. But I have experienced rejection as a violinist and because this is one of my passions, and a huge part of my life, it has been devastating for my soul. This rejection has been on going throughout the last 9 years.
Now the rejection has occurred for about 9 years, but I really began to feel defeated and completely broken over it the last couple years. If you’re just now following along, I am a middle school orchestra teacher by day, but I am also a professional violinist in the Springfield area, playing for events, weddings, and a member of a couple orchestras. I have been blessed with so many performance opportunities while living in the area over these last 11 years. And while I have had countless performance opportunities and gigs, (thank you Lord for opening those doors), there is one performance arena in which I have auditioned numerous times and been rejected and that’s the Springfield Symphony.
Ever since college -way back when in 2006 ( so long ago), I have had my heart set on being a part of the Springfield Symphony. I knew that I would have to work hard, practice and practice, and audition to hopefully get in but I didn’t realize that it would be a 10 year commitment of me trying out to only be rejected again and again. I was such a dreamer back in those days- I would dream and dream about being a part of this group and all the other possibilities that could come from playing violin. Now- as I mentioned, I have been beyond blessed! God has really opened so many incredible doors and for events/ performances that I never thought I would have performed at or people I never could have dreamed I would perform with. So I’m not saying that I have felt rejection with my violin playing all the time, but because playing with Springfield Symphony was and is a huge dream for me, that rejection has really scarred me. I like to joke and sometimes try to make light of the situation by saying “ I’m Springfield’s longest running auditioned violinist and I still haven’t made it in.” But truth is… I am and was really hurt and broken from the experience.
So here’s the story, or at least a little snapshot of the story to understand the rejection I have been dealing with. I began auditioning for Springfield Symphony back in 2008, as a Sophomore at Evangel University. Now, I must have been a huge dreamer during this time, because I set out to audition and to make it, but I in no way was ready. While I wasn’t completely ready, I do believe that I have learned something new about the audition process and myself every time I have auditioned and I am very thankful for that. So every year since then, I sign up, send my resume, and pay my $25 deposit to perform a blind audition in front of my previous teachers, and colleagues. It is still nerve-racking, terrifying, and now even more humiliating. So as you can see, I don’t give up easily- I try and I try and then I try some more. But here’s the kicker. About 5 years ago, I did make the on-call list for 1st and 2nd violin, so I have been performing with the Springfield Symphony on many occasions as a sub. I also perform many weddings, and other outside events with Symphony friends, and many times, I am the person many of them call to take an event or a performance gig if they can’t due to Symphony or something else. I have also listened to many other violinists perform their auditions ( some of which are now in the Symphony), that messed up during their auditions and didn’t play all the excerpts the best, but somehow they made it in. It is really irritating when things are not done fairly and I see in-consistencies in the evaluating process.
It hurts that I am apparently good enough to play as a sub, good enough to be asked to perform at special events with others, good enough to be given other performance gigs, but obviously not good enough to be a full time symphony member. After auditioning 11 times, I had finally had it. The last 2 auditions, I just gave up and no longer wanted to go. Again- I am not a quitter… never have been! But something inside me finally just said “enough is enough” and “ I obviously am not going to make it, no matter how hard I try.” You know these are the things that the devil wants me to think- he wants me to give up, to not work for something that I have wanted for so long- he wants me to be broken.
Friends, here’s the point- We may not be able to change the situation and we may still experience rejection from time to time, BUT we CAN change the way we look at it. Over this last year, I have tried thinking about the audition process and Symphony a little differently and that has drastically changed my view point and feeling of rejection. I still feel the sting of that rejection every once in a while, but I have begun to look at it as a learning process and as an area of development for me as a person. I also began to realize and ask myself the what if’s: What if this wasn’t what God had for me? What If I had dreamed this dream for myself, but God had something different in mind? What if he does have that in the plan for me, but just not yet?
With these realizations all I can do is continue to seek God on this matter, and continue to pursue that dream until I feel like God doesn’t have that for me. I am not a quitter and I will not allow myself to quit because of rejection. Yes, it hurt… and still does, but I have decided that I will work my butt off and continue to try as hard as I can to be the best violinist I can be- to do the best with the talent God has given me and go and ROCK that audition. I will be ready the next time auditions come around and this time I won’t let my hurt feelings get in the way.
Have you experienced rejection in an area that really hurts? Have you decided to give up on a dream or goal, or are you pushing forward past the rejection?
I would love to hear you stories in the comments. Thanks for reading.
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