It Wasn’t My Writing Being Rejected – It Was Me


This week’s #OvercomeRejection post is brought to you by Amy Young. Please submit your story about how you overcame rejection to

* * * * *

Um, Amy, the encouragement is too long.

It was a Tuesday morning and my boss sheepishly looked down as he delivered a message sent from higher up. It was in reference to a weekly encouragement I added to the bottom of a business email sent out to teachers spread around China.

Can you come in here, Amy? He asked the following Tuesday. You used too much scripture this week.

I inhaled slowly, knowing he was the messenger and could hear the absurdity of it himself. Slowly I exhaled.

By the third week I was at my wits end. You’re connecting too much.

It was never spoken, but we both knew no matter how much I changed it, he’d be reprimanded as my supervisor for not “keeping me in line” better.

I was aiming at a moving target. Having made the encouraging word shorter, the problem moved to scripture. Reducing the amount of scripture, I was connecting too much. What was the common thread in all three? Me. After about 18 months of writing the weekly messages, I pulled the plug on the spot, knowing it wasn’t my writing that was being rejected. It was me.

Feeling helpless, my boss made several suggestions. “You could …” But each suggestion seemed more about assuaging him and the ways in which he had to desert me because we both wearied of the weekly communication from headquarters and these conversations, which seemed unlikely to change.

To spare us both, I said, “It’s finished.”

This wasn’t my first rejection. Mercy no. But it’s the rejection I remember. How do you change who you are? Too long. OK, I’ll shorten it. Not the best fit. OK, I’ll look for another home. Even comments like your platform isn’t large enough sting but understanding money is on the line, as much as I wish it weren’t true, they’re right, I don’t have a large platform.

I didn’t know it then, but that moment in his office became a stone of remembrance, marking the beginning of the long and slow goodbye with a job I had loved and deeply identified with. A job I was good at and where I experienced success and satisfaction, even joy.

I went radio silent on my writing. Keeping up only work email, letters, and newsletters to folks back in the US praying for me.

Rejection hurts and to move too quickly to salve the pain seemed like an act of false peace.  I didn’t want to wallow in it, as many didn’t even know I’d been rejected. But I also didn’t want to pretend to myself and those near me it hadn’t happened. I sought holy space to honor the rejection and, paradoxically, the ways I could now more fully identify with Christ and his rejection and betrayal.

More than a year later a friend said, “You should write a blog.” And though others had suggested it before (one of them being my boss on that day) the timing was right. Not all rejections end up being the birthing pains to something good and a piece of me revolts at this tidy, happy ending.

But in truth, the tidy happy ending of the launch of my public writing has also brought a long hall containing more doors that have the potential for rejection than I ever imagined. Paradoxically, they have also held the promise of more joy and connection than I could have anticipated. And so, like you, I keep showing up each day, not sure if the door before me will open or close.

Amy Young is readjusting to messy middle of life in the US after more than twenty years in China and the recent death of her dad. When she first moved to China she knew three Chinese words: hello, thank you and watermelon. Often the only words really needed in life. She is known to jump in without all the facts, and blogs regularly at and tweets as @amyinbj and is the most unbeautiful pinner Pinterest has ever seen (but she’s having fun!). Want a free book? Sign up for her quarterly newsletter and Signs of Eden Regained is YOURS.

* * * * *

Previous installments of #OvercomeRejection:

Permission To Try Again
Don’t Feed the Bear

9 Replies to “It Wasn’t My Writing Being Rejected – It Was Me”

  1. Oooh, that’s a tough one. I get that often, to be honest – there are a lot of people with whom I just won’t connect. I’m not especially marketable, blah, blah blah. But I’m learning to cling to the gift of who I am and the truth of that. Thanks for sharing, Amy.

    1. Kelly, glad it was helpful. Once I realized that no matter what I did, it would never be “right” or “enough” — oddly it became freeing. Not saying it was easy — but it wasn’t about me learning new skills or doing better — and these are truths we need to return to again and again, eh?!

  2. Amy,
    I think rejection slaps us hard because it says to us we are not good enough. Regardless of the validity of the rejection it still stings like hell. It is nice to be able to identify with Christ and it is nice to be able to know that in God’s eyes we are enough no matter. Rejection maybe a springboard for us but I’d rather spring into something else some other way instead of being pushed by rejection. It is humbling too and sometimes I need that. Don’t want it but need it.
    Amy no matter the reason the reason you started blogging I am just thankful you did as your blog is a blessing.

    1. Mark, as I’ve come to know about you, your answers are so thoughtful. Agreed that rejection stings — whether is is us ourselves or something we have made/poured ourselves into. Christ can redeem it and walk through the rejection with us, but he doesn’t remove it completely! And thanks for your kind words about my blog.

  3. Hi Amy,
    I first must say that I love your blog. It’s fantastic! I don’t read everything but it’s one of my absolute favorites!
    Now, onto rejection… I can definitely identify with your words because I am “too much of me” in everything I do. I have always had a hard time with that, especially recently in trying to “for in” with the girls at my church. The other day I was thinking about all the things I should change about myself in order to be liked by them and then I stopped myself.
    What was I thinking?
    God’s been using this dry season of friendships (or a lack thereof) to teach me the hard and humbling lesson of contentment. It seems that, even my husband who has cancer pointed out, I need to be content in where I am (or as Paul said, in all circumstances).
    But I am not! I keep getting rejected. Who wants that in their lives?
    I am so glad you wrote this post, Amy. Your rejection became the source of inspiration for many, many, many others. I am glad God used it for good, to shine His glory. I fear what my rejection is. It seems just a breaking down of my prideful self. That’s hardly giving God anything. :(
    Anyway, I am glad God used you and continues to use you. To Him be the glory! -Anna

    1. Anna, what a gift your words are. Seasons of dryness or loss are NOT FUN, are they? And yes, they are opportunities to put feet to pavement on values (i.e. being content). And yes, to rejection being a part of breaking down of pride. Sigh. And Yay! Because the breaking down can (not always) be like tearing muscles so they can come back stronger after healing. Ah, these lessons that truly are life long! Amy

  4. I learned to deal with rejection very early in my life, all the way from not being accepted by my classmates in KG until I was fired from my last job because of the way I look. And that lesson I learned that early is that “I don’t fit here” not “I should change”. Of course there are things I had to change as I see them worthy of working on, just to become a better servant of the Lord, but not to fit within a group of minds that don’t reason with mine.

    And as you pointed, Jesus with the light he offered was rejected, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

    I am not preaching negativity or escape as a solution to social problems. It’s just there are things that I can change like my manners and habbits, but there’s nothing I can, or willing, to do about who I am. This is the way it is, if not accepted I don’t care.

Comments are closed.