Why You Should Keep Trying Even When You Already Failed I

Can I skip the whole start-with-a-great-sentence-thing and just tell you what’s on my mind?

I feel like I’ve failed at writing.

(sigh)

I started this blog, bursting at the seams with ideas and creativity and longing for articulated lessons and ideas to bless others. But now, not even 10 months later, weeks go by where the only connection I have with this space is the peripheral guilt of oh yeah, I need to do that, too.. 

Life happens though, right? I wouldn’t hold it against another blogger, so why do I hold it against myself? Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why am I so hard on myself?

I’ve written about failure before. But, this time, more than failing in an arena where it feels moral (i.e. sinning), this is an arena of purpose. Gifts. Calling…?

What if I’m failing at living up to my potential? What if I have buried talents, or at least been ignoring them?

We should just keep failing. If we haven’t used our talents yet, we never will. So we should give up. Walk away. Choose something else to occupy our time. The things worth doing come naturally, so if it requires effort, it wasn’t meant to be.

…Isn’t that the story we often tell ourselves? We done messed up, so we should let it go. Let the dream die quietly; no need to rouse ourselves and make a fuss over it. Besides, if it were ours to begin with, it wouldn’t have demanded so much from us. Someone else could do it better anyways. Even if we did attempt, the result was average at best. Best to let it go.

Where does this dangerously discouraging mindset come from? I’ve held it for too long.

You, too..?

Though I fall for this worldview time and time again, there are assumptions within it that hold no logic nor Bible verse to its credit.

1. Since when does “haven’t yet” mean “never will”?

I get it; I’m the 24-year-old who thinks she’ll never publish a book because she hasn’t yet. But really? Why does the fact that it didn’t happen during my five-year-plan laid in high school mean that it will never, can never happen? Where is that rule engraved besides my mind?

Who said there’s a time limit on accomplishing goals? Did you know you can get into shape in your 70s? People publish debut novels in their 60s. You can even graduate from college at the age of 99. You can still learn and grow at any age. I’m not saying it won’t be harder; it probably will be. Difficult doesn’t mean impossible.

I have not written on this blog consistently….yet. But if my ramblings can bless just. one. person. then I will strive for that consistency for all I’m worth.

I haven’t figured out the parameters of my niche….yet. But I’ll continue pushing and asking and exploring and figuring out until I do.

Have you given up on a talent? A gift? A calling? A potential? Don’t let it be a never will. Find a way to make it just a haven’t yet. 

2. Since when does “having talents” mean no effort is required?

This one. This one hits me hard.

I never remember academics being hard throughout elementary and high school years. I could tell when I hadn’t paid attention in class, but I never really studied. I just listened in class, wrote the papers, and aced the tests. I couldn’t understand people who were struggling. School is a natural talent, so it naturally required no effort.

Until college. The whole “natural talent” thing was forgotten, and I was suddenly aware of why people dropped out of school. Proper learning is hard.

And so I thought about quitting. Honestly, I did. Maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a teacher, maybe I should take some other degree with less demands. Or I could do something else? Pride and desire to please certainly kept me on the steady course as well, but I lost a lot of academic confidence that first year of college. I thought I was a smart kid? Why am I struggling? Why is this no longer easy?

Another mysterious rule engraved on my skull: if it requires effort, it’s not my thing. But it’s not true. Talent or no talent, growing and excelling take intentional hard work…even to the point of suffering sometimes.

A dear friend, the preacher, is immensely successful. This guy has a Christ-centered home, a global ministry through five different avenues, an eager congregation of listeners wherever he goes, he’s crazy fit, and on and on. But when you see the way he lives in between scenes, it’s a lot of hard work: like devouring books, lectures, podcasts; hitting the gym 6x a week; surrounding himself with people who encourage, ennoble, and challenge him; and, most of all, spending countless hours on his knees and communing with Christ in His Word. Talent can’t produce those things. Only choices can.

Relying on talent is easier: you either have it or you don’t; it’s not up to you. It’s genetics. Atmosphere. External influences.

Hard work says otherwise: you make your own choices; it is up to you. Is it harder for you than others? Maybe. But still doable. We each are natured and nurtured with talents and weaknesses. Stopping when it requires effort is no better than burying a talent in the sand.

Have you ever thought you couldn’t do something because it took longer than you’d hoped? It required more effort? It hurt more? Don’t allow the growing pains to dissuade you from your talents. 

Read Part II here

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