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Finding freedom within rejection

Recently, I’ve been talking about my journey with the novel I’m working on, Final Moment, and lessons I’m learning from some disappointing contest results.

In hopes that my journey will help someone else, I’m sharing a few themes that have emerged for me.

Last week, it was about the importance of hanging onto the dreams God gives us while also letting go of control regarding how they’ll evolve and trusting Him with that process.

This week, I’d like to talk about the freedom that can found within rejection.

Making ourselves vulnerable

Now, I don’t mean to be melodramatic.

It was just a writing contest, and rejection is a powerful word.

But I bet you can identify on some level with how hard it can be to make yourself vulnerable to the feedback of others regarding something that’s near and dear to your heart.

That could be a creative project of one kind or another; a new idea; a decision you’ve made; or any number of iterations of stepping outside your comfort zone to open yourself up to the opinions of others.

Similarly, I bet you know quite well how disheartening it can be when others provide some version of negative feedback.

This is especially true when that feedback comes from a source that matters a lot to you.

That could be another person, a group, an organization, or even an industry.

So, why do we set ourselves up for this stuff?

For disappointment and heartache at the hands of others?

Why do we continue to make ourselves vulnerable instead of hunkering down in our own little risk-less worlds?

Hanging onto our dreams with God

Of course, there are many who do hunker down in such a way.

Who give up on their dreams based on the opinions of others.

I think that’s so unfortunate, because God calls us to something more.

As I wrote last week, I believe the dream seeds planted by God are unique to each of us—and seeing them bear the fruit God intends involves partnering with Him to nourish and help them grow.

I first heard about this concept of creating with God when I heard Allen Arnold speak at a writers conference last year.

One of the most powerful aspects of his talk for me was when he drew four concentric circles on the white board at the front of the room.

In the outer circle reside distraction and reaction—which include things like external metrics and reviews (and contest results!).

Allen says we don’t want to stay in this circle, because if we do, we’re looking for validation in the wrong places.

We shouldn’t be basing our creative identities on outside metrics.

In fact, we shouldn’t be basing anything about our identities on external metrics.

Instead, we should be basing our identities on who we are as children of God—which is emphasized in the center of Allen’s circle, where we create and live with God, instead of just for Him.

Finding freedom within rejection

So where is the freedom within rejection in the midst of all of this?

When it causes us to stop and re-evaluate the journey we’re on.

To assess whether we’re remaining in the loop of Allen’s outer circle or moving inwardly toward God.

When we make that inward shift, we begin to shed the need to live by the world’s expectations and instead take God’s hand as we embrace the journey of creating and living with Him.

I’m so grateful that what was initially a disappointment for me has instead become an evolving gift.

As I evaluate things more, I realize how much valuable time I’ve been wasting in that outer circle, longing for the approval of others in the publishing world.

And with my new view in hand, I’m excited and eager to discard the outer-circle constraints and head inward with God to discover all He will do with the dream seeds He has planted in my life.

What’s in Allen’s other two circles? Tune in next week and I’ll talk about those more. 😊

P.S. I checked with Allen recently and he gave me permission to share his great stuff.

P.S.S. If you have a freedom-in-rejection story you’d like to share, please join the conversation by commenting below.

This post first appeared in the latest edition of The Empowered Traveler™ Newsletter. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can do that here: Subscribe to Sue’s newsletter.

Feature image by photo by Luca Upper on Unsplash.

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