Everyone suffers an occasional rejection. Some high school seniors don't get into their college of choice. Many a college graduate doesn't get the dream job he or she had counted on. Suitors are turned down. Social slights abound.

Some people so internalize the rejections they encounter that they become paralyzed by life. They abandon their dreams. They settle for less than God intended with their lives. They give up and resign themselves to mediocrity. They allow the judgments other people pass on them to define them. What a shame!

Imagine the difference that would have been made in our world if certain people had accepted others' rejection of them as the final word on their worth. Beethoven's music teacher said he was "hopeless" at composing. The Wright brothers were ridiculed for their dream of a flying machine. Albert Einstein was feared to be mentally retarded as a child. Martin Luther King was born to a culture that had institutionalized racism to make people like him "stay in their place."

You've no doubt seen pictures of Michelangelo's David. Maybe you've stood in front of it and marveled at its flawless lines. Many judge it to be the world's most perfect piece of sculpture. The torso of the biblical hero who went from shepherd boy to King of Israel is rendered in exquisite detail. Down to the muscle contraction etched on his forehead, it seems almost ready to come alive.

The masterpiece that is David was carved from a single block of marble that two other artists had already discarded for its imperfections! And so it might have been with the historical figure himself. When God sent his prophet to anoint the next king for Israel, neither Samuel nor the family patriarch to whom God had sent him considered David to be in the running. He wasn't even invited in from the fields to meet the visiting holy man. He was, after all, just a boy tending sheep.

So why should you let life's rejections define you?
The David story contains this marvelous line: "The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7) Just as Michelangelo would later see possibilities for a flawed block of marble others had discarded, God saw possibilities for a raw young man for whom others appear not to have forecast greatness.

A rejected marble block in Michelangelo's hands yielded artistic brilliance. A slighted youth in God's hands became the legendary King of Israel. So why should you let life's slights and rejections define you? In the hands of The Master, you still have infinite possibilities before you to prove the critics wrong.