A few months ago, one of my favorite author/speakers, Jen Hatmaker announced that she was looking for 500 writers to help her launch her new book, For The Love. Having just finished reading her book Interrupted, I knew whatever this book was about, I wanted in on it. And if I could get my hands on an advanced copy, wow, that would mean less waiting. Patience is a virtue and I possess exactly none of it.
5000 writers/bloggers applied and as luck would have it, I was not accepted. In true Jen style, her rejection email was funny, compassionate and full of love. I let any feelings of jealousy go, because I know it was not a popularity contest, at least I hope not. But yeah, it was not the outcome I had hoped.
Then, a small number of the “rejects” (not really, but perhaps the “not chosen ones”?) named themselves #the4500, sending hilarious tweets to Jen. It was brilliant. Jen took notice and saw humor, fun and love from the group that were not chosen initially. More joined the 4500 movement and began to get to know each other in a facebook group. Organically, the group of women gathered in a way that doesn’t happen all the time in Christian circles. Women who were longing for sisterhood, authenticity and support for their deepest Jesus dreams were finding others on a similar journey. I can’t say that I have witnessed anything so real in a long time.
I have no clue what the chosen 500 group is like, but I imagine it being very similar to the 4500. Who knew that rejection could band together hundreds of women from all denominations, walks of life and seasons of life together. And as disappointing as it was to be rejected, there was now a group of friends which felt far from rejection. Support, prayer, advice was just the tip of the iceberg with these women. Love is a verb and so there has been love extended to people to meet practical needs. Get togethers are happening around the country and previous strangers are now doing life together.
I have thought about this experience and how this happens in other aspects of my life as well. I know that there are areas of my life where rejection felt much worse than Jen’s gracious email. There have been closed doors, goodbyes, boundaries that needed to be set and there has been flat out rejection. There have been what I thought were NOs in my life that were only NOT YETs as time was not right yet. There have been what I thought were NOs that were WAIT, THERE’S SOMETHING SO MUCH BETTERs if I trusted and let go. How many times do I want to morph my NO into a YES knowing that I am trying to be a captain of a sinking ship with that YES? Do I dare to trust my NO and discover what might be on the other side? Joining a group of women has allowed me to trust other NOs as the best course for me and find my ultimate YES.
So thank you Jen, thank you #ForTheLove and most of all thank you to the ladies behind #the4500. There is a bigger lesson here and it starts with a gentle rejection and ends with love that moves us to action.
Jen’s book For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards can be preordered from Amazon. I was lucky to receive a few advance chapters and I can’t wait to read the rest!