Monday, October 19, 2015

Ghosts of Rejections Past: Guest Post by Patricia Beal

**Please welcome back Patricia Beal to the Alley. I had the pleasure of meeting her in person at this year's conference! She is an amazing person and shares some powerful encouragement with us today!-- Angie**
It’s been a month since the ACFW 2015 conference. I spent the first week post conference editing, and by the end of September my agent and I had submitted all we were asked to submit.
Now we wait.
And wait.
I’m horrible at waiting. I can manage to stay positive for about two weeks, but after that the ghosts or rejections past tend to take over, and I start expecting the worst. I take my eyes off Jesus, look at the waves, and sink fast.
Victim of Grace by Robin Jones Gunn
In her book Victim of Grace, author Robin Jones Gunn writes about her journey to publication and her life as an author. She says that the consistent rejection from publishers was demoralizing—an exercise in defeat. She almost quit. Psalm 102:18 kept her going: “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD.” She was pregnant with her second child when that verse spoke to her heart.  
Here’s the bottom line: Rejection is painful, but God will get you through it if you’ll let Him.
Put your writing out there.
Submit even if rejection hurts.
In the movie “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” famous photographer and womanizer Connor Mead is a Scrooge-like character in dire need of transformation. After ruining his little brother’s wedding weekend, he tries to keep the bride-to-be from running away: “It doesn't mean that you're never going to get hurt, but the pain you feel will never compare to the regret that comes from walking away from love. And from someone who's felt a lot of both, trust me, pain beats regret every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Don't run away. Don't do it.”
Don’t walk away from love. Don’t walk away from writing. Don’t walk away from trusting God’s calling. Pain beats regret. Submit.
And I’ll suggest something even better…
Have a healthier relationship with the pain of rejection.
Remember the story of Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32?
What does God do before blessing Jacob (self-reliant, self-seeking) and naming him Israel (prince, powerful with God)? God touches the hollow of Jacob’s thigh. The hollow of Jacob’s thigh was now out of joint. Jacob would be forever weakened by that injury. God saps strength out of Jacob. He breaks Jacob of Jacob.
God grew him by making him weak. He grew Peter by making him weak (let the devil sift him as wheat). He grew Paul by making him weak (didn’t remove the thorn in the flesh).
What does God tell Paul about the thorn in the flesh? “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” How does Paul respond? “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Our trials are making us weak and loosening us from the shackles of self-reliance that are holding us back.
We don’t have to despair. Cast yourself at His feet and acknowledge that you can’t do this on your own. He already knows. He wants you to know.
Let’s look at rejections in the proper light.
In light of Jacob’s story (and Peter’s and Paul’s), we can conclude that being weakened is good, so the next time we receive an email from an agent or editor, no matter what it says, it's good news. Either our dream is about to come true, or God is about to make us weaker, thereby freeing us from self-reliance more and taking us closer to a yes through His power.
One is more Facebookable than the other (sigh), but it’s all good news.
Here’s what I’m going to do. Before opening the next agent or editor email, I’ll walk away from the computer and get my mind wrapped around God’s truths and methods first. Then I’ll open the email.
Do you want to do the same thing? If yes, commit to it right now.
If you would like to worship with Sara Evans and “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” click here:
Do you have a different healthy way of dealing with rejection? What is it? Did you quit at some point? Are you there now? Let us encourage you today.
Patricia Beal is a Christian author, Army wife, and ballerina. She writes contemporary fiction and is represented by Leslie Stobbe of the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. She’s a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati in 1998 with a B.A. in English Literature and then worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Army for seven years. She and her husband live in El Paso, Texas, with their two children.
Patricia is very active online and would love to connect with readers.
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Emily Conrad said...

Wonderful points, Patricia! Thanks for sharing with us :)

Unknown said...

Thanks, Emily! Good to see you here. If we combine the freedom of the it's-all-good-news approach with Edie Melson's tips in that ACFW post you shared about post conference blues (less than 30% of people submit requested materials?!), we'll be practically bulletproof :)

Pepper Basham said...

What a fantastic post, Patricia! I particularly loved this point "Have a healthier relationship with the pain of rejection"
That's such a fresh perspective on something we all cringe to embrace! But stings are a part of the growing process.
Beautifully written

Unknown said...

Thanks, Pepper! This will take some serious intentionality, but since it lines up with God's Word, if we pray about it, it will work :)