Thursday, April 19, 2012

Free to Fail


My single friend shrugs and says he doesn’t need a wife. And he’s right. No one has to have a spouse. The apostle Paul revered singleness above marriage.

But his tone is telling, sharp, like a shard of shrapnel jutting from his obvious wound. His proclamation against marriage is less about preference and more about protection. He wraps walls around his heart like an ACE bandage.

Another friend asks if I want to become a writer. I look away and laugh. I already write. In my journals, on my blog. I always write.

Her eyes roll, unsatisfied. “You know what I mean. Do you want to become a writer? As a job?”

In a flash, my hopes rise, then crash. I imagine smiling as I dot the last beautiful period of a manuscript to send to publishers, only to have my desk swallowed by rejection letters.

I imagine acquaintances gathered around a glowing computer screen, reading one of my junk blog posts as they sneer, “She thinks she should be a writer?”

I shake my head and tell my friend that no, I doubt I’ll ever pursue writing formally.

My single friend and I, we lack courage. Cynicism masquerades as strength. We build buttresses made of negative promises. “I’ll never marry. I’ll never write. I’ll never try.” Arrows can’t pierce nonexistant dreams. 



We think we're ensuring a safe life, when instead we're ensuring a banal one.  Here is the irony:   The road to mediocrity is just as treacherous as the roads to either success or failure.   Foes like cancer, unemployment, or the loss of loved ones fly hissing at whomever they choose. We cannot put up our hand to them and say, “Excuse me, Disaster, but I picked the safe path. Please visit someone on that rocky street.”

We do not choose our life's level of ease.

For Christians, our inability to mitigate risk is actually a safety net.  By admitting we are not God, we leave room to trust the One who is.  As the weight of broken dreams buckles our knees weak, we find ourselves kneeling at the feet of our Mighty Savior. We're free to chase God-given desires with reckless abandon, because when we fall, it is into the Arms of Grace.

God does more than protect us from risk.  He allows us to fall prey to it.  He allows our hopes to shatter, our bodies to fail, His Son to die.  And when murder, sickness, and heartache have done their worst, God uses His mighty thumb to press them into submission until the very thing that threatened to destroy us instead leads us to the greatest gift in existance... the intimate enjoyment of our Father.
The trash of this world is the compost that fertilizes God's purposes.

God doesn't simply make beauty.  He creates light
     in the darkness,
grows trees
     from decay,
draws life
     out of bloody wombs,
and transforms us into His image
    through our every hardship.


We are free to fail. He shapes us by it. Uses it to draw us to Him.

And we are free to succeed. Success is nothing more than His strength in our weakness.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."   - 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

5 comments:

Emily said...

This is just what I needed today! Thank you! And truthfully, I think you should give writing a shot.

Christie said...

So, so needed this today!!

Thanks for your sweet comment! Words aren't necessary, I know your heart and your prayers are more than I could ever ask for.

RACHEL said...

Emily, thank you for your vote of confidence! Really... It's comforting to think that fail or succeed, anyone else thinks its worth the risk. Someday I may go for it. :)

Christie, I just couldn't believe my eyes when I saw your blog. An adoptive parent to-be's worst nightmare. You are in my prayers tonight.

TheBowlingFamily said...

"By admitting we are not God, we leave room to trust the One who is. As the weight of broken dreams buckles our knees weak, we find ourselves kneeling at the feet of our Mighty Savior. We're free to chase God-given desires with reckless abandon, because when we fall, it is into the Arms of Grace. " Love this!

RACHEL said...

Thank you!