Maybe you’ve been shunned by a friend, coworker, or employer. Perhaps you’ve experienced an even deeper-cutting rejection by a spouse or a loved one.
As a freelance writer, I experience rejection of my ideas and projects on a regular basis. At times, it’s hard not to take the “no’s” personally. When I was trying to break into the book market (something that took five years of learning, growing, praying, and waiting—after several years of writing articles and stories for freelance markets), the multiple rejections got to me after awhile.
Even though I believed I was called to write, and felt obedient to God by pursuing that call, major discouragement set in for me when three of my favorite publishers turned down a nonfiction book proposal in one week. Ouch!
My husband, friends, and family encouraged me to keep going. And I wanted to—but my “fight” was running out. The rewards of risk just didn’t seem worth it anymore.
Then God gave me a gift—a passage from Eugene Peterson’s The Message (1 Thessalonians 5:9–24), at the precise moment I needed it. I hope it will minister to you as it did to me:
“God didn’t set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ…So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this…Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens…The One who called you is completely dependable. If He said it, he’ll do it!”
Isn’t that awesome? Those verses remind me, first, that God is up to great things behind the scenes. He will never fail. That truth allows me to trust in His timing and to thank Him–yes, even for rejections. After all, as James Lee Burke once said, “Every rejection is incremental payment on your dues that in some way will be translated back into your work.”
Second, trusting in God’s timing and faithfulness builds up my hope, so that I can get back into the ring of life and keep fighting—for relationships, for a vibrant life, and for the ministry God has chosen for me.
Third, online and offline groups–like this blog–allow those of us who share a passion for writing to speak encouraging words to one another, so that we can press into our calling. In unity, without jealousy or envy, we can cheer each other on. Complete trust in the One who made us causes us to know that all Christian authors have a role to play, and that every single bit of success is good for the Kingdom.
Fourth, God’s complete acceptance makes me willing to keep living life fully, even when it’s risky. Though friends, family members, or publishers may reject me, Jesus never will.
I can rest in that.