Monday Morning Devotion-August 12, 2019
Doesn't Meet My Needs
And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
*Here's a lesson I learned 8 years ago-October 3, 2011. In fact, it was self-taught. I've found that it's good to be reminded of these things from time to time.
"Thank you, but your submission does not meet our needs at this time."
If you have ever sent a manuscript to a would-be publisher I'm sure you have encountered that line. If you have submitted manuscripts before and have never gotten that answer back, I would certainly like to talk with you to find out how you did it.
I can't count up the rejections I've had among all the article and book queries I have sent out over the years. Even if I could count them all up I wouldn't do it because it would be too depressing.
That is just part of life as a writer. I can count well over 700 articles and five books that have been published. In fact, these devotions have been read in 200 countries. So, I choose to focus on those when I have submitted the latest sure-thing to a publisher only to find it doesn't meet their needs at this time.
One writer when asked how she handled rejection said, "The primary truth is: By ranting and raving at my husband about what fools these editor mortals are." Then she said that she had learned over time that this infuriating statement means just that. It honestly doesn't meet their needs. It doesn't mean your book stinks, or you can't write. It just doesn't meet their needs. There can be a wide variety of reasons it doesn't meet their needs, none of which should be a reflection on your writing talents. (www.oakdaleconfidential,com)
So here is what I decided to do in my life: Whenever I get a rejection I'm just going to say, "Sorry, Mr. Publisher, Editor, mail-clerk (whoever is responsible for the negative response) but "this rejection letter doesn't meet my needs at this time." Of course, I probably won't get any more rejections now that I have come up with that plan. Sure, I can imagine that happening.
But if it does happen I'm not going to waste any time sending that reply back to them, but that is the attitude I will take. And while assuming that posture I will continue working hard, praying hard and brainstorming ideas that will lead to someone receiving a manuscript from me that does meet their needs at this time.
That is the key. Don't let rejections get you down...they don't meet your needs, they don't further your dreams, and they shouldn't do anything beyond inspiring you to keep working and being creative in selecting venues deserving of your work.
We can go beyond that. Even if you are not a writer this approach can work for you. I recently read a devotion by Anne Cetas (Our Daily Bread) in which she wrote:
"I've found that this phrase --- "This does not meet our needs at this time---or ever."---can be a helpful saying in my Christian walk to renew my mind and refocus my thoughts on the Lord."
"Here's what I mean. When starting to worry we can remind ourselves: "Worry does not meet my needs at this time---or ever. My heart's need is to trust God, "I will be anxious for nothing."
Philippians 4:6 says: "Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done."
Maybe you are feeling a little jealous because someone else got a big break in life and you feel like you are working just as hard and are as deserving...OK admit it. You feel more deserving of that promotion, publication, plaudits, etc. "(Man, I can find 50 books on the bookstore shelf that are not as well written as mine.") That's the time to just stop and say: "Hey, envy or jealousy does not meet my needs at this time." Then move on to bigger and better things.
Proverbs 14:30 says "Envy is rottenness to the bones." It certainly is not going to get you anywhere and will just contribute to you falling into a funk that you have to work to extricate yourself from.
Paul addresses this in Romans 12:2 "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think."
Paul is pointing out that we can't renew our minds by ourselves. We have to simply admit that this difficulty is not meeting our needs and turn to God who will, through the Holy Spirit, show us the way to go.
Then Paul adds: "As God's messenger I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you."
Of course, if we are honest with ourselves we have to admit that sometimes we just get downright angry at the way some things turned out and are really mad about our beautifully written, carefully researched, painstakingly organized piece of work being rejected simply because it didn't meet their needs. That's because we really do feel like it meets their needs, and this is just a way of blowing us off and cutting down their paperwork. Oh well, if they don't want to publish a potential national bestseller that's their problem.
To this kind of an approach in life Paul remarks "Don't sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the devil."
Okay, so the more I read Paul's advice, the more I'm convinced this is the best approach...one that will ultimately lead to success.
So, I'm going to borrow the publishing industry's favorite phrase and make it work for me instead of against me.
So, I might be saying, to myself, a lot of times: "This does not meet my needs at this time." I'm feeling good about that already. I think it is going to straighten out my thinking and have a positive effect on my actions and the results.
Monday Prayer: Lord thank you for this new approach. Help us to eliminate the things that do not meet our needs and replace them with things that do. Amen!