August 11, 2020
Coping with Rejection
November 16, 2021 | Jaci Miller
Another rejection. I closed the lid of my laptop and sighed. My latest attempt at landing an agent for my picture book writings had, yet again, flopped. “Your book is not the right fit for us,” this agent essentially said about my precious, slaved-over masterpiece of children’s literature.
I’d heard this before. Many times. About many books.
I wanted to be a good fit with whoever would represent my work to publishers. I wanted someone who loved my books and believed deeply in them. But did the “right fit” even exist? Was my work truly good enough?
Maybe this latest rejection was trying to tell me something.
“Lord,” I fussed, “You made me a writer. You’ve told me you want to impact children with my work.”
The digital list of rejection letters seemed to argue against this.
“How is this supposed to work? My writing can’t impact children unless they can see it. And how can they see it if it’s not published? I’m sick of rejections.
Rejection always stings. Whether we’re rejected through a breakup, a job loss, or rejection of our art, we’ve given ourselves to that pursuit. Being told that we, by extension, aren’t desirable can impact the heart and what impacts our hearts rolls over into our lives.
So, Scripture tells us to watch over our hearts. To guard them.
Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Maybe the word “guard” brings to mind those stoic fellows at the gates of Buckingham Palace. Maybe a medieval image of swords and armor and castle moats come to mind. Perhaps someone as ordinary as a school crossing guard springs up.
All of these images are of a defensive nature. At the heart of their purpose lies the protection of someone else. “Guarding,” by its very nature, is the defense of something valuable. And what is more valuable than our hearts?
Protecting the heart protects the outflow of the heart. Our actions stem from our beliefs, our beliefs flow from the mind, and guess what influences the mind? The heart.
How do we protect our hearts?
Philippians 4:4-7 offers a great starting point. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Did you catch that? The peace of God will guard our hearts. If we rejoice in the Lord. Dominate anxiety through prayer. Give thanks. In other words, devoting ourselves to God brings the kind of peace so powerful it rises above all else — including rejection.
This is how we guard our hearts. That’s what I want defending my heart.
When rejection calls into question my worth as a writer, as an employee, as a loved one, the peace of God reminds me who I am and Whose I am. I am in Christ Jesus. I am actively pursued by the One who matters. He wants me even if no one else does. He believes in me even if no one else will.
We’re going to encounter rejection. Jesus experienced rejection, but it didn’t keep Him from His purpose. And we can’t let rejection dissuade us from ours.
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