“Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.” – Kurt Vonnegut
Does anyone else feel like they are a hot fudge sundae, and life has suited up in armor and chain mail, ready to pummel your soft gooey self into smithereens? I thought that as I grew older, that rejection wouldn’t faze me as much, that I would be so confident in myself and my purpose, that I would be the one walking around in armor, people’s opinions only weak attacks that fail to penetrate.
Instead, it seems that I have grown more vulnerable, my armor melting into ice cream that has already sat for too long out in the sun.
I wasn’t wrong when I thought that I would grow in confidence in myself and in my purpose, the problem is that my caring also grew. I care more about what I am doing. I found my purpose, and every day I pour my heart out into it because I care about it with my entire heart!
You can be showered in all consuming support and encouragement, and yet, often all it takes it for one person, one word of rejection, to pierce you to your soul, crushing your chocolate chip heart into sticky mush.
Rejection is inevitable. We have all tasted it, and we will all continue to taste it until we die. Every person in this world is different, with unique beliefs, thoughts, cares, hopes, and dislikes, and you WILL meet some that will reject yours, even hate yours.
This is not said to discourage you. Instead it is to encourage you to stop hiding from rejection, but to face it! You know that it is coming…. and I guarantee you, the more that you push forward in your beliefs, the more that you try to achieve, the more likely you will be rejected.
Why? Because you are doing something!
You are putting yourself out there, you are making waves, you are challenging the way of the world and trying to change it. Because you care! People will see you, the will notice what you are doing, and some will love it…and others will hate it.
So how do you face rejection? How can you possibly care about something so dear and to the depths of your heart, and not shut down when that thing is threatened?
I was recently struck with a series of rejections that shook me deeply. Within the span of two weeks I had several teachers (one a successful writer, and the other another industry professional) who told me that it is impossible to make a living as an author. They also told me that I would never get published, not because they had read any of my work (because they hadn’t), but just because “it doesn’t happen” in this industry.
It was as if the deepest fears of my heart had just been spat back into my face. The fears that I have to fight against daily, thrown at me from the people that I had expected encouragement from the most, people who had “made it” in this vulnerable industry in which I work.
I was forced to make a choice.
Did I believe that they were right? If so, why not just throw in the towel early and save myself from further rejection and misery?
Or do I try anyway? Even knowing that there is a possibility that it will never happen for me, that I would choose instead to pursue with the crazy hope that one day my book will get published.
After wrestling with these thoughts for a day, I was forced to choose what I would believe. I was forced to review all that I have experienced, all that I have learned, all that God has taught and promised to me. I thought through all of the support that I have received, remembered all of the people who have chosen to have crazy hope in my crazy dream.
I chose to stand firm.
Rejection can either be a fire the destroys you, or it can be the flame that refines you. It plucks out all of the fears of your heart, places them before your face, and asks you to choose. Will you be consumed? Or will you emerge victorious, all the stronger and more resilient from the fight?
I may never find success in my writing. That is a very real possibility that I am not ignorant of. But I will also never give up fighting. I will never give up pursuing that crazy hope. I will not let popular opinion determine my success or the fear of rejection to temper my dreams.
Instead, I will continue to learn, I will continue to grow, I will rewrite again and again. And in all of this I will not be ashamed, because I never gave up.
I will not be shaken because I have a God who will always stand firm. From the beginning of time He has stood firm, He has never been shaken and He never will be. I know that no matter how many times I will be rejected, He will never reject me. He has promised that He will always love me, always forgive me, and always be the rock upon which I can rely.
I can face rejection because I am loved unconditionally.
Are you loved unconditionally? On what do you stand firm? Is it your own will? Will you face rejection alone, a soft served bowl of cream just waiting to be smashed?
You do not have to be.
God wants to stand firm for you too. He will never reject you, never forsake you, and no matter what rejection you face, He will be stronger.
So many people ask me why I am always so positive, how I can possibly have so much joy in the light of so many challenges. God is the reason. He is the only reason that I was not crushed under depression, anxiety, and self-loathing long ago, the only reason why I can possibly stand to write, the only reason I can stand firm and not give up.
He can be your reason too. All you have to do is ask Him.