Every spiritual truth is simple but difficult, plain but preposterous. In order to be first, all you have to do is be last (Matt. 20:16). Want to be strong? Simple. Just be weak (2 Cor. 12:10). How’d you like to be rich? You know what to do (Matt. 19:21).
A few days ago I happened upon “The Journal of Universal Rejection.” The business model is crazy simple: all submissions are rejected. Writers are assured: “You can send your manuscript here without suffering waves of anxiety regarding the eventual fate of your submission. You know with 100% certainty that it will not be accepted for publication.” They make it easy: “The JofUR solicits any and all types of manuscript: poetry, prose, visual art, and research articles. You name it, we take it, and reject it. Your manuscript may be formatted however you wish. Frankly, we don’t care.” Best of all, you don’t have to wait weeks and months for a response: “Decisions are often (though not always) rendered within hours of submission.”
It’s a spoof that bangs the funny bone of writers like me. (I think my last book proposal was rejected 20 times before someone saved my sinking ego.) I read it and laughed . . . and then I stopped to think. This was so absurd it was perfectly reasonable. In fact, Jesus might well be the Editor-in-Chief of such a journal. “For anyone who seeks acceptance,” he might say, “must first endure rejection.”
We laugh at this parody because we’re all terrified of rejection, not just academics who must publish or perish. The comedy works because it taps into our universal anxiety, and because the solution to the problem is so insane. Or is it? Fear of rejection is so destructive because it’s paralyzing. It keeps us from anything creative, brave, or risky: lead with your heart and it can be crushed. What if we could simply offer our gifts to the world and not worry about what other people think? In other words, submit your best offering to the Journal of Universal Rejection and just get it over with.
Once we treat acceptance and rejection as the twin imposters they are, we are truly free.