“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
~ President Theodore Roosevelt
When I was five years old, I did not have very lofty career aspirations. I didn’t want to get married or have kids. I wanted to open a daycare center in my parents’ home. I quickly grew out of that!
In junior high, I wanted to be one of three things: a photographer, a writer, or a lawyer. I also harbored fantasies of being a world-class athlete (thank you, 1992 Olympic games and “A League of Their Own”), or an A-list actor (who would wow showbiz insiders with her raw talent and dazzle on the talk show circuit).
Alas, I did not pursue any of those professions. Somewhere along the way I let pragmatism and fear of failure keep me from pursuing a dream – from even testing the waters to confirm whether it was something I truly wanted to do.
Photography and writing were too competitive, and there’s no guarantee you could make a living. Being an attorney would require more schooling, which equaled time and money that I was not willing to sacrifice, especially since I had no idea if I would like being a lawyer. I was afraid of getting stuck.
So, I struggled. I took multiple personality/career aptitude tests. I put off picking a college major for as long as I could, and when I finally did choose one, it was a sensible choice: I figured I could go in many different directions with a communications major.
This brings me to today – still wondering what I’m supposed to DO with my life. Well, after working at a law firm for almost five years, I know for certain that I DO NOT want to be a lawyer!
For the past four months or so, I have met with a friend once a week for a mini small group. In conjunction with a study on the Holy Spirit, we read a book called Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will, by Kevin DeYoung.
He says that sometimes you have to just step out and make a decision to do something. Many of us don’t take risks for God because we’re too concerned with our security. But God is a good God and our trust in his character allows us to take risks for him – that is faith.
DeYoung posits that because God is most concerned with our holiness, sanctification, and transformation, if we’re seeking first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, dying to self and living for Christ, seeking wisdom by rooting ourselves in the Word, and if we fear God and keep his commands, then we are free to make decisions like “where should I live,” “where should I work,” and “whom should I marry?” And, though we may not see it in the moment, as we look back over our lives, we will see how God’s hand has lovingly guided us.
In reading/discussing this book, and by spending time in prayer, I’ve had to ask myself, how can I expect God to guide me if I lock myself in a box, unwilling to take any risks or try any doors? I need to take the first step and see where he will lead.
This is why I have decided to start a blog. I realize that there are millions of blogs out there, and some are really well-written, insightful, encouraging, and challenging. How can I compare to those great writers, why even try?
Well, I’ve realized that being creative invigorates me – whether scrapbooking, editing pictures/creating collages, writing, or even something I’m not particularly good at, like drawing. I feel refreshed when I have the opportunity to create.
Writing, in particular, has always been something I enjoy. I’ve kept journals for most of my life. I still have all of my journals, including a diary from when I was ten. But, honestly, the idea of blogging freaks me out! It means letting my guard down and allowing people to get to know me better. It involves opening myself up to the possibility of judgment, ridicule, or pity. And then, of course, there’s always the chance that no one will even read my blog!
But I’m trying to become more comfortable with the idea of failure as a learning experience. Maybe nothing will come from blogging. Maybe I’ll get tired of it in a couple of months and decide it’s not for me. Or maybe it will be a great creative outlet for me.
If nothing else, I can view this as an exercise in humility, transparency, and obedience. What about you? How are you going to try to succeed this week?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)