If Failure Were Impossible…What Would You Do?

As this year draws to a close, the need to start outlining clear goals for myself has taken on extra weight. That old habit of New Year’s resolutions kicks in strong around Christmas time each year. In my last year of college I tried to step away from New Year’s resolutions, telling myself the important thing is to seek constant improvement of self–it should be a daily thing, not a yearly one. Which is true. But the New Year is a good time to reassess on the big things.

Things like career and life goals. I’ve been at my current job almost three years, and I can honestly say that I love it. I’ve found my industry (publishing), I get to indulge one of my greatest passions (reading ) for a paycheck, and I’ve grown so much as a professional. But I’m starting to stagnate. And the longer I stay here, the more afraid I become that I’ll never get around to living out my greatest passion. My childhood dream of being “a writer” has never gone away. But where do I begin? And what if I’m not good enough? What if I fail? I’m comfortable and safe where I am right now, and I’m so tempted to close my eyes and sleep. Who says I can’t just…stay?

I’m reminded of the parable of the talents. I think God gives each of us a pretty good idea of which servant we are–some of us clearly have five talents to start, while others have only one. I’ve always found myself on the level of the middle servant–the one who received two talents. And I’ve resented it. Was I not good enough for five? Yet here I sit guarding my two talents like a miser, doing nothing with them and envying people who have more. I need to pull them out of that hole in the ground and get out there and do something with them. But I’m afraid.  

I attended a day-long conference last fall, and in the course of one of many talks the keynote speaker posed this question: “If failure were impossible, what would you do?” That question has haunted me. What undertakings have I been leaving on the back burner because I know so well that failure is all too possible? I think this question speaks to many of us, and it poses a terrifying challenge.

Being single can be a great asset in this case. I’m not tied down to anything or any place. I have no family to worry about. My roommate gets married next June, and my lease is month to month starting in January. I could go just about anywhere come July. The question is, where should I go? What should I do? Where do I want to go, to do? Most importantly, where does God want me to go–and what does He want me to do?

As we step into this Christmas season, I pray for the ability to listen without fear, with openness and trust. I pray that God will show me how to use these talents He has given me for His greater glory.


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