I’m in the midst of some changes in my involvement in church ministry. It’s been hard being in leadership because being in a position like that is like putting a target on your back and letting everyone practice shooting arrows at you. The hard part is that it is rarely that people criticize you for things failing or not going well – the attacks get personal.
I have been slandered over the years more times than I can count. The attacks are more on my personality or character and often judging my motives.
This kind of thing is hard. If you need affirmation and encouragement – this is NOT the place to find it. Sad isn’t it? The church, where we are to be “building one another up and encouraging one another as the day is drawing closer” can often be the place of our greatest pain. Yet God has given me a deep love for the body of Christ.
I do get affirmation from close friends and leadership. I am blessed by so many people I have served with. Still, it hurts to maligned and misunderstood.
Maybe that’s why I’m such a champion of respecting and praying for our church leaders. I know firsthand the pain of attacks and the difficulty leaders face in leading a group of volunteers who are trying to be “family” in the body of Christ.
But, I’m a writer too. Writing is also ministry. There is something different about rejection in writing. For instance, I just got a rejection of a manuscript that had been requested in full. Ouch. It hurts whenever someone doesn’t think your work is good enough. But that’s just it – it’s my work. I can improve. I can grow. This editor was a blessing in the way she delivered her rejection. She took the time to give me specific areas where there were problems with my writing and how to change them. She encouraged me to submit again in the future. This is highly unusual in the publishing industry. She didn’t blacklist my name or say I was a crappy person too full of myself to see how awful my writing was.
Rejection is part of the game with writing and seeking publication. It just is. The more I’m on line the more I see how many of us are out there pursuing our dream, writing our stories and trying to honor God with our gifts. Sometimes I admit, I feel jealous of the success of others when they finally get that contract, that book art, that first box of books with THEIR name on the cover.
I know I could have those things if I self-published and ignore the opportunity to grow. But I want to give God my best effort. That takes work and I’ll admit that sometimes I fear I’ll never be good enough. I’m so blessed by my readers cheer me on. They remind me of how God has already used my writing for His glory.
In writing the rejections are usually not personal. My writer friends know I’m zany and crazy and fun. They believe in me because they know I desire to grow and I’m not so full of myself to think I’m the next hot thing since Stephen King.
So I’m going to keep writing and serving God here until He says no more or calls me home. I’ll still serve in the church but the way that happens is shifting, and I embrace that. The Scripture God keeps bringing to my mind is this:
How do you handle rejection? What is God doing in your life that is new and fresh?