When I was in high school, I wasn't the best student.
Don't get me wrong. I could have been better. It was just not my desire to try. Looking back, I had more potential than I gave myself credit for. I wasn't being rebellious on purpose (alright, maybe sometimes); it was just that since I was 8 years old, I knew I would be an artist. I felt it in my bones.
One day, that proclamation got me kicked out of Spanish class. In hindsight, it's not the best idea to tell the teacher that you're not going to need what she's trying to teach you! I wasn't being completely dishonest though, because I did grow up in a bilingual household. Yes, I could’ve (and should’ve) learned more Spanish. The teacher ended up sending me to the principal that day. I don’t fault her for that. I was rude and totally deserved it!
Sometimes in life, we have those moments where we feel almost certain our lives will go in one direction. Maybe it's a career choice or profession, like being an artist. It could be our dream college, life goals, or where we travel to or end up establishing our family.
Then on the road to that destination, we fall.
We drop the ball.
And we become discouraged in our journey.
We feel like we've failed, and it becomes a tough lesson -- if we learn from it.
When we're kids, we are so much bolder. Just ask any child how you look today, and they'll tell ya! (Don't do this unless you're ready to cry though.) They’re just honest. Kids mean what they say. I bet if you sat down with a child right now, telling them all of your dreams and goals, they’d say, “That’s it? Go bigger!”
Unfortunately, as we grow up, I think our zeal gets tainted by things we’ve experienced. We start to understand disappointment in a harsh way. We pick apart our past failures and project them onto our futures. If you sat down with an adult today, sharing with them your dreams and goals, they might say:
"You can't make money doing that."
"You need a definite plan B."
"Come down to earth."
"Grow up. That'll never happen."
Sound, familiar? While I think it may come from a place of genuine care, most of these responses come from a place of fear.
Fear of falling.
Fear of messing up.
Fear of failure.
Because almost every single adult knows what it feels like to fall flat on their faces! And this can lead us to no longer "go bigger" but instead “ be realistic.”
Yet as I type, an established artist and writer in my mid-30s, here's what I know now:
Failure is not the end. It's the lesson. If I never stepped out and tried, I'd have regret. I'm not talking about leaving God and doing what you want. We need His leading and authority in our lives. What I'm referring to is leaving the comfort of the fear for the calling. If you feel God is giving you a different path than everyone else...He probably is, and that's why they don't understand.
Maybe what God is asking you to do has never been done before. There is only one biblical record of a little shepherd boy slaying a giant. A praying man surviving a den full of lions. An innocent pure lady carrying the Messiah. Ordinary people following an extraordinary God!
Believe that Jesus will meet you as you step out.
God is already ahead of where you are going, and He’ll be with you as you move. Whether it's a career or a calling, the purpose is the same: love God with your whole heart and love others the way that God loves you. Do not fear failure. It will be in those moments you will learn more about who God is, and that knowledge will reveal who you are supposed to be.
"For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee" (Isaiah 41:13).