Got Rejection? (Encouragement for Creators)

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“No prophet is accepted in his hometown.” (Luke 4:24 NIV) 

Rejected? Rhat? Roo too?

Who said that? Jesus Christ, right after he got rejected in, of all places, the village where He grew up — and Jesus was the greatest teacher and the best storyteller who ever walked this planet, bar none! Remember all those cool parables, the ones we’re still reading and referencing today — almost 2000 years after He shared them? Of course. How many modern writers continue to riff on “The Story of The Good Samaritan” or “The Prodigal Son”? How many financial experts on “The Parable of the Talents”? And yet, even Jesus faced his share of rejection in that arena. In fact, rejection, for Jesus, was always in the plan. He had to be rejected before he could be exalted, put down before He was lifted up. And if people rejected Jesus (!!!) … well, we ought to be able to handle a little rejection ourselves. Consider it a rite of passage. You won’t be anyone special until you’ve received your share of rejection.

Know who else got rejected? Do you have a favorite author? Yes, him too. Yeah, her also. Obviously your favorite writers didn’t give up. They stayed the course no matter how hard it got or how long it took. You need to do the same.

Dr. Laurence J. Peter: “The great question is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with failure.”

Want to hear something funny? Dr. Laurence J. Peter submitted a non-fiction manuscript to McGraw-Hill in 1964. An astute editor at the publishing company responded: “I can foresee no commercial possibilities for such a book and consequently can offer no encouragement.” Undeterred, Dr. Peter sent the manuscript to thirty other publishers and received thirty more rejections. Finally, William Morrow & Co. purchased his book for a single payment of $2,500; and the publisher’s expectations for it were so low that the company ordered an extremely cautious print run of only 10,000 copies. But hey, editors and publishers are only human: how could they know — despite being in the business of recognizing profitable book projects — that The Peter Principle would rocket to the top of the New York Times best-seller list?; or that the book would sell 200,000 copies its first year in print?; or be translated into 38 languages? Good grief, it’s a good thing the good doctor didn’t give up on a good book idea! (How’s that for a good sentence?)

Got Rejection? Welcome to an elite club that boasts a membership comprised of the world’s best and greatest.

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A Strategy for Salads (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Are you crazy?!? Don’t touch that giant pea pod!! Uh, too late.

Tuesday we discussed Culinary Oddballs, those misfit foods that defy categorization. For instance, most vegetables are either roots, stems, seeds or leaves, but the tomato … well, it’s not even classed as a veggie. It belongs to the fruit family. So does the avocado. Yes, you’ve been scooping up fruit dip with those tortilla chips. And the coconut? Another fruit, right? Nah, coconuts are actually really big seeds, and therefore fit better in the seed and nut category. Peas? They’re just plain weird, hiding in their green pods all quiet and unassuming, all the while plotting to take over the earth. (Like in the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers!)

On the other hand, no one is fooled by the banana, right? Bananas are fruit, period! Banana cream pie, banana ice cream, bananas dipped in chocolate, Bananas Foster, banana pudding! And yet … the plantain belongs to the same family as the banana, but in many cultures the plaintain is prepared and served as a veggie. In fact, it’s often considered the “Hispanic potato.” In several Latin American cuisines plantains are baked, boiled, mashed, and fried — just like spuds. And by the way, we actually prefer tostones (crispy fried and salted sliced plantains) over french fries! So, is the plaintain a fruit or a veggie? Uh, yeah.

¡Tostones son deliciosos!

What do we do with these culinary oddballs? We enjoy them. We find ways to use them and help them fit in to our meals. We give the tomato a big group hug between two slices of rye with some baked ham; we blend the avocado with seasonings and make a killer dip that tortilla chips can’t resist; we sprinkle coconut on everything from shrimp to ice cream, and  sometimes we lovingly smother it in dark chocolate; and peas … well, now that we’re adults we love them, too! And all these items can be tossed together in a salad or stew!

We also encounter “oddballs” in life. Good people that don’t seem to fit the standard profile. People with their own unique personalities, gifts and talents. People who have much to offer and contribute — if we let them. Maybe they have different beliefs, interests, or backgrounds. Maybe they’re just shy. But for one reason or another, they don’t fit in with the crowd. And know what? At one time or another, in some situation or group, we’ve all been there!

What should we do with these social misfits? Toss ’em out? Nope. Toss ’em IN. Make a social salad! How do we do that? By being welcoming and accepting and inclusive. Here’s God’s simple recipe for making a Social Salad. It’s really quite simple:

SYMPATHIZE! Remember what it was like when YOU felt alone and strange — like you didn’t fit in; like you were an oddball! Then treat others the same way you wish you’d been treated. Welcome them. Make them feel accepted and a part of your group, circle, etc.  “You are not to wrong or oppress an alien [newcomer / misfit / ‘oddball’], because you were aliens [‘oddballs’] in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 22:21 ISV)

STRATEGIZE! Think of ways to use their gifts and talents, ways to help them feel comfortable with the rest of the crowd. Help them find a place and fit in. “The stranger [newcomer / misfit / ‘oddball’] who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens [‘oddballs’] in the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:34 NASB)

SOCIALIZE! Do we really need to explain this one? Just talk. Communicate. Be friendly. Share food, fun, and fellowship. Play nice together!  “…Show your love for the alien [newcomer / misfit / ‘oddball’], for you were aliens [‘oddballs’] in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:19 NASB)

If you feel awkward or uncomfortable (or odd!) doing any of this, it’s probably because you’re fearful of coming across as an oddball yourself — a sure sign that you really do understand what it’s like.  And if you understand … well … then you’re the best person to toss together a social salad using the “3-S” recipe!

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