I hate rejection in any form, even when I have to be the one who does the rejecting. I'm one of those writers who can truthfully brag that I have enough rejection slips and letters to paper the walls of my whole office, and it's a big office!
I remember one day receiving five complete manuscripts in the mail from a particular house that was planning to publish my work. My dreams crashed, and so did one pane of a French door in my house when I flung the manuscripts away from me as if they were a bundle of snakes. I was devastated. I felt personally rejected by God, though not by the publishing company--they were discontinuing the line for which I was writing.
In spite of that old children's verse about "sticks and stones," words do hurt. Personal rejection can be more devastating than a flu virus or a broken bone. In fact, the shock of rejection can weaken the body's natural immunity and allow a virus to invade our system.
How tempting it is to sink into a black despair of self-pity, afraid to try again, afraid to face the world. Mingled emotions of anger, confusion and despair can convince us that rejection will be our lot in life.
Psalm 147:3 tells us that "He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds." This is a promise from God if we give Him our pain. His word can speak to us when nothing else can, and give us strength to try again.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says "...the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." Though every publisher in the country rejects me, God has called me to write for a reason. Take note of that statement. He called me to WRITE, not necessarily to PUBLISH. I need to take comfort in the knowledge that I'm doing God's will.
Rejection can make me feel worthless to God and everyone else, but Psalm 139:14 reminds me that "...I am fearfully and wonderfully made..."
How dare I believe the lies I tell myself when the God of the universe made me what I am, with my wacky personality, my silly laugh, my tendency to chatter when I'm nervous? Others may reject me, but God fashioned me in my mother's womb. He knew me and loved me even then, when He knew what I would become. The work of God's hands is never worthless, therefore I am not worthless.
It does get old, though, doesn't it? When you've tried and tried again and again, perhaps for years. And yet, God wants us to learn perseverence. Because we are precious to Him, He wants what is best for us. He wants us to grow into the place He has set for us. Job 23:10 tells us "...when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold." So go for the gold. Persevere in spite of rejection.
As I look back over those years of rejection--fourteen of them--so many things become clear to me now. God was fashioning my writer's heart. He was teaching me to persevere, and to learn to depend more completely on Him. How beautiful are those hands of God that bless me beyond belief. How wonderfully and perfectly my Lord cherishes me.
Hannah Alexander, author of Fair Warning, is the pen name used by Mel and Cheryl Hodde