Oceans Deep

Finding & Following Jesus in the Deep End of Life

When You End Up in the Rejection Pile

The e-mail arrived early one morning in my inbox. The cheeriness of the subject line grated against my half-asleep nerves and belied it’s un-cheery content. My tired eyes quickly scanned the words:

Thank you for sharing … so honored you submitted … yet

And there it was: the dreaded yet. The despised “thanks, but no thanks,” to a guest post submission.

This wasn’t my first rejection letter, and it won’t be the last … but this one stung. I’d poured my heart into this guest post. Prayed over it. Wrestled with it. Read and re-read and edited until I felt a surge of peace and hope as I clicked the “submit” button.

And yet … there it was, the verdict in cold black and white: my best wasn’t good enough.

Like a solid punch to the gut, my shoulder slump said it all. I was defeated and discouraged, the zippy wind sucked right out of my sails. In those blurry moments immediately following disappointment, the internal debate began in earnest in my mind:

What’s the point in continuing when a big fat “no” awaits me at every turn?

Why am I even writing if no one is reading it?

If my best wasn’t good enough, then what will ever be?

The Reality of Rejection

Perhaps you can’t relate to the specific rejection of an aspiring writer, but I’m willing to bet that life has well acquainted you with the prickly reality of rejection.

We can all look back and recall those jobs we didn’t get, those relationships that didn’t work out, those friends who betrayed us or simply forgot about us, those heart-crushing “no’s” we’ve received.

Whatever the context, rejection hits us at the core of who we are, attacking our identity with ruthless intent. It says you are not good enough, smart enough, talented enough, pretty enough, successful enough, and on and on until we unwittingly begin to agree.

Sitting there at my desk, cloaked in the uncomfortable robe of rejection, I asked God how I could be still and maintain perspective in the middle of these painful moments. As loudly as the lies called, I couldn’t help but think, there must be a better way than that of self-condemnation.

The Limits of Rejection

The Lord used this experience in my life as a kind of “wake up call,” forcing me to look more closely at why I write and for whom I’m writing. Rejection has a way of getting our attention and pushing us to answer hard questions.

Am I writing for the sole purpose of achieving publication? Recognition? The praise of men? If so, I’ll be sidelined and rendered impotent by rejection in no time flat.

Or am I writing because God has called me to do so? Am I faithfully following the path before me because He’s asked me to—bumps, bruises, and all?

If we can confidently say we are following God’s will, then there’s very little room for discouragement and self-doubt, for Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished (Luke 1:45 NIV).

One of my favorite verses, Psalm 138:8, says:

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of Your Hands (NIV).

When you and I face a setback along the way or a “no” that seems unworkable and unreasonable, we must remember that God’s plans for us will stand. Rejection cannot limit or thwart God’s work in our lives, provided we walk in obedience and trust, expectantly looking for Him to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).

And truthfully? All of us could likely look back on at least one of those rejections and see how God saved us for something better, rescuing us from what we just knew we had to have. He is indeed a good, good Father, giving us what we need rather than what we want.

Even when it comes in the form of a “no.”

The Redemption of Rejection

How can we find stillness in the churning of disappointment and foiled plans? We must direct our minds to the truth, meditating on His word versus the lies our enemy throws at us.

God uses rejection to direct our paths. Just as an open door means “yes, walk in this way,” so a closed door simply means “nope, we’re not going in that direction.” Rejection is not an indictment on who you are.

Our enemy would love nothing more than to have us doubting our identities, our worth, our calling, and even God and his goodness.That may sound like Oprah-worthy fluffy self-talk, but I believe it to be the truth. Our enemy would love nothing more than to have us doubting our identities, our worth, our calling, and even God and His goodness.

And lest we forget, our God is infinitely kind and understanding. Jesus walked this earth and felt everything we feel. Referring to Jesus, the prophet Isaiah wrote:

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering (Isaiah 53:3 NIV).

So when we’re drawn to unrest on account of rejection, may we remember to run to our Savior and give Him our pain—He understands!

When we want to wiggle and wriggle in the emotion of our failed ways, may we refocus our minds and sink deep into trust, for God is always working His good and gracious plans out in our lives.

And when we’re faced with the hard task of sitting still and waiting for God to unfold His purposes, may we hit the pause button and allow our senses to download the beauty and blessings present in each day.

The pain of rejection is real, sweet reader, this I know—but His ways are so much higher than ours (see Isaiah 55:8-9). So shut the door on yesterday’s rejection and allow it to propel you forward into the confident rest we have in Him!

 

Blessings,

Mere copy

 

 

 

 

This post is a part of April’s series, Be Still: Practicing the www.meredithhcarr.comArt of Stillness in the Midst of Turmoil. How do you practice being still when faced with rejection? I would love to hear, so feel free to start a discussion in the comments below!

 

Join us next Friday as we’ll be looking at ways to find peace in the midst of loneliness.

 

7 Comments

  1. What a great post, Mere! I love it when you talked about who you are writing for…. recognition or God?

    Thank you for this encouragement today. Have a blessed weekend! 🙂

  2. I love the idea of the “pause button”. Sometimes we forget to pause when things are going well. Today I find peace in God’s picture for me and my life knowing that yes in the future I will need to remember to pause when in the midst of hard times or “rejection” so that i can sit back and let God put me back on the right tracks. Or even just pray though to the easier and happier side of the tracks “I” feel are so tough when in reality they are leading me where I need to be. I am inspired to have a great weekend now and thankful for you and your writing. When Jack Canfield wrote Chicken Soup for the Soul he was rejected by 144 authors…Had he given up on the 1st or the 100th he would not have touched the lives of 500 million people through the books he sold, the way he was meant to. He simply rejected rejection and continued on God’s path. I love to think of our lives as God’s painting for us/of us. Some days he uses us as the brush that moves the paint/others, and someday’s we are the paint being moved by Him through others; just being splattered all over the canvas not knowing what the heck is going on lol. What I do know is this, when we try to sign His picture we tend to mess things up, so it is best to let Him create and reveal His masterpiece in his time through his channels rather than through our own:) Thank you for being you and reminding me to pause today! I am so looking forward to hearing about what God need’s me to hear about peace in the midst of loneliness:)

    Have a great weekend!

    • Rick, your words are always so encouraging to me. It makes my heart happy to know you enjoy reading and that God is able to use these words to speak to you! I know it’s hard when we ourselves are in the middle of it, but I see God’s Hand all over your life and your story, weaving together every high and low, good and bad moment into something beautiful. He is indeed a master painter, and a master story teller. So glad you are doing well, and I know you guys will enjoy the Barnabas gathering tonight–Aaron is pumped! ;-).

      Thank you too for sharing about Jack Canfield, I had no idea!! Wow! It’s crazy to think what we can miss if we don’t hang on in faith while God works! Hope you have a blessed weekend :-).

  3. Wonderful post! God is amazing – to bring good out of something that seems negative. Thanks for sharing this!

  4. What Richard said!!

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