When you start a project, think of the initial meet-and-greet like picking up a person from the airport. Your project is happy to see you, wants to get started, and excitement is high! Unfortunatley, your project’s luggage was mishandled, and won’t show up until later. Right now, know that it has a carry-on bag with it full of pain, failure, and embarrasment. If you can’t accept this, better to leave your project at baggage claim and wait for someone else to pick it up.
This project can be anything. It can be a friendship, marriage, physical goal, blog, or business. It can be a hundred other things. The vital aspect you have to keep in mind is that it could all fall apart. Your project can fail, you are not so special that people will flood your store, restaurant, or blog on launch day. Relationships will not survive if you do not invest in them, and be willing to share the parts of yourself that complete the wholeness of your being.
When you accept this, you can move forward. You need to make the choice that your project is worth the failure, because the rewards are so great. A blog can help people make sense of their lives, the choices they make, and the priorities they set. A marriage can break you down to your deepest, scariest self, but can also build you back up to wholeness. A single person can make a difference in small pocket of the world, or an entire country. When enough people begin making a difference in their communities, we’ve got a movement on our hands.
As I read inspiring stories of people who are doing what they love and making a difference in the world, I am struck by the fact they encountered significant failure. People who were fired, rejected, unread, and told their work wasn’t good enough. For many of us, this is a crippling fear. We don’t want to be told these things, better to stay in the corner and keep to ourselves. By the way, some of those dark corners can still be lavished with very pretty things, but they don’t serve you well.
I am reminded of the Teddy Roosevelt quote, “Man in the Arena”
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Your life is better served in the light you are called to shine on others. Do not allow the potential failure of your project to restrict you from taking it home and working on it. Your project may have some early happiness stashed in that carry-on. Eventually, the rest of its luggage will show up, bringing more recognition and success with it. But first, you need to be willing to accept the potential failure of your venture. Once you do that, you’re free to work. You will find more oppprtunities to learn and serve in our darkness and brokenness than if we spout happy tidings all the time. There is a balance, we live in a fractured world that is pleading for the fullness of your work.
Please don’t leave your life’s work sitting at baggage claim. Take it to your personal arena, and start creating. Amen.
image by cobrasoft
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