Nobody likes bug bites. They itch, they swell, and sometimes they become infected. These bites affect our physical bodies in ways we easily see and feel. The bitterness bug, on the other hand, burrows under our mental skin. It bites in unobtrusive places where we can’t see the marks, yet they still itch and annoy us. They pull our attention towards the event that spawned the bug, usually some wrong we perceive someone has done to us. But the more we think about it, the more it swells, the more it swells, the greater command it has over us, the more command it has over us, the more it makes us think about the hurt, and the further the poison spreads. An unending cycle that tears through our mind like a tornado, leaving only wreckage in its wake.
The writer’s life is ripe with opportunities to invite the bitterness bug into our lives. We look at all of our hard work, then at the rejection letters that pile up and wonder why. Why won’t anyone accept my wonderful story? Why won’t they tell me why they rejected it? Why won’t they tell me what I need to do to make my story acceptable? It doesn’t take much of this type of thinking to create either a pity party or an light the fire of anger.
Six months, and many rejections, after I started querying agents and publishing houses regarding my first novel, I found myself chafing under the bite of the bitterness bug. I asked myself all of the questions above and many more. The poison seeped into my mind and twisted my thinking until I started to blame others for my failure to find a home for my novel. But just when the swelling of the bitterness bug’s bites threatened to overwhelm me, God sent a nudge that made me sit up and take notice. Suddenly, I realized that I had begun to look to people for my answers when I needed to be turning towards Him. Within a week of confessing this sin, which soothed the swelling and irritation of the bitterness bug’s bite, I received two rejection letters which contained small tidbits to point me in the right direction. As always, God’s timing was perfect. He waited until I could recognize that the information in the rejections came from Him before He sent them to me. Otherwise, I would have continued to veer off the path, following people instead of Him.
So when you start to feel the bite of the bitterness bug, stop and think before you nourish it. Remember that it is poison and will…
Rob you of peace and joy
Keep you from going forward
Keep you from learning and growing
In other words, letting the bite swell will keep you from attaining what you really want. Instead, apply the salve of God’s Word, and let it heal the bitterness before it makes you veer off the path God has set before you.