I’ve Been Dumped.
Not really, but that’s how it feels.
I usually don’t write about my dreams or what I’m pursuing behind the scenes. However, please bear with me today as I use this post to share some valuable lessons God is teaching me.
A few years ago, I attended my first writer’s conference. I possessed little knowledge of the business side of writing but fostered a gigantic dream. That weekend I met a literary agent who liked my work but felt my platform was too small. She gave me tips on how to grow blog subscribers, but it did not end in a partnership.
About a year later, I found myself questioning the direction my writing should take. I bounced around several ideas but didn’t know the industry well enough to know which ones would increase the chances of being traditionally published and which ones might hinder the possibility. Finally, after months of heightened insecurities and looming questions, I met with another literary agent.
I was expecting him to give me the “like your work, but your platform is too small” line, but instead we met for an hour and a half talking about faith more than anything. He seemed open to representing me and helped create a unique idea for a book. For the last eighteen months, I have been staying up late and waking early to research and write. Each time I put something together, the agent would return it with suggestions for improvement.
After two do-overs, I threw out my original drafts and spent nine months creating new content for the book. Before sending it to the agent, I sent it to others for review and paid several hundred dollars to have it professionally edited. I hoped the effort would result in a green light in moving forward to the next step. He responded quickly saying he looked forward to reading it. A week later, he sent a short e-mail saying he could no longer help me. It felt like a middle school break-up all over again.
I had been dumped.
I tried to call my husband at work, but he was too busy to talk. My son asked, “Mom-mom, why are you crying? Did one of your favorite people die?” I laughed off his question and said, “No, buddy. No one died.” But, honestly, it felt like my dream did die.
While I certainly expect to experience rejection from publishers, it was comforting knowing that there was someone in my corner. Now it feels incredibly lonely to not see someone standing in the ring with me. Doubts, questions, and insecurities overran my thoughts in the twenty-four hours following that e-mail. My stress caused a terrible case of hives that required Jason to inject me with an epi-pen at four in the morning. After swallowing doses of steroids (liquid and pill form) and taking around-the-clock antihistamines for a week, they finally subsided. It’s been messy, as most break-ups are, but I’m learning a lot of hard truths during this time which is why I am sharing all of this with you today.
Four Lessons I Learned From Being Dumped
1. I take out my frustration on those closest to me.
Similar to King Saul, those in my family are witness to my fits of rage, but I also hurt those closest to me when I’m feeling hurt. Shortly after I hung up the phone with my husband, he sent me this sweet text,
You would think I would appreciate his words and effort, but my first response was to scream, “Oh yeah?! You don’t even read my writing.” My emotions quickly caused me to vilify my husband. Instead of gratefulness and unity, my attitude ushered in hostility and animosity. I treated him as it if this was all his fault. Jason often gets caught in the crossfire between my emotions and whatever it is that is upsetting me. I need to do a much better job appreciating my husband rather than using him as an emotional punching bag.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. ~ Ephesians 4:2-3
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. ~ Galatians 5:13-15
2. There is no place for bitterness.
I initially titled this heading, “There is no room for bitterness.” But then I changed it because while there is room for bitterness, it has no place in my life. The day after being let go, I traveled two hours north for a speaking engagement. Trying to get a grip on my emotions, I used the entire drive to pour my heart out to our Heavenly Father. God quickly told me, very clearly, that I cannot be upset with this agent. He is a Christ-follower who is spending his life doing Kingdom work. As a co-laborer, he deserves my prayers, support, and respect. That’s not exactly what I wanted to hear. Honestly, I was already starting to grow angry towards him, but when I allow bitterness in, I’m walking in disobedience to what the Lord desires.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. ~ Colossians 3:13
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. ~ Ephesians 4:31
3. God’s Word is at work.
In February I attended an incredible conference in Texas for women in their 20s and 30s who feel called to speak, teach, and write. I have yet to process fully the impact of that weekend. But for me, it seemed having an agent confirmed my calling. Several women were wondering how to secure representation, but I excitedly shared how God had taken care of that for me. I didn’t hesitate to express my gratefulness for my agent’s support on this journey.
Having that connection snatched away so quickly after that trip felt like salt in the wound. But the encouragement offered over the course of the conference was simply to stick close to God’s Word. That message doesn’t change even when my circumstances do. I spent a few days floundering without much time in the Word, but oh when I finally sat in His presence and read the Bible, it brought comfort, healing, and hope.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ~Hebrews 4:12
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:10-11
4. I’m fighting the accuser.
“God is putting you in a time-out.” “How laughable that you thought you had anything to offer.” “See, you will never amount to anything.” And so it goes on and on inside my mind. These thoughts don’t bring peace or speak truth, but they daily run through my mind. I’m fighting the Evil One who wants to use this unexpected event to drive a wedge between my Jesus and me. He wants to cast doubt, heighten insecurities, and breed destruction. I don’t know what the Lord has planned for me, but I know that He is good. His plans might not include a ministry that reaches outside my family and local church, but I’m his daughter and He’s equipped me to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). Regardless of what the future holds, God doesn’t speak in accusatory tones and I must on guard for the spiritual battle.
Keep awake! Watch at all times. The devil is working against you. He is walking around like a hungry lion with his mouth open. He is looking for someone to eat. ~ 1 Peter 5:8 (NLV)
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. ~ Ephesians 6:12
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. ~ Revelation 12:10
These lessons are coming from my current situation, but they aren’t exclusively mine.
I think all of us can relate to them.
Please know, I did not share all of this with you to invite you into my pity-party. Rather, I want to stress that there is hope in the midst of heartache. We do not serve a God who keeps His distance. He is constantly working behind the scenes, fighting for our wellbeing (which is different from giving us our desires). The Lord catches our tears and redeems our pain. This truth is applicable whether you feel dumped or are just feeling down in the dumps; whether you are experiencing small disappointments or life-altering ones. There are lessons to learn, maturity to develop, and a relentless Father who desires to take us into a deeper relationship with Him. I don’t know what will unfold, but I’m excited about where He will lead. I’m thankful we serve a God who offers us hope in any and every situation.
Praying for anyone else who is feeling dumped today.