It’s Ok To Fail

You know all those cheesy cliché one liners that are supposed to motivate you past your fear of failure?

They really do motivate me for a moment.  Sadly, a moment isn’t enough.

I don’t think I realized how afraid of failure I was until recently…Ben and I were driving through the hills of Tennessee on one of our famous highways, talking about some recent failures. We want to get better at hearing from God, but we’ve made some mistakes and we were talking through them. We’ve made a lot of them through the years. Eventually I blurted out in tears:

“I don’t want to get it wrong. I HATE getting it wrong. It’s easier just not to try, because then I know I WON’T get it wrong.”

Right there in the passenger seat, I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to try anymore.

Ben gave me the saddest face ever. And he had the right. There it was, another one of my ugly truths.

But really, it is easier not to try. If I don’t try, I don’t fail. And when I don’t fail,  I won’t disappoint anybody. I can stay in my little corner and watch others step up in my place.

But isn’t that just so sad?

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The other day, it took my daughter an HOUR to put on her shirt. AN HOUR.

90 percent of that time was spent telling me why SHE JUST CAN’T .

on and on and on it went.

1 of those minutes included her actually trying (and failing.)

In the last minute? She succeeded.

I wonder how much of our time is spent thinking of reasons why we can’t do something.

can’t write in a blog because I don’t want to fail. I could list a million reasons.

I didn’t want Ben to pursue his dreams in starting his business because… what if he fails? What will happen to us financially? Again, I could go on.

But us not trying is ultimately saying we don’t believe in God and his endless mercy. HIS grace. Or his resources, encouragement, or promises. We could even go as far as saying

“God doesn’t believe in us”.

And as Christians, we know that simply isn’t true.

Once we get solid in our beauty before him, our value and worth won’t be the sum of our failures. It will stay displayed through his ultimate sacrifice (the cross).

We will feel free to try and fail and get back up to…. fail again! Eventually, we will get it right because:

God.

He is the one holding our hand and cheering us on. He is the one who will shape and refine us, reveal our insecurities and replace them with his truth. He is the ultimate teacher.

Failure doesn’t seem so bad anymore.

Try. Fail. Repeat.

Succeed.

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Paul disobeyed God and decided he would go to Jerusalem to preach the gospel. A worthy endeavor, but it was a wrong one. God told him not to go, and the prophets eventually stopped trying to persuade him.

He went and ended up in prison.

You know what happened afterwards? He wrote some pretty famous books of the bible.

Let’ s put our faith in God.

He is able to make us stand and succeed. He can steer us in the right path when we trust in his ways and make his word our path!

Jude 1:24 (NLT)

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearing God’s Voice and Knowing His Presence

\John 17:3

This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. 

One of my biggest and most current desires right now is to practice the presence of God and to actively hear from him.  To know him in an experiential, real-time way.

How often am I unsure or afraid, and I don’t seek out and know the Lord’s presence? In theory, I quickly affirm he is there. But his real presence? His voice? His guidance? His help?

His active and real assurance?

Until recently, this concept was vague and too hard to grasp. We are to actively seek him… but finding him? What did that mean?

Growing up, I thought the voice and face of God were reserved for only special or momentous occasions… given only to those who were extra spiritual and extra faithful….and really only for someone else’s benefit. I called it revelation. Not for me.

Revelation was a BIG mountain to climb…Who knew if I could ever attain it.

Has anybody ever read 2 Peter 1:19?

This verse showed me that God’s voice is God’s word. It’s more sure than any experience anyone could ever attain.

Although this is true, I translated this to mean that God rarely speaks outside of his written word and that I should be content with never (or rarely) hearing from this God I called ‘Dad’. My Dad only spoke to me in notes. In a note. A note I called the bible.

Here I am, a good little Christian girl, evangelizing and telling people that God wants a relationship with them (this is a core message of the gospel after all) and yet my relationship was only that of studying, memorizing, and applying scripture.  Even though these are all really really good things, my relationship with God was very one sided.

I’m ending that chapter in this season of my life.

God wants to speak. He wants to walk and talk. God lives in Jesus, who LIVES inside of me. He wants to COMFORT.

Jesus, wasn’t he the king of scripture?

And yet he did crazy things that didn’t make any sense to anyone, all the time. (Especially the religious leaders)

Were they ever out of bounds from the scripture? Absolutely not. But walking on water never happened until Jesus did it. God’s written word didn’t tell Jesus which disciples to choose, or tell Jesus to wait two days in the city after hearing his best friend died.

Now they are written down, because of experience.

God wants a relationship. A real, two way, active, relationship. The Holy Spirit is a comforter, a companion, an affirmer and guider of the truth. God is seeking to show his glory, his presence, his power, his might in the face of Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

I’m hungry for his voice. His presence. I want to wake up and feel him. I want to go about my day and have the Spirit guide me into all truth.

John 5:19-20

19 Jesus said to the Jews, “I can guarantee this truth: The Son cannot do anything on his own. He can do only what he sees the Father doing. Indeed, the Son does exactly what the Father does. 20 The Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. The Father will show him even greater things to do than these things so that you will be amazed. 

3 Tips To Consider While Waiting on the Lord

Like every single person that has ever lived, Ben and I have had our fair share of challenges since we’ve been together.

But since the beginning of 2016, we have lived in a whirlwind of change and forward momentum. It’s been exciting, and it hasn’t showed many signs of slowing down! To say we have had challenges during this time sounds like an understatement. Hello, eye twitching. I see that you are back.

Since it has been a year and a half….I would like to tell you that I have perfected the art of waiting, but alas, I have not.

There have been nights I have cried myself to sleep.  There have been days of extreme anxiousness and irritability. There have been weeks where I’ve been tempted to seclude myself from friends so I can hide my unbelief and doubt in a loving and heavenly father.

So waiting on the Lord, what does it look like? This is something God has been working on in me, and I’m starting to grasp the practicality of it and I would like to share 3 of the things I have learned…. I plan to be an expert on this subject by the end of my life, ok? But right now I’m in the process of  learning, (never fully attaining.)

1.) Surrender to HIS plan

This statement used to bother me a lot because I have ALWAYS taken it to mean that his plan means letting go of the idea of a joyful life….that God WANTS me to live in dirt holes, eating worms and forgetting all about desires and dreams.

But to surrender to his plan first means believing that he is GOOD. If I don’t believe that he is good, than of course I won’t want to go his way. But he is good. SO SO good. He is better than we will EVER know, and it will take AGES to show us his kindness.

HE  knows what is best for us.

His perspective, his ways, his thoughts and resources are bigger and higher than I can ever know.

So even if I don’t really know what his plan IS, I can trust in HIM, always.

This has meant letting go of my need to control and manipulate the situation to my benefit. This does absolutely nothing for me, because I’m terrible at it, AND because it is too big of a burden to bear.

Surrendering to his plan does not mean giving up on your desires and dreams. It means giving them to God in your secret place and letting him work in your life and show you what HIS dreams and desires are for you.

2.) TRUST in his timing

Oh time. My LEAST favorite part in waiting. If only answers could be given in a day, I would think my stress levels wouldn’t look like mount Everest. (Or would they?)

But I’ve noticed that when I am NOT trusting in his timing, than my faith isn’t really faith…. It’s more of a shaky hope that is totally dependent on the outlook of current circumstances.

God LOVES showing off in impossible situations!! He loves coming through and showing off his glory right when circumstances say “you’re really screwed”.

God knows our tendency to want to start trusting in circumstance and really in anything else other than him. So trusting in his timing is saying

“I’m a believer and I believe God will come through for me, like he has every other time I have believed in him”.

3.) Praise him PRAISE him PRAISE HIM AT ALL TIMES

I named my third son Jude, which means praise. I could write a book on praise. I could be a salesperson and sell the idea of praise to an atheist…. That’s how much I believe in the power of praise.

This does SO much for my soul, my body, and my faith.

Why? We are extoling HIM and HIS attributes. We are taking our eyes off of ourselves and on to him. We are opening the doors of heaven and shattering the schemes of the enemy.

We are not allowing ourselves to wallow in circumstances and we are singing the word of Christ and allowing those words to sink deep into our minds, which in turn builds our faith.

So it’s easy to praise him when things are going well, but it is an action of faith when we praise him in the seasons of desert. So even when it is the LAST thing we want to do (and I’ve been there, I was there this morning) we say and we commit to extoling him at all times.