Lose Some FaceEssays, Featured — By Cort Gatliff on June 29, 2012 at 7:19 am
My generation has traded dreams for formulas, poetry for practicality, and love for fear.
So when I say I am studying journalism and want to write I am usually met with a quick “oh that’s really cool” but if I look in their eyes it’s almost as if they feel bad for me – “does he know he might not make a lot of money doing that?”
Yes, I’m aware.
And yet the Lord has given me these desires and passions and dreams; it’s my responsibility to be a faithful steward of them.
I recently had a conversation with a friend about the future. Like me, he is a dreamer who has no tangible plans, career wise at least. We both know that when people ask, “what are you studying?” they are really asking, “what’s your plan? How are you going to make money?”
I said to my friend, okay, so what’s your dream? He responded with something that has been stirring within me for quite some time now.
“Honestly, I just want to go all out for something. I’ve never had to put it all on the line for anything.”
He found the words to articulate the frustration I’ve been having recently. I believe this is something many young adults can relate to.
I have never had to put everything on the line for something I believe in – I’ve never had to stare failure in the face and jump in regardless. Everything has always fallen into my lap with a minimal amount of effort.
I picture myself as a tightrope walker: I want the experience, thrill, and glory of living a life of reckless abandon for the things I am passionate about, but I have never taken away the safety net. I’m walking across a chasm with protection right underneath me, which is safe, but in the end, pointless. I think a lot of us live this way.
I’m starting to think that God wants us to remove the safety net. How many people want to go see a tightrope walker complete a daring feet when he has a back up plan the entire time to save himself? Where’s the thrill in that? The excitement comes from the risk of failure.
I have always had a backup, an abort button, a way out. I think through every contingency and plan accordingly to make sure I don’t fail.
However, my role models are people who passionately believe in a dream and are doing everything they can to make it happen. They know they have one chance.
I think God is calling us to cut the safety the nets and let our faith in Him be enough. He wants us to walk out onto the tightrope with only Him by our side. The worst part: we still might fall.
I have lived 20 years paralyzed by fear – the fear of failure. I was feeling pretty good about myself, because honestly, I’ve never really failed in a serious way. I began to realize the reason I have never failed is because I have never taken true risks. I let the fear of failure control my life. I am learning that failing is not always a bad thing though.
Nike caught on to this. They have an ad campaign based around the idea that everyone who is successful experienced moments of failure. If you’re afraid to fail, confront your fear by failing: “Fail Harder.”
My fears consume me: What if I’m a terrible writer? What if I’m not successful? What if I can’t support a family? What if the Lord’s plan for me is terrifyingly outrageous? Or worse, what if it’s mediocre? I think everyone can relate to these fears in one way or another. All of these fears show a supreme lack of trust in the Lord.
I don’t want to live a life full of fear. I don’t want to live in reaction to the things that happen to me; I want to live aggressively, boldly, and chase my dreams with no remorse for the glory of God. We all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
Christian blogger and author Jon Acuff tweeted something a few months ago that I thought was insightful and profound. He was telling his wife about the plans for his next project and her response was, “I dare you to lose some face.” It was her way of telling him that his plans are far too safe. There was no risk.
I think it’s about time we begin to trust God and go all in for something we believe in. It’s time to find something bigger than ourselves and give everything to it. It’s time to stop letting the fear of failure be in control.
It’s time to lose some face.