One year ago my attempt to fund my Kickstarter project to self-publish my first book failed. I may not always stop to mark this day of failure, but this year it seemed especially important. I want to mark this anniversary because so much changed in the past year.
- I launched another Kickstarter project and it was fully funded! (Thank you, Backers!)
- My illustrator and I finished the work and published our book.
- I became a published author!
- I’ve sold my book to people I don’t know. (In other words, more than friends and family have bought it.)
- Hundreds of people have been touched by this story of pure love, overcoming lies and being true to yourself.
- I’ve launched a few more websites.
- I’ve learned how to sell products online.
- Stepped up my social media game and have made some beautiful connections.
- My publishing company is getting ready to launch a second book.
None of these things would be true if I had given up one year ago.
A year ago I was REALLY disappointed. I felt like I had misunderstood God’s leading. I felt sorry for myself. I thought I had wasted a lot of time for nothing.
I wasn’t able to see into the future, to see the list I just wrote above.
I had to stand up and step forward, while still having no idea what the future would hold.
Some might call this a step of faith.
Here’s the truth about failure:
You only truly fail if you fail to get back up again.
All other attempts that seemingly fail can just be chalked up to learning.
So, here’s a couple of things I’ve learned from failure and moving forward:
Even the Right Path Can Feel Hard
I have carried the mindset throughout my life that at some point it will get easier. I have believed that when I get on the right path, make the right changes to myself, read the right books, etc. that somehow life will seem easier.
This is simply not true.
Life is hard. Maybe that’s not what you want to hear, but it is true.
We get to choose how we respond to the fact that life is hard. Do we look for things to be grateful for? Do we plan enough times of rest in order to face the hard parts? Do we celebrate the victories along the way?
There are numerous ways in which we can seek out beauty, love, peace in our lives to enjoy the journey. Yet, the fact remains that it will be work.
The good news is that we were made for work! We just have to set our expectations up for that.
We see in Genesis 1, verse 28:
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Ruling over the earth was work! This wasn’t a spoiled kingdom where the king and queen were waited on hand and foot. Nope, it was just the two of them, Adam and Eve, and God put them to work.
I think we have believed the lies of advertising that if we get the right stuff, go to the right place, etc. life will just be an endless vacation.
This isn’t how God set it up for us.
We were made for work. Life is hard. God will help. There is beauty and purpose in all of it.
God Will Help You
I am a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, homeschooling momma, and author. Any one of those roles could be a full-time job. Yet, they are all mine. God has given all of this full life to me. On any given day, I am tracking more details in my head than any multi-page excel document could hold. It gets hectic in my head!
I know many of you can relate to this full-to-bursting life. I was talking to a friend the other day and we were saying that women in our generation have an interesting life. We were raised in an era where we were taught women/girls can do anything. What a gift to be living in such a time as this!
The catch, though, is now that we are free to pursue anything we are expected to do everything. The pressure of this can be absolutely crushing.
So, how do we handle this hard life with big expectations?
We have to get good at turning to God for guidance. He is the only one who knows the path we were meant to walk. That’s the big picture.
He also knows how each day is meant to go. He is happy to lead us moment by moment when we come to him. He is gentle and will not force his path on us. We have to come to him.
I like to do this in a couple of ways.
First, I start my day reading the Bible and journaling. When I journal, I share things I need His help with (prayer) and I also listen for his voice, writing down what I think I hear. This time is always precious to me. God expresses such love for me during this time. Sometimes just that message of love helps ground me for the day ahead. Sometimes He shares specific ideas for the day or future.
Second, throughout the day I pray as much as possible. When I’m faced with a decision, I try to pause and ask Him what the right way is for that moment. I don’t always hear anything, but I’m inviting Him into my days, my moments. The more I have done this, the louder I hear His voice or the more His peace guides me.
God set us to work, but never intended us to do it alone. He promises to be with us at all times – never leaving or forsaking us. We just have to decide we really want him with us all the time.
Failure Doesn’t Feel Good, But Fear Is Worse
As I shared at the beginning of this article when my Kickstarter campaign failed a year ago I was REALLY disappointed. Sooooo disappointed. I had worked so hard to launch the campaign. I had overcome unbelievable levels of fear, juggled a too-busy-life to find the time, was required to be constantly on social media during one of the grossest presidential campaigns to date and my campaign FAILED.
What do you do with failures on the right path?
I prayed and prayed and prayed my way through to that point of failure. I was constantly seeking God and asking him how to go about getting this book published. I felt like I was hearing His voice all along the way. I asked about how big I should make the campaign. It felt impossible, but my God is a God of the impossible.
BUT it FAILED.
Then, I realized that failure only happens when we are doing something – when we have dared to step out of our comfort zones -when we have attempted the new, crazy big dream.
If I had allowed the fear in my life to win, I would have never tried to publish a book. My beautiful Girl with the Sparkling Eyes would still be hiding on my computer.
That idea is so much worse to me that what it felt like to pursue this giant dream and fail at it.
The other thing I realized is that even though the Kickstarter campaign failed, my experience up to that point was not lost. I hadn’t lost the possibility of publishing my book, I just needed to re-group. I learned so much about myself during the process, generally good things.
I learned I’m tougher than I give myself credit for.
People are more generous than I believed they could be.
Communities rise up to support dreams and dreamers when given the chance.
In a world where it seems like people are constantly tearing each other down, we really do want others to win.
God’s comfort is beautiful and mysterious in our dark times.
Dream Your Dreams, Fail and Get Up!
If I could say only one thing to you it would be this:
Go for it!
Whatever “it” is for you. Don’t sit in fear and excuses. You have this one, precious, hard, beautiful life. The world needs your big dream.