June 25, 2017

Growing Through Fear and Rejection

Posted in Christianity tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:50 pm by Staci Hart Mauney

“…may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God…” (Ephesians 3:18-19)

When I was a sophomore in college, I changed my major from accounting to English for two reasons: 1). I hated accounting and at 19 just couldn’t imagine working with numbers for the rest of my life; and 2) I loved words and wanted to be a writer. After graduation, I pursued several jobs as a writer, but most of those jobs were far from home. So instead of becoming a full-time writer, I began working in government and nonprofit positions where I used my writing and presentation skills. I then pursued writing part time.

The first story I wrote was published in Chicken Soup for the Shopper’s Soul when I was 28. You would think that this success would have led to many other published stories, but I became paralyzed by fear. Self-doubt plagued every decision I made about writing. What if I couldn’t develop realistic characters? What if my plot didn’t make sense? What if my next story didn’t get published? What if the editors thought my story idea was stupid? How would I handle the rejection?

Over the next few years, I wrote several short stories, but I didn’t submit any of them. My pile of stories slowly accumulated. And then I got divorced, and all of the rejection I had feared in my writing career manifested itself in the loss of my marriage.

After my divorce, I almost quit writing completely. All of my creative nonfiction stories were about my life with my ex-husband. At first, I would try to read them, thinking this would help with the healing process. Instead, I got stuck in the past and in a life that could never be and, if I’m honest, never really was.

Eventually, I made new friends who encouraged me to keep writing and tell other stories – stories about the life I was living now. I realized that I couldn’t keep living in the past. I wrote new stories, and some of them were published. And when the opportunity arose last fall to pursue full-time work as a freelance writer and editor, I decided to quit my steady office job and go for it. I’m not a risk taker, so this was a decision I made only after much prayer and debate with both myself and God.

Throughout this process, the Lord has guided me every step of the way, even though I haven’t always been able to see it. I still have bad days, with rejection letters for stories that I submit or for good freelance jobs. Relationships are a struggle and hard work and can be discouraging. On the bad days, it’s hard to feel joy or see how anything will work out for my benefit.

When I surround myself with other believers, I see God’s hand at work the strongest. He often works through others to help me through these dark times. The Lord has put each of us in a place where we can help one another using our unique gifts and talents, and we need each other. With his help, I can get through the dark times of rejection and come out the other side with a story of growth to tell.

Dear Jesus, thank you for helping me through some of the most difficult times in my life. Thank you for showing me that even these things can be used for my good and to glorify you. Amen.

 

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