Monday, October 20, 2014

31 (ok-18) Lessons from 31(ish) Women (and one little boy): Failures

I set a goal for myself this month- to blog everyday.  I wanted to participate in this blogging challenge at write31days.com.  But then life snickered at my big plans and I made it to day 6 before I quit writing.

This is the point where I would normally call myself a failure and give up.  But not today.  Turns out, all the cool people fail.

Oprah was once fired and called "unfit for television".  

Marilyn Monroe was told that she'd never make it as a model.    

Louisa May Alcott was told by a publisher that she'd never succeed as a writer.

Florence Nightingale's family considered her nursing career just a notch above prostitution.  

Suze Ormon started her finance career because she was bankrupted by a failed restaurant.  

Vera Wang was once a figure skater who didn't make the Olympic team.  

Bette Nesmith Graham invented Liquid Paper after years of correcting her typos with white tempura paint.    

Princess Diana and Coco Chanel both dropped out of school. 

Beyonce lost on Star Search. 

And Julia Child burned dinner.  Probably a lot.

Just this summer, my son learned to ride a bike.  He's ten.  Ten is late for bike riding and he knows it.  But God wired this child up a little differently, and gross motor skill deficits and balance issues are a real thing for him.  Riding a bike is the single most difficult thing I think he's ever tried to do.

And it was hard, hard, to watch him struggle up and down the long driveway in the summer heat, all rage and tears and bloodied knees.  In his black-and-white mind, you either do it or don't.  There is no in-between, and so each fall told him that he was a bike-riding failure.  

I contemplated success and failure those days on the stone steps by our driveway, and I wondered what all this trying would be like without the world inside our heads pressuring us to get it right.  We'd be free to try as many times as we wanted, our hearts never once nicked by failure.  Trying only becomes failing when the world is watching for it.   

My little blogging 'failure' has made me think a lot about goals and what I really want to do.  I want to write.  That's it.  Write about grace and what it's done for me.  And I want other women to read what I write and be encouraged.  It would be nice to be a published author or popular blogger, but that's not really what I want.  I just want to write for Jesus.  He's my audience of one.

God plants seeds inside all of us to go and do great things for His kingdom.  Sure, sometimes He plants those seeds for a specific time and place, but mostly I think He just wants to see what we'll do with them.  He wants to see us grow in grace and knowledge, and that can take a long time trying.  But that's ok.  It's time spent with Jesus.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jer 29:11