Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. ~ Helen Keller
This past week as I was quickly scanning my e-mail, I stopped cold when I saw a message from a magazine I’d submitted an article to a few weeks earlier. My fingers poised hesitantly above the mouse as I worked up the courage to open it. With part excitement, part dread, I boldly clicked on the subject line. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I’d received my first rejection letter.
This wasn’t the first article I’d submitted. In fact, I’ve sent in several to different publications over the last year and a half of my writing journey, but this is the first time any has been acknowledged. At least now I had one response from someone who’d actually read my work, even if they didn’t accept it.
Not sure if I should delete the e-mail or print it, I finally hit print, deciding this would surely be the first of many letters of refusal. After all, I’ve heard countless authors say they could wallpaper their offices with all of the rejection letters they received before finally being published. If that’s true, I have a long way to go.
Even though I could easily take this rejection personally, I’ve learned I must take it all in stride. Failure and rejection come with the territory of any success.
Several years ago my daughter told me how much she admired her dad and I because we both followed our dreams to start our own businesses. When she realized the risks we took to venture into unknown territory, she was inspired to believe she could push past her fears to achieve dreams of her own. From her perspective, she saw her parents as a courageous influence.
I must admit, because of lack of financial success operating a dream floral business, I believed I’d failed. But years later I discovered that, in my daughter’s eyes, it was a success because I’d taken a leap of faith to turn something I love into a business that gave me purpose and enthusiasm in my work. (Thank goodness my husband’s business venture turned out much better!) We gave our florist shop five years of blood, sweat and tears – literally – before calling it quits. Surely my writing career deserves that much before I succumb to any rejection letters.
During the time of the florist flop, I learned so much about practical life experience. I also discovered how to trust God as He brought us through some difficult days of financial distress. I wouldn’t want to go back and relive the heartache of that time, but I also wouldn’t trade what God revealed to me during some of those dark days as I drew near to Him in desperation. Even though my business venture ultimately didn’t succeed, God used it to bring good in my life, and ultimately, a blessing from my daughter. I know He’s more than capable of doing the same with my anticipated stack of rejection letters.
Have you been struggling with rejection or failure lately? Give it to God and ask Him to show you how He’s using it for good in your life.
For the sake of His great name the Lord will not reject His people, because the Lord was pleased to make you His own.
~ 1 Samuel 12:22