I never counted them but I am thinking that there are hundreds of verses in the Good Book on [not] being fearful. Some of my favourites include:
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
· Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
· Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
· 2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
· 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
· 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
· Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
· Isaiah 35:4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”
· John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
· Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.
So how’s that for a God Pep talk? I always feel better after reading some of these verses. I might have been a published writer for over 28 years, but I will admit that there are still times when I doubt myself, question my abilities as a writer, or just plain fear sending ‘stuff’ out to the great editorial world fearful that I might be rejected.
My love language is Words of Affirmation so is it any wonder that when I get rejected with words I am devastated? [Writer, have you ever taken this test? http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/ I often wonder if most writers have Words of Affirmation as their love language.]
I digress. . .
Probably one of the biggest encouragements I received as a fledgling writer was being reminded about and then realizing that when I got a rejection it wasn’t me, personally, who was being rejected – it was the manuscript. Sweet relief when I discovered that. Editors have different tastes so just because they might not like what I have written doesn’t mean that another one will feel the same.
That felt good to hear that a few times over and over in my early writing career. Before that revelation, after receiving a rejection slip, I would fall into despair declaring to myself that I really should get out of the business of writing and who did I think I was thinking that someone might be interested in reading something I wrote? The rejection slip meant that I must be writing drivel; and the audacity of me thinking that someone would pay me for writing such twaddle was laughable. Hah!
But somehow I got through it. And here I am many moons later still clicking the keyboard. Having over a thousand columns and articles later and plenty of books under my belt indicates that it was good I am a tad on the stubborn side. After a few writerly tantrums and moments of quiet where I let God whisper louder than those other nasty inner voices, I realized that if I succumbed to that negativity then my dreams and aspirations would be compromised and my passion to write extinguished. Like I said, I am far too stubborn to let that happen!
You would think that I have developed broad shoulders and now, so many years later, a rejection doesn’t really fizz on me. I can just brush it off. I hate to admit it – but it t’aint necessarily so! If [when] I get a rejection letter now, I still hear those crazy voices. They whisper that same old reminder of what a terrible writer I am and how I am so unworthy and ridiculous for even sending my article off. Blah, blah, blah. Then God reminds me.
Last month I had the privilege of sharing some insights about being a writer. I spoke a fair bit about rejection and how many famous manuscripts were rejected. And if it makes you feel any better, I will share some.
- Harry Potter – JK Rowlings rejected 7 times
- Beatrix Potter – Peter Rabbit – rejected 7 times - sold 150 million copies
- The Help – Kathrynn Stockett – rejected 60 times
- Chicken Soup – first title - Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen: rejected by 123 publishers and were told that their book had a stupid title, had no sex or violence, and no one would read it.
- The Shack by William P. Young: Publishers either found this book too Christian or not Christian enough. So 15 photocopied editions led to a self-publishing company and eventually 15 million copies sold.
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: 40 rejections - grossed more than $1 million and won a Pulitzer in its first year
- Ann Frank, Moby Dick, Life of Pi, To Kill; a Mockingbird – they were all rejected many times.
So the lesson here is that when the rejection slips come in, don’t forget to inhale, breathe deeply, check out one of the above scriptures, reread your piece and if you are still in love with it, then send it out one more time. I heard a long time ago that as writers we should be more joyful and grateful when we get a rejection slip. At least it means we are trying!