Hope Deferred Makes the Heart Sick

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7,8




My adventure of writing my first book was nearing the finish line. I had an editor with a prestigious publishing house presenting Grappling with God to his editorial committee. I could taste it. He told me that on Monday they would discuss my proposal and get back to me right away. I was so excited and hopeful. I began allowing myself to anticipate success. I felt like a kid on the days leading up to Christmas.


Monday came and went. I noticed how I was making up all kinds of stories to explain why my editor hadn’t gotten back to me. “The meeting ran late and there was no time to call me,” or “They needed more time to draw up the contract.” Tuesday passed and I started feeling a low-grade concern. I started wondering whether I had misunderstood the date or that possibly they had had to postpone the meeting. I was afraid to call and find out. I didn’t want to come off too pushy, too needy, or too excited. I didn’t want to upset or offend him. I didn’t want to know.


I was getting more and more restless. I started searching the social media sites to see if I could find out where he was and what he was doing. Sure enough, I discovered he was in Germany at the Frankfurt Book Fair. I experienced some relief knowing that he was out of the country. I fantasized he was pitching my book at the world’s largest and most prestigious book fair? Maybe, he wasn’t able to be at the committee meeting and they were not able to discuss Grappling with God?


It was now ten days later. I couldn’t rationalize waiting and hiding out any longer. I carefully crafted an email and sent it to him. A short time later I received his email apologizing for not getting back to me sooner and explaining that the committee had decided not to publish my book. I was so disappointed and in a state of shock.


It was as if I was playing football and someone had just knocked the wind out of me. I found myself feeling embarrassed, looking around to see if anyone knew that I had been rejected again. I told myself that I had to pick myself up and act as if nothing had happened. I immediately threw myself into plan B, sending an email to a highly regarded literary agent who had agreed to represent me if this publishing company rejected my book.  I was determined to not let this get me down.


Underneath my can-do attitude, I was really hurting. I felt all the painful feelings at once, as if I was tasting ing an emotional fruit smoothie. It was several hours later, as I was driving to work that I realized I was angry. I found myself building a case against the editor for how unprofessional and unkind it was to not have contacted me when he knew ten days earlier.


I am happy to say that I was conscious of my reactivity and aware of the grieving process I was going through. I knew I was experiencing the loss of my book being rejected again. As I found myself building a case against the editor and making him bad, I knew that he was not the problem—I was hurt and disappointed. It was no ones fault. I was having a hard time admitting to myself that I was hurt. I wanted to blame instead of feel. I wanted to try and regain a sense of being in control.


The next morning I was in my CLE pastors group and sharing with the pastors my disappointment. One of them interrupted my story and asked me why I never called the acquisition editor on Monday. It was as if the scales fell from my eyes. I suddenly grasped that I had authored my suffering. I was not a victim. In that moment, I understood that on the surface I didn’t call him sooner because I was afraid to appear too excited or too pushy and risk offending him. The deeper truth was that I was afraid to find out what the decision was. I was more comfortable waiting and magically hoping that they would choose my book.


I saw how I was operating as a child. Fearing I was too much, as a young boy I learned how to muffle and mute my hunger and enthusiasm. I learned how to manage others and make every effort to please them. I lost myself and was hiding out behind a mask of inauthenticity. For years I had been hiding my hurt and mastering the art of covering up my genuine thoughts and feelings.

The truth had set me free. Writing the book was tough—trying to get it published was an even more threatening challenge. Naturally, I wanted it to be easy. I wanted to be chosen. I wanted to feel special. God wanted to wrestle with me—to use this opportunity to revitalize our relationship and teach me what it means to live by faith. THe abundant life offered by God is lived authentically and courageously  in the here and now.

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Published: 19.11.2011 / 06:57 AM

Category: Grappling with God,Relationships,Spiritual Growth

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