What If Failure Wasn’t an Option?

Today we have a guest post from Jennifer Slattery, author of Beyond I Do.

She asks a terrific question: what if failure wasn’t an option?


 

 

1649_1649_5

If you could do anything without fear of failure, what would that be?

Did one job or ministry jump to the surface? Okay, then, here’s a bigger question: What’s keeping you from pursuing that dream with everything you’ve got?

For most of us, the answer to that question lies within the one I first posed. Actually, the answer lies within three words of the question I first posed:

Fear of failure.

The fear of pouring ourselves into something for decades, maybe even a lifetime, with nothing to show for it.

It’s a very real possibility if we measure our success or failure based on worldly things like:

Income
Prestige
Stuff
Results

And yet, I believe God’s version of success goes much deeper. We look at the outside—what we can check off of a list or measure tangibly. God looks at what’s inside—how pliable and surrendered our heart is. Who we truly love, Who we truly serve.

Because when we get that right, everything else follows.

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

Colossians 3:23 NLT

Because His opinion is the only one that matters, and He is the only One who can bring our dreams and goals to fruition. More than that, He was the One that placed those dreams and goals in our heart in the first place.

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.”

Philippians 2:13

In other words, as you draw near to God, He will reveal His will to you, stirring within you a desire to do that which He created you to do. As you respond with obedience, He grows you—your heart, your faith, your gifts, and your talents—to be the best writer, dancer, Bible teacher, mother, father, sister … possible.

Because we were made to do great things—things that will matter for all eternity.

Isn’t it time to get started? Failure isn’t an option, because if God is for us, who (or what) can stand against us? (Romans 8:31)


 

headshot2013 (1)Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available in print and e-book format for under $10! You can find it here.
Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here.
You can also visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BeyondIDocover (1)Beyond I Do

Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Read a free, 36-page excerpt here.

How God Strengthened my Identity

God's been strengthening my identity
©CreationSwap/Dawn Lamper

 

I’ll admit it; I like to be the best.

Whether it’s beating my friends in a game, coming up with the top idea at a work meeting or winning an award, being the best at something—no matter how small—feeds a deep-seated belief in me.

It says, I am not Most People. 

Throughout my life I’ve striven to be better than Most People. Most People aren’t careful with their money. Most People aren’t diligent about spending regular time with God. Most People don’t bother to turn their ideas into a book. A lot of advice I hear sounds like, ‘most people do this, but you should do that’. And I do. I’ve become proud of it.

But that attitude has crippled my identity. Especially as a wannabe author.

For a long time I’ve equated being like Most People, to failure.  I shouldn’t be like Most People; I should be better than that. I know better, I try harder, I work smarter.

But keeping that (very arrogant) mindset while trying to become an author is … well, it’s soul-crushing. This industry is so hard to succeed in. Even if I become part of the tiny minority that scrapes some profit from a book, the percentage of authors who have a long-standing career is even tinier. Looking at this big, scary industry, I’m overwhelmed with the fear that I will turn out to be Most People after all.

That fear has driven me to write more, learn faster and stress repeatedly. Failure is not an option, but if you judge a writing career by my (ridiculously high) standards, it’s not only possible, but probable. And if my identity as a successful person, a person who’s better than Most People, is tied to my writing career, then my own dream is a massive threat to my identity.

This is something God’s been working on in my heart ever since I decided to start seriously working on my first book, at the start of 2013. I’ve blogged about it throughout the year. Every time I investigated what it takes to get published or ways to promote my work, I’d feel panicked. Every time I tried an idea and it didn’t pan out, the pressure increased.

God repeatedly told me that success is not measured by numbers, but by obedience. And I could acknowledge those truths in my head, but my heart usually just muttered something under its breath and sulked off.

But lately, I’m starting to notice change in myself. The more I consider the idea of self-publishing (not that I’ve decided anything yet), the more I’m okay with not having my name plastered across every Christian bookstore. If God doesn’t plan for me to make money from my writing, that’s alright. If my career is short-lived, that sucks, but it’s okay as long as it’s part of His plan.

Now the pressure to crack the secret of book marketing is decreasing all the time. And thank goodness for that, because it was getting heavy. I want to simply try my best, be obedient, work hard, and then watch my career go in the direction God wants it to go … whatever direction that is. If He plans for me to reach 50,000 people, that’s what will happen. If it’s 500 people, that’s also what will happen. Neither option makes me a better or worse person.

All that matters is my obedience.