Words from God and rejection slips: A writer’s collections


What do I collect as a writer? Three things:

  • Bible verses
  • Rejection slips
  • Various editorial corrections

The editorial corrections are constant and quick in the new world of electronic publishing. I write: you comment that I’m wrong. You write; I add a long and thoughtful comment from a different view; you “moderate” me out of the comment stream. It is, we all understand, the nature of online conversation. It has formed, and reformed, our real-world conversations as well. You think. I think differently. You “edit” me out of your life.

The rejection slips are entirely metaphorical. In the 21st century these come as electronic dismissals or vast electronic holes into which my work vanishes, unnoted. One large popular publisher alerts submitters that rejections are no longer sent, so the publisher may avoid propagating negativity.

The publisher apparently prefers to propagate uncertainty and anxiety. That’s their new thing.

The Bible verses? Well, I’ve gained editorial correction for that collection, so I should be hesitant even to mention it again. For as long as I’ve been a Christian, we have circulated “promise books” that describe what God will do for us. For nearly as long as I’ve been a Christian, I’ve wanted a “purpose book” that describes what God wants me to do. Not because I think my good works will save me. God is entirely clear about that. God is the one who rescues us from a dark world (Eph. 2:8).

But how can I let God remake me if I don’t know enough about what God’s work looks like to cooperate? And yes, I agree that Jesus is God in human form, and to be imitated. At the same time, the record we have of Jesus’ life in the Bible is much too short to help me know what to do many times. I have to suspect, without knowing (since my mind falls far short of the mind of God), that God left us the entire Bible for guidance knowing there would be times when the “red letters” fail to provide clarity.

And so I collect Bible verses. What does God say is right to do? How does God say we are to be? Which of the works before me look most like God and are therefore most likely to be included among the “good works which God prepared in advance” for me to do (Eph. 2:10)?

I fail at least as often as I succeed, and in failing gain regular rejection from the human community and the Body of Christ. But my Bible verses tell me that what God says is:

Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Dt. 31:6)

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Dt. 31:8)

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Josh. 1:5)

God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)

I must not be afraid. I must not be discouraged. These are my responsibilities. And God tells me they are possible because no matter how many abandon me, God does not.

As a writer, I collect rejection slips, rejections, and Bible verses. Blessed be the Author of all that is good, whose writings do not include rejection slips.

In response to the Five Minute Friday prompt “What do you Collect as a writer?”

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About Carlene Hill Byron

The former editor of New England Church Life and The New England Christian, Carlene Hill Byron is enjoying being home in Maine after 20 years in North Carolina. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild. Find her at christianpurposeblog.wordpress.com, churchandmentalillness.wordpress.com and on Facebook at MyHouseHasHistory.
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5 Responses to Words from God and rejection slips: A writer’s collections

  1. Jeannie Prinsen says:

    As a writer I find it extremely comforting to know that God never sends us a rejection slip. I love that thought. I also love your idea of the purpose book and collecting verses that remind us that God is faithful even when we experience rejection.

    I note that you live in Brunswick–beautiful town! I’m Canadian and live in Ontario, but my brother has been a prof at Bowdoin for many years; he lives in Portland now, but my former sister-in-law and my niece still live in Brunswick. I have been there several times.

    Jeannie (#40 in FMF linkup)

    • Carlene Hill Byron says:

      And I have been several times to the Toronto area — love the city and its many cultures. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Marvia says:

    Love the reminder that what God says is the final word. Such hope and comfort there. He is not fickle. Encouragement no read today. Thanks! From #70 Marvia

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