And I appreciate this sentiment. And think there’s validity in it. Because humanity’s natural tendency it towards fear. We think about the might-be’s and it kills any confidence to try-anyway.
And so, we typically sit on the sidelines. And we point fingers. Either at the star who had the guts to step on the field or at the idiot-looking first-basemen who dropped the ball on what should have been an easy-out. We shake our heads while we help our comfortable selves to another cup of water from the team cooler. We snack on the oranges that were meant for half-time and we huff-and-haw when our teammates screw it up or we huff-and-haw when they do really well and get all the attention from the cheering crowd.
Either way, benchwarmers tend to be critics.
And I’ll be honest, I’m married to a man who’s logged more hours on field than off it.
We’ve “risked”, for sure– bet it all on a hunch, moved around the world three times, took jobs that were long shots, and started business (multiple of them) that were hard work and a prayer (especially since since we’ve always lived on one salary and a youth pastor’s one at that).
And, ask me if we’ve failed. If we’ve swung for the fence and come up with air and a moan from the crowd.
Absolutely we have. We’ve had three failed businesses (the jury’s still out on one) and at least two major job fiascos. We’ve bought the wrong house, then sold it too early. We bought the wrong car, then kept it too long. We’re thirty-five, after all, and we’re back to buying basic household supplies from goodwill since the platters from the wedding were sold three moves ago.
I reckon most of our life has been spent out on the diamond, in the midst of dirt and grass and flying balls. And I reckon, too, that much of it has looked like a disappointment to the fans in the grandstand. Our family and our friends and the wide world have watched us drag ourselves back to home plate after strike- out and strike- out and almost-out-of-the-park-but-caught-at-the-last-minute, so . . . strike-out, again.
But here’s the thing I’m learning-– I must stop assuming failure is a bad thing.
Because that time when we moved around the world and it ended in disaster? Well, we got an education in ministry and conflict.
And that time when we made bad business decisions because we were too young to know better? Well, we learned a lot then, too.
All those blog posts I wrote or articles I submitted that got zero likes, one comment (from my mom), or a rejection letter from the editor? I was actually smack-dab in the middle of honing my voice.
And that first year overseas that was heavy with errors? I tasted a deepness of the Spirit unlike any I’d ever known before during that very same time.
Because if the point is the result and the success, we might actually do better on the bench, caluculating risks and only stepping up to bat when statistically things will work out for us. If we’re only seeking his hand, and not his face, maybe sidelines is where it’d be wiser to camp out.
But if the point is the journey, the glory of being in the thick of it, that razor-edge walk with God, then we must expect (perceived or actual) failure sometimes–from ourselves and from others who’ve stepped out onto the field.
Because sometimes it’s the failure that teaches most, that reveals the heart of God more deeply, and that reminds us that we are not such superstars, after all.
Risking anything lately?