Failure. The word came out of my mouth before I had a chance to metabolize it. All those gnawing feelings churning in my stomach. Those unarticulated ramblings in my mind. The ones that cause my eyes to water at random, inopportune moments throughout the day. And make my shoulders cave when no one’s looking. All those thoughts summed up in one unplanned, gut-level confession.
The sense of failure. We all know it. It’s that detrimental collision of hope and unmet expectations. Where perseverance unravels its frayed threads and leaves you standing in the shambles of disappointment. It’s a potent force.
It’s also a lie. A distortion marred by our skewed interpretation of success.
This blog is titled Words for the Journey because we’re all on one. And as we pursue the things we feel called to do, we’ll inevitably war against a sense of failure. It can be subtle, but almost always invasive. Doubts sprout up from the path and latch on to us like ivy taking over a tree trunk. And the battle for our hearts goes something like this:
Is what I’m doing worthwhile? Yes, you’re using your time and gifts to sow into others. But are my words making an impact? Yes, though you might not always seem them. But my sphere of influence is so minuscule. I mean, what about having a platform? Significance is not measured in numbers. But this journey—changing diapers, going to school, repeating my 9-5 day in and day out, caring for my parents, doing laundry, investing in this business, imparting to kids, (insert your own)—this matters? Yes. These ordinary, invisible moments are the very ones that make a difference.
Can I speak to those of you who’ve been at this journey long enough to have encountered heartache? Maybe you’ve reached a point of not remembering why you began. The energy you started out with is at the bottom of a drain labeled, delay. Habitual motions circle one day into the next on the winds of disappointment. And in the alone moments—when you’re curled up in bed, daring to allow the dream to stir life back into the lifeless—something inside you questions whether God’s forgotten you.
I know that voice of failure. Of wanting to give up. Of growing weary waiting tosee that this really matters. But what if success has less to do with a result and more to do with obedience? What if our faithfulness to what we’re called to do right here, right now, regardless of the outcome is the real barometer? What if we sowed in with all our hearts for no other goal than to honor God? And what if His smile was enough in return?
Would we keep going?
Because when we do, we find we haven’t gotten here by failure. You know what’s gotten you to today? Faith to believe there’s a way where there seems to be no way. Strength to endure when you feel like you’re dying on the inside. Hope to press on. Courage to let go. And commitment to remain faithful along the road of in betweens.
For the calling on your life is the journey of pouring out your heart again and again and again. It’s here we find not failure, but victory.