Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? No, I don't necessarily mean as a fisherman, but as an individual. Have you ever felt frustration and disappointment? Have you ever done all the right things in all the right ways and still found that your efforts were in vain? Have you ever tried every way you could possibly conceive of to remedy a situation and walked away with your head down, tears falling? If you can answer "yes" to any of those questions, then you can understand how the disciples felt.
I received a healthy dose of understanding last week when I received yet another rejection letter. This one was not from a publisher regarding a book or a magazine regarding an article, but rather it was a website regarding a job for which I had applied several months ago. After reading the job description, I was confident I was perfect for the job. I had all the right skills. I had all the proper requirements. But when no word ever came, I assumed the job had been given to someone else.
When I saw the e-mail address of the company, I felt a thrill of excitement. In the writing/publishing industry, many times you are only notified if you are accepted. It just takes too much time and effort to notify each applicant. With this in mind, I opened the e-mail and began reading:
Dana, Thank you for taking the time to apply. . .We appreciate the hard work and effort you put into your application. However, we recently offered a contract to another candidate.
Some common reasons we may not have chosen your application include:
* We are looking for someone with more professional writing experience.
* We are looking for someone with more writing experience in the topic.
* We are looking for someone with different qualifications.
* The writing in the writing sample was not up to our standards or had errors.
As much as I tried, I just couldn't hold back the tears. As I read through the list of "common reasons", all I could see was the same accusation over and over again--"You're just not good enough." To be honest, I was ready to quit. "Why bother?" I asked myself. "You've tried and tried, and all you've accomplished is to get nowhere fast. You've wasted your time, your money and your energy. Why? For a career that seems perpetually out of reach. It's just too hard, and frankly, I'm tired of trying.
I walked away from my computer and went to apply myself to something else, so I sat down to prepare my Sunday School lesson. I opened my Bible to Luke 5 and began reading. I laughed and cried as I identified with the weary fishermen. But then, I found encouragement. We all know the story, but read through the verses again:
And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. - Luke 5:6-7
Think about it--these men were one cast away from hauling in the biggest catch of their lives. What if they had given up? What if they had refused to try again? What if they had failed to follow the Savior's prompting? Think of what they would have missed out on.
I may be one step away from reaching my writing goals, but I'll never know if I'm not willing to take that step. You may be one step away from reaching your dream. Don't give up. Don't get discouraged. Eventually, our nets will be overflowing, but we must keep casting them!