When Failure is a Guarantee

As many of you may know, I am currently in shift toward copyediting and writing as a career and away from nursing (see Why I Quit Full Time Nursing). The transition into the writing world has taken place over the past few weeks, and though I mainly feel peace and excitement about the change, I'd be lying if I told you I'm not nervous.

I am. I'm nervous, and I'm worried, and sometimes I'm overwhelmed.

Adobe stock photo

Adobe stock photo

Yesterday as I drove down the road under the cloudy Texas sky, I thought about my fear of rejection. Over the past few days I've submitted freelance articles and queries to various websites, with the knowledge I will eventually either be rejected or accepted. At one point in life (okay, for most of my life), the possibility of rejection would have prevented me from trying at all. My fear of failure and the belief I had to be the best simply wouldn't allow for such a huge, unnecessary risk. For all those years, failure was not an option.

As I slowed my car down for a red light yesterday, I suddenly realized that still, failure is not an option.

Failure is a guarantee.

Over the years, I've read accounts by writers and bloggers about the rejection letters they received from editors, publishers, magazines, and websites. They described heartbreak and frustration and anger and discouragement, and they also described perseverance and perspective.

As I submit my articles, I know my work will be rejected sometimes (probably more often than not in these beginning stages). It's inevitable. Yet I am learning to maintain my sense of self-worth and identity so I can move past it. I know who I am, and I know my work is not a reflection of my value.

Still, it is disheartening to know failure is a guarantee—and about the only one I could think of that comes with writing. That, and a low budget.

All afternoon, I pondered the change within me from being terrified of failure to accepting it as a part of life. Later that evening during a time of worship with my church small group, I had another realization, just as sudden as the one about failure. I knew in that moment I had to lay down my editing career and writing dreams at Jesus' feet, and I had to leave them there. For the first time in my life, I found how easy it is to become a workaholic (now that "work" was something I loved). I had to invite Jesus into every word I wrote and every article I completed. If I did these things, I knew:

Success was not an option either. It was a guarantee.

Success is living and breathing in the presence of Jesus, holding onto the hem of His robe and offering my talents and gifts at His feet. It is using my work to glorify Him, yes, but more than that it is a continuous, desperate, building desire for more of Him. With this unquenchable thirst for more of Jesus, with Christ as my whole world, there could only be success. There already was success. Perhaps success isn't something attained or accomplished but something as fluid and active as recognizing the presence of God.

Moving and breathing and talking in His presence is success. I have success in my lungs as I breathe and type now because I am breathing and typing with Jesus. Success will never be a thing that can slip from my hands because success is knowing Jesus, and His Spirit lives within me. And if ever I become desperate to grab hold of success again, I have only to remember:

Turn to Jesus, for not just success but life is found in Him.

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