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Dealing With Rejection

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“I’m sorry, but upon further consideration, your show with our gallery is canceled.” My eyes read it again, and the immediate unpleasant feelings of anger and rejection welled up like a dam about to burst.  Why? What has happened? What exactly does this mean for my future? There are so many negative emotions and confusion that swirl around a rejection, and mostly, it’s painful.  It feels extremely personal, and sometimes, it is extremely personal.  You can feel powerless and lost, and even begin to question why you create.

Rejection has a very negative impact on us both mentally and spiritually.

As artists, we all know this feeling of rejection, and it’s never a pleasant one.  We put our work out there, and many times we receive acceptance, which is wonderful – but many times there is rejection.  What’s worse, that rejection is not a “one time” event for us.  If you are a professional artist (meaning, this is what you do for your livelihood), you know that this can be an ongoing state of affairs…and it can wear you down.  You begin to question why you do what you do, if you are good enough, what you are doing wrong – the questions swirl and resentment can take root and build, but only if you do not see the bigger “why”: why do we really do what we do?  We are artists and we create because we are called by the Lord to be artists and create; not by the world, but by our Lord.

The Lord called us to bring light to a very dark world with our creative gifts.  The “art world” itself is currently steeped in a very dark place of humanism and post-modernism; any light that is brought to it is quickly extinguished, or (at the very least) there is an attempt to extinguish it.  The enemy does not want any light in his territory, but yet this is what we are called to do.  As an artist functioning in the “art world”, you must be prepared for a battle, and a difficult one at that.

This battle is exactly as it sounds: ongoing, tough, and it is not for the faint of heart, because our Lord said in John 15:18, “if the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”  However, the Lord has equipped us with all of the necessary weapons we need for this battle, as according to Ephesians 6:10-18: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

We should not expect to be embraced by this world, as we are not of it.  Our role here as an artist is not to receive acclaim for ourselves and the strength of our own talent, but to bring glory to the Lord, and to outreach with that talent He has so graciously gifted us.  The reason we are called to be artists is to find a way of reaching the lost and showing Christ’s love to them.  Your art and your craft should be your ministry, and not just a mode of self-aggrandizement or a means to personal gain and glory.  Sorry if that offends, but that is the truth of the matter.

When we are rejected by the world, we should expect that, and take heart that God’s “got our back”.  He has sent us out as sheep among the wolves, and we know that the task at hand — of reaching the lost and showing the love of Christ —  will require faith, trust, and tenacity — you cannot give up when the going gets tough.  Pray, allow the Lord to heal your soul and meditate in His love for you, allow the Holy Spirit to be your guide, and you keep moving forward.  We keep running the race that we are called to run!

Stay faithful, stay focused, and stay creative!

Hilary J. England

Hilary is the Founder and Lead Artist of Healing Hearts Thru Art, a ministry that supports bereaved parents with a portrait gift and the love of Christ, and is also a professional portrait artist and author.

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