Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I fought against my slumping shoulders as I stood in the line at Panera Bread. I had a handful of change – dimes, nickels, and pennies – I’d swiped from the kids’ piggy banks, just to have enough to buy the pastries I needed.

It was the morning of the holiday party at my former office in the career I’d walked away from to focus on writing full time. I hadn’t anticipated that the day would come that I wouldn’t have enough money to buy a cup of coffee, let alone a box of breakfast goodies to share with old friends. I kept wanting to embrace authenticity. To get real and say, Yes! This is it – our new reality. Everything’s changed. I’m not that girl in a suit that I used to be. Dream chasing is hard, I’d been warned. But I never knew it could be like this. I thought I’d be gloriously happy to look through life with a new lens, not battling my pride as I stood in a bakery line. 

In truth, I felt like a failure.

It wasn’t about putting on a brave face that bothered me. I could do it. In some ways, I was a master at it. I’d been so afraid to fail in God’s calling to become a writer that running from His will had become a companion in my long corporate career. The possibility of failure was always right in front of me, blocking my view and holding me to a future I’d chased– not one that God was leading me to. So if I had to go to the office party and gloss over our struggles, I supposed I could find a smile before I walked in the room.

But that’s not what happened.

Instead, I sat in my car in the parking lot with a box of pastries in my lap, tears in my eyes, and prayers tumbling from my lips. I made a decision right there that if I was a failure, then I was going to be the best I could at it. I wouldn’t go down easily. I was going to get real and say, “This is my first attempt at something really BIG, and I’m scared out of my socks!” We were trusting everything to God like we never had and it felt both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. It was a whole new level of faith walking that we’d only heard about before.

I realized then that failure is not the enemy; regret is.

It’s like picking up a camera and looking at the world through its lens. You see things differently with new eyes. Priorities shift. Expectations topple. The potential of a new path is revealed and sometimes, it humbles you into submission.

That was the new me. I realized that if I didn’t step out and embrace the possibility of failure, I’d regret it for the rest of my life.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 NIV

Failure can be discouraging. Fear? Debilitating. Pain, pride and even regret… They can prove consuming. But it’s the strength from a loving, all-powerful, gracious, omnipresent, heart-healing, restoring, teaching, comforting, courage-infusing and victorious God that picks you up again! Joshua 1:9 is a constant reminder of why failure is a good thing – because He’s always there to fight on our side.

I went to the office party that morning and smiled because I really meant it. It didn’t change our circumstances or add coins to my pocket. But as I sat there eating my cherry danish, I couldn’t help but think how sweet that moment was. To get real. To be authentic with myself. To embrace the bumpy failure-laden road that leads to leaning solely on His grace.

Our road hasn’t been perfect since that day. I’ve tasted a bit of failure, but I’ve had incredible sweetness too. And maybe you’re weathering the storms of rejection in your own dreams. Perhaps failure and fear have a tight grip. If that’s you, I encourage you to pick up the camera. Look at your world through the lens of God and see how different failure is through His eyes. Yes, it shakes us to our core. But that’s what’s so amazing! He’s there, in the thick of everything, waiting to pick us up every time we fall.

Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her debut historical novel, The Butterfly and the Violin (Thomas Nelson, 2014), was named to Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014, Family Fiction’s Top Ten Novels of 2014, and received nominations for RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best Inspirational Novel of 2014 and the 2015 INSPY Awards for Best Debut Novel. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin (Thomas Nelson, April 2015), was named Library Journal’s Reviews’ Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction, February 2015) and a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews.

Kristy is an Art/Design Manager at TheGROVEstory.com and holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good Christian fiction read.

You can connect with Kristy on Facebook: Kristy Cambron 

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