Another private message. Another email. So sorry, no one wanted to read your submission. We only publish solicited work, but good luck peddling your wares elsewhere.
The form letters. The messages from friends “in the business” who can’t help. I look at the old ones along with the new sometimes.
Another friend suggests I self-publish. I would have to self-edit too because I can’t afford a bad editor much less a great one and yeah, we all know how that would turn out.
And many more encourage me to keep submitting. I do, but I’ve learned not to expect much. Maybe not even anything.
For a long time it bothered me. I would negatively compare myself to the other chosen to collaborate on a project. Even worse, there were times when I’d think, “I’ve got as much talent as her/him, they just know more and better people.”
A very kind journalist friend told me my writing is good but not the “wow, outstanding” that will easily win followers and garner me invites into the invites only club. My best chance is submissions and things falling onto the right editors desk.
An editor friend has said that my voice is unique, just like everyone else’s. So I just have to keep trying to find the one person who will love it.
I can easily fall into a pity party over rejection letters and advice that wants to encourage me while also whispering, “it might not work out.” Most days I try not to think about it. I try to keep doing…something. And to keep my chin up.
I think about the days when I wasn’t sure I’d get married because I hadn’t found a boyfriend at the Newman Center. He knew better.
I think about the day I stared at the sky after a miscarriage thinking parenthood would be something else friends would experience and I would not. He knew better.
My life hasn’t turned out at all like I thought it would. And that’s okay. Because He knew better. Maybe publishing will never be in my life. And that’s okay because He knows better than I do. Maybe all the rejection professionally and being passed over both professionally and personally will lead me to some great life lessons or some huge success. He knows better.
I know some of my family think this is defeatist talk. But I’ve left this professional stuff to God because He knows what He has planned for me. After a huge round of rejections in writing and job hunting a year and a half ago, I posted this on social media:
Well, got some disappointing news on the job front. I can probably stop waiting for the interview phone call. But I’m choosing to share this information because while I have been specifically asking God for this need in prayer, while I’ve done the positive affirmations and such…God’s answer is no or at least not yet and God is not a genie who grants our every desire and makes our lives easy and perfect (Job 1:21). He is our loving father and while He is able to make all things possible (Philippians 4:13), He will only do the right thing as a father should. His plan is not this, not right now. And while I’m okay with that, it’s okay for me to be a little disappointed (I am) because I do not know what is in store. I don’t know what’s next. Perhaps this “no” will lead to a better opportunity, or maybe better timing? Maybe God just wants me to be in my current situation longer so that I can appreciate it more? I can’t know, I can only trust and keep on praying. God has not abandoned nor punished me with this turn, He will mold me into who I am supposed to be if I allow Him to (Jeremiah 18:6). He will use what and who I am for His purpose. His plan is far superior to what I can dream of (Jeremiah 29:11). Through all of this I must continue to decrease while He increases (John 3:30). His mercy and goodness continue to follow me all the days of my life (Psalm 23:6).
To my shock, I got a message from a friend who’d just weeks before lost his three-year-old daughter in a horrific car accident. He said my message encouraged him and reminded him that God would work even through his terrible situation. I was embarrassed I had even been complaining when my disappointment was nothing compared to his grief. But God has a bigger plan than my disappointment or even the tragic loss of a child.
All those times that God knew better, He taught me to trust Him more. My husband was on the other end of a wrong number phone call not praying at the Newman Center. Trust Him, He knows. My babies were coming but I had to appreciate the difficulty of having a child with special needs. Trust Him, He knows. Maybe my writing will help someone else who is struggling in ways I can’t imagine…I think of the man in today’s Gospel: Lord, I believe, Help my unbelief (Mark 9:24). I struggle. I cry out in moments of desperation. That verse is a prayer I rely on heavily. 364 days after our first failed listing of our old house, we closed on our new ones. Lord, I believe, Help my unbelief. I know You know better. You show me time and time again. You must increase, I must decrease. My faith is not written by what other people think should happen to me, it is written by You. I refuse to submit to others believe is success in my life and wait to see Your better plan. I will not hope in the plans of me, but believe in Yours.
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