I was traveling up to Pennsylvania this weekend to visit my cohorts Erik and Jon. I’d decided to give the bus a try and maybe an hour into the ride, I’d realized I’d made a new friend. How the conversation with this new acquaintance took the turn it did, I don’t know but within an hour, we were sharing life stories. We were talking about love and doubt, success and fear. However, he shared with me a phrase that has stuck with me: “Relish today. You can always catch up tomorrow.” If you’re thinking to yourself I’ve done jumped ship and hopped aboard the “live for the moment/free love” train, you’re wrong. If you ascribe to that, you might also want to gut out this post with me.
The heart of Life is good
This is the underlying truth that we first have to accept if we are to relish the day. We have to accept, not just recite, that the heart of Life, God, is good. We must let down our torches and weapons and allow Him to convince us He is for us. We have to believe that as a Christ follower, His Spirit lives within us and everyday we are becoming more in touch and in tune with that Spirit. We must allow for a shadow of a doubt that our perceived failure is the grace to experience growth and learning. We have to trust that we are not alone and that no matter the outcome, God is granting us success when we make the effort to live freely under His authority. But, He’s given us the ability to know His heart with the beating of our own and we have to trust that kindredship as well.
What is failure?
My greatest obstacle in this pursuit is the fear of failure. I am so afraid to fail that I often fail to act at all. I seize up. Without going into the root causes (as that is a post in and of itself, if not a book), I had to stop and realize this weekend that it is my definition of failure that often holds me back. Failure isn’t not achieving a desired outcome. Failure is incurring hardship (as we most certainly do and often) and refusing to grow and learn from it. Failure isn’t all short of success, but it is stagnation. And my fear of failure was leading me smack dab into it every time.
The dusty lens
You may feel that God’s will for your life is clear as mud today. You know what, it probably is. However, through reading His word, experiencing community amongst others with a similar pursuit and applying what we are learning, that is how our understanding becomes clearer. Sure, we will make colossal mistakes and more than once. They will hurt, both us and our loved ones. Yet, we must. Because this is how we learn. This is how we grow and mature. And we must continue growing.
We need to allow ourselves the latitude as well as the framework to do so. Our latitude is accepting mistakes as necessary. Our framework is our faith and growing understanding of our great Father. This is how we clean our lenses.
“We’ll never be ready if we keep waiting for the perfect time to come. Won’t be steady, we’ll never be ready.
Where we don’t know, though we can’t see, just walk on down this road with me. Won’t be steady, we’ll never be ready.”
Fear and the fear of failure only come from a poor understanding of the Father. He is for us. He is with us. And He is not speaking in riddles. We are His children and as children, we do not understand fully because we are not capable, so we will misstep. We will fall down, hurt ourselves and become a crying mess. But, he dusts us off and shows us that falling doesn’t hurt as badly as we thought on the way down. Those missteps aren’t failure. They’re God’s grace being given to us to teach us more about ourselves and, more importantly, Himself. Though it hurts, it’s the only way we’ll ever learn the hard lessons (and you know it). We just have to allow ourselves to experience those teaching moments. We have to live in the moment and accept that there will be mistakes. Otherwise, we’ll never be ready.