Rejections are part of the writing and speaking life. We look over the field of options and decide on the event planner or magazine or book publisher we desire to partner with. We line up alongside hundreds of other writers and speakers and apply for the role. But we don’t even hear back. We’ve been rejected.
And it can be the best thing that happens to us. Rejections aren’t always bad. Sometimes they’re simply part of a bigger plan.
Years ago, soon after the publication of my first sold article , I submitted a piece to HomeLife Magazine after meeting the LifeWay editor at a writer’s conference. It was a good article. I was sure they would choose to partner with me, and then my writing life would be perfect!
But the article was promptly rejected. We weren’t a good fit, they said. The article wasn’t their type. They did say, however, that they would pass it along to the editor of Christian Health Magazine, a magazine I’d never heard of.
When I received Christian Health’s email rejection, I was surprised at the last paragraph. “Even though this particular article wasn’t appropriate for our magazine, we do like your writing style. Would you consider writing a 1000-word article on Folic Acid?”
So instead of writing for HomeLife, I became a Christian Health writer.
A few articles later, the editor of Christian Single Magazine, another LifeWay publication, called me at home. “We’ve been introduced to your writing through the editor at Christian Health. Would you be interested in writing a monthly column for us?”
So I became a writer for Christian Single. (Yes, as a married, 56-year-old grandmother of four, I wrote for Christian Single Magazine.)
But here’s the punch line: A couple of years later, I received an unsolicited email from the new editor of HomeLife Magazine. Yep–the original magazine of this story. I had never contacted the magazine again after that first rejection, but the editor said she was aware of my articles and impressed with my work. “Would you consider writing for us?”
So after a round-about detour, I became a writer for HomeLife Magazine!
I can’t help but think back to that original rejection. At the time, I was devastated. All I could see was my failure. They didn’t want me. But now I see it was a rejection with a positive ending. Instead of writing for one magazine, I ended up writing for three magazines within the same publishing house! (And I ultimately wrote for ParentLife as well, making it FOUR LifeWay magazines!)
This type of story plays out time and time again in the writing and speaking world. We have one plan, but God has quite another.
My plan was so small the day I submitted that article to HomeLife. One article. One magazine. One chance. I remember how disappointed I was when I added that rejection to the pile. How much longer do I keep trying? I asked myself.
How much longer will you keep trying? The Bible is full of examples of men and women who kept trying, who hung in there when things were hard. Do you think Hannah was disappointed time and time again when she didn’t get pregnant? How many times did Moses have to return to Pharaoh? How long did Joseph wait for fulfillment of his dream? How many times was Paul beaten and chained? Hannah and Moses and Joseph and Paul were rejected over and over. And yet God chose each of these people for a very specific role.
If God has called you to be a writer or a speaker, He has a specific plan for your writing and speaking life. It may not be the route or the timing or the events you have in mind, but He has a plan. And often, those plans include rejections. Rejections that can even turn into positives.
We must come to the point of submitting our work, our successes, and our perceived failures to Him and His plan–whatever that is. Then, whether we ever achieved the world’s perception of success or not, we’ll be perfect for the part–because we’ll be doing whatever it is He has gifted us to do.
And that, my friends, is a positive.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21
Grace and peace,
(Image courtesy of StuartMiles/www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net)