failure

Failure Does Not Equal Death.

When you wake up in the morning, what is it that you wish you could do?

When you are getting ready for work, what is your mind REALLY occupied with?

What is that thing, above all other ideas and tasks and jobs, that gets your blood rushing and your adrenaline up? That thing that when you think about it, you get lost in a day dream, and when you actually get a free moment to spend time doing it, you lose track of time?

What are you passionate about?

And why aren’t you living that passion out?

Every person I have ever encountered that is not doing what they love almost always answers me with one or more of these three things:

“Well, it’s just not very practical.”

“There’s not really any money in that.”

“My spouse/family/friends wouldn’t understand or approve.”

Here’s the common denominator that anchors all of these excuses to our hearts: FEAR.

Fear tells us that our dreams are only just that: dreams. They aren’t meant to make into a reality. They are simply there to make us feel better, nothing more. Taking it any further would just end in failure, because it’s not what practical adults do.

Fear loves to ask, “how are you going to pay your bills doing that? That’s going to take a lot of sacrifice, and sacrifice is not your strong point. It’s just too hard. People are going to think you are ridiculous for not making every dollar you could possibly make.”

Fear insists that you think about the possible disapproval of your loved ones, and how you just can’t handle that. You’ve tried to make them understand before, but they just don’t get it, so why bother?

All of that is crap. Fear is a liar. I mean, I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until we all finally BELIEVE THIS CRUCIAL TRUTH.

We were created in the image of our CREATOR. We have the create ingredient in us.

There’s a strange, unexplainable and euphoric joy that comes from doing, making, creating something with your own hands (or minds), isn’t there?

That’s part of that image-bearer in us. And what’s so incredible, what makes me want to fall on my face in worship right now, is that there are millions of us, with millions of different passions and abilities lying in hibernation, waiting to be awakened and put to use for our joy, the continued restoration and redemption of our world and ultimately God’s glory.

So let me ask you again: Why aren’t you living that passion out?

If you just exist each day in the mind set that if you try, you might fail, then you are going to live a very sad life. It’s that simple.

Failure ≠ Death.

Failure = A First, Second, Third, Fourth Try.

In the ridiculous but somewhat insightful words of Pink (or whoever it is that writes her songs), “…but just because it burns, doesn’t mean you are gonna die, you gotta get up and try try try.”

Awakening that passion may mean that you are going to be really poor. It may mean selling your nice car and driving an old clunker around. It may mean eating out less and cooking beans and rice more. It may mean shredding your credit card so that you stop spending loads of money you don’t have. It may mean that even though you have to turn all the lights off in your house to lower the energy bill, you paint incredible masterpieces by candle light.

Your passion is worth it.

It may mean that you die the “American Dream” and sell everything you have and move to Nakuru, Kenya so that you can love motherless babies and make soap.

Your passion is worth it.

It may mean going to school for something so specific and risky, instead of being an accountant like your dad wants you to be.

Your passion is worth it.

It may mean that you try, and fail, and try and fail, and try and fail…. and then finally succeed.

Your passion is worth it.

No more excuses, ok? Stop cheating yourself and everyone around you out of your God-given and beautiful abilities.

Do. Make. Create.

Fear is a liar. Repeat that in your head as many times as necessary.

 

Bye Bye Comfort and Control

I bet you just read that title and thought all kinds of sucky things.

Well, yes. What I am about to share is sucky for me. Sucky for fleshy Megan.

A couple of conversations at camp last week mixed with a couple of conversations this week brought about an eye- opening conviction today.

Coffee is my functional savior.

I’m sure some of you just dropped your head with a sad, slow shake, because you know what’s coming next.

It all started last week, when Jesse Carbo told me he  had given up coca cola. I’ve known Jesse for 6 years now, and if there is any one thing that gets him bad, it’s that sweet, eye-watering, carbonated beverage. It’s a mountain that he has tried to conquer for years, sometimes coming out victorious and other times failing. It’s very encouraging how transparent he has been about the whole thing.

Little conversations about coffee kept popping up last week. It was mostly in fun, but the truth is, I wasn’t able to make it through a day without it. I even had to leave campus several times to make a Starbucks run. And that was ON TOP OF the Cuban coffee Jesus made every day (pronounced Hey-Zeuss… Christ was not makin us coffee) .

Today I was hanging out with my two lady friends, Melissa and Laura, while our kids destroyed a play room. We were talking about weight struggles, foods and drinks we can’t live without and the things that keep us from being healthy. The truth hit as I was saying it out loud how much I NEED coffee. Isn’t it funny how God speaks to us often through our own mouths?

I don’t have any control over my days. With a child, I’m not sure if the day is going to go exactly as planned or if it is going to be an epic disaster. The one thing I can control and find comfort in, no matter how my day turns out, is my praised cup of coffee. Whether I make it myself, or I purchase my very specific beverage at Starbucks, it is mine. The smell and the taste makes life a billion times better.

And that is not o.k.

“You shall have no other God’s before me.” – Exodus 20:3

First commandment. Plain and simple.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

God is who I should be going to when things feel out of control, but even more than that, when things are perfectly fine. That time that I take each morning to worship the art of making/drinking coffee and is time I could be chasing God through scripture and just being at peace in His presence.

So, no more coffee for me! I’m sure some may think that that’s a bit extreme.

I mean, it is extreme. It’s extreme to let a beverage rule your life, and determine whether or not you are going to be happy or sad.

So extreme cases call for extreme measures.

I’m not under any kind of “spiritually high” illusion that with Jesus, this won’t be difficult. I’ve tried giving up coffee in the past, and obviously to no avail. It effing sucks. It’s not easy at all, and the first few days are excruciating, riddled with migraines and rage.

I also decline to be under the false pretense that I won’t fail. There is a likelihood that I will. No no, I’m not jinxing it before it even starts. On the contrary, I’m starting off realistically. I know myself too well, and if I tell myself that “this will be the time!” then I set myself up for a guilt-filled failure. I can’t do this without God, and it is for God that I am taking this on in the first place. Grace and relief is what I will rest in this time.

I’ll need lots of encouragement for the next couple of days. Don’t be shy, and feel free to share your stories of idols and how you abandoned them.

Or, if you are struggle in such a way as I am, let me know. We’ll do this together.

Venti Iced Coffee and braided shoes

Wordy Wednesday: Bombs Away

Some days all that keeps me going is lots of talks with God and a Venti iced coffee with a shot on top.

Today is one of those days.

It’s not necessarily a bad day, but I am fully exhausted.

Let me preface the rest of this post by telling you that Daniel is going on a leader/pastor-in-training retreat Friday night, and I leave for Panama City next week to lead worship for a camp. So keep that in mind as I share. I’ll bring it back around, I promise.

Yesterday morning, Abe woke up with a fever of 101.6. That’s not terrible. Just a little fever, and no other symptoms. He spent most of the morning on my lap or playing close beside me. Now, yesterday I had planned on setting aside the majority of my time to hashing out the music for this camp. By the afternoon, however, Abe’s temp had rose to 102.5 and he was a blob. He didn’t want to leave my side or the couch. We laid down most of the day, until I took his temp again at four, and it was at 103.1. Medicine, cold baths and fans were not working, and the rising temperature was alarming. I took him to the doctor, and by the time we got there, it has rose even more to 103.6. I was starting to freak out a little bit inside,  but doing my best to be a big girl and keep it cool for my kid. They did all of the general checks, and there was nothing they could find. They then decided to do a urine check, but we couldn’t get Abe to pee, so they had to use a catheter. I probably don’t need to say how horrible that was for everyone. Nothing turned out to be wrong with his pee, so they sent us home. Praise the Lord, his temperature dropped steadily for the rest of the night. Needless to say, the day was not productive at all.

Weird, huh?

I was pretty anxious and upset last night, and Daniel and I decided to talk it out before we went to bed. A lot of stuff came up about life in general, and we talked a bit about this weird funk I’ve been in for about a month and a half now. I discovered, through a really painful conversation and many tears, that I’ve been putting all of my faith, joy and worth in my hubs. I grew up working really hard to get the approval, or even just a smile, from my dad. I knew that had carried on into my marriage, but I didn’t feel or see the reality of it until last night. For two years now, I’ve been working myself silly to get this other person to like me (even though he already does) and prove to him that I can be a perfect wife.

I have massively failed at my mission. Thank God for that.

I’m a “flight” person. When something gets too big or overwhelming, like failure, I check out. Well, after two years of feeling like a failure (completely brought on by myself) I decided to shut off weeks ago. I didn’t do this intentionally, it just happened. This has caused much tension between Daniel and I (particularly in the intimacy department….get over it, we’re all adults here!), and a great deal of distraction from living life.

I didn’t sleep very well last night. It took me forever to finally drift off, and by the time I really got into sleeping, Abe woke up with a fever again. We had to bring him into our bed and help him get back to sleep, which took quite a long time. We got maybe another hour. I spent many moments in the middle of the night praying for relief and rest. It didn’t come. Sometimes that’s just the way it is.

Remember what I said early about that retreat and camp?

This morning, while I was taking a shower, two things hit me.

1) The devil absolutely hates me, and is going to go to great lengths to ruin my life (and the lives within my family), especially in the thick of trying to love others and lead. New things are happening. What better time than now for that bastard to drop some bombs, ay? I mean seriously? The day I plan to work hard on something important and time sensitive is the day my son gets a freak-fever with no explanation.

2) The theme at the youth camp I’m going to next week is “Fighting for Joy.” Hmmmm…. thought I had that down a few years ago when I was under Jesse Carbo (who is heading up this camp). Sounds like I need a refresher course. Now it becomes more than just helping out at a camp. Now it becomes living life honestly with a bunch of teenagers I don’t know for a week.

The gospel is ALWAYS fresh, and we will ALWAYS need it. If you’re the kind that thinks the gospel is something you achieve when you say a prayer and then try to get other people to accept, then you are sadly mistaken. It is a never ending love story about of justification, redemption, renewal and untamed glory. It is a work inside of you that will not be complete until the day your spirit leaves this place.

Today I will press on. Today, you will press on.

In the meantime, pursue God, and pursue Him hard. Be aware of the attacks and distractions, and be thankful for the awareness of them. They usually mean that you are on the right track.