Something has been holding me back.
It’s hard to put my finger on it.
Last year I avoided setting too many goals.
I guess I didn’t want to disappoint myself.
‘Perhaps’, I think I thought, ‘if I aim somewhere, I won’t miss by too much’.
And then another year screamed past and although a lot of good stuff happened, I was left feeling like a failure.
‘You are still are miles from where you want to be, dude! What up?’
Maybe you know the feeling too.
Perhaps you’ve been working hard, around the home, on the family, running a homeschool or beavering about a kid’s church ministry or a school chaplaincy role but you’ve been meandering along, hoping something will happen or ‘click’ amongst all the grit and grind.
Oh, I’m sure you’re doing good stuff…but is it ticking your boxes…is it what you dreamt? Have you peaked?
The thing is, if you have a vision, as I do…or even a set of targets you’d like to reach then what is stopping you from pursuing it and realizing?
Why was I content to let 2018…just be?
Well, perhaps you’re tired, pooped. Running out of steam. Yep. A big shout out to you too!
But why are we tired? Losing enthusiasm for our dream?
That’s what bugged me all year.
And now I have found a solution...
We need more rejection
Then I read it, one day in the newspaper, on January 5th, 2019.
The headline read: “Time for Writers to Find Hope in Their Rejections”
I was curious.
I felt a connection.
How about you?
- If you're in children's ministry, does getting on with the critical task of raising new leaders totally daunt you? Are you not fearful of rejection?
- And what about you O homeschooler? Are you not fearful of yet another program flop, a new routine flop, another mismanaged year of chaos?
- And what about you O parent, are you not fearful of trying to lead your family in God’s word and prayer regularly, without those young teens, those bouncy boys and moody girls, giving you stick, just because they can!? Or the daily grind wearing you way to thin, so you just give up on yet another well-meant routine.
Here’s the ‘inviting’ proposition I was given from this author in the paper:
‘In 2019, aim for 100 rejections’
Yes, how’s your New Year’s Res, coming along?
Last time I gave you about 7 different areas to consider setting some goals for.
But I did not dig deeper into my soul to give you this miserable little offering.
Okay this applied to a writer, trying to get published, but you could easily apply a version of this to yourself.
- 30 leader rejections in 30 days
- 25 trial homeschool programs in 60 days
- 20 different devotion materials in 90 days
- Or 100 fundraising requests in 10 months (10 per month)
I'm just getting us started here...
But I heartily recommend it!
“In one year, American writer Kim Liao had 43 rejections from literary magazines, residencies and fellowships…Her professional life turned around when a friend who always seemed to get [acceptances] revealed her secret, ‘Collect rejections. Set rejection goals…if you work hard to get so many rejections, you’re sure to get a few acceptances, too’.”
Another author and comedian, Emily Winter, rocked up 101 rejections in one year, but also 39 acceptances. Not bad.
She said, ‘I’m so tired, and that’s how I know I did it right…If I weren’t exhausted, it would mean I’d just spent the last year asking for things without putting in the work to earn them’.
Apparently, that’s what we’d be doing if we set our hope on rejections.
How so? And why is exposure to rejection therapeutic?
It encourages us to be more comfortable with failure and reduce our fear of it.
And there is the ‘aha’ moment if you’ve been waiting for it.
Yes folks, we can be afraid of failing. Surprise, surprise.
We can be fearful of rejection…another form of failure, I guess.
But when we persevere (a good and godly trait, no doubt), seek wisdom (pray and ask around) and get on with it (James 1), rejection will come…but also with it, the possibility of acceptance, maybe a breakthrough moment.
It all depends on our threshold for rejection.
As a friend of mine recently encouraged me, quoting a favourite writer of his, ‘if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly!’
So, folks…here’s to doing something worthwhile, badly, if we must and through much rejection because it’s worth it.
Rejection is not the goal, but the path.
Join me then, in this year’s resolution to clocking up some decent rejection…aim high, knowing that rejection is part of the process, the ‘slow moving clock of your career’ or leadership or character, or ‘you fill the blank’.
The question is, in 2019, how many rejections and failures are you aiming for?
If you’re not rejected and failing…you’re not trying.
Love to hear what you guys think of this, so shoot me an email with your thoughts.
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Author: Jane Sullivan, ‘Time for Writers to Find Hope in Their rejections, Spectrum, SMH, Jan 5-6, 2019
image: by Cristian Newman on Unsplash