On our journey, I believe Jesus desires us to be our authentic, child-of-God selves.
I don’t know how many of you were raised hearing, “If you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all.”
I just spoke with a friend of mine who reminded me of hearing that as he was growing up.
It brought me back. Funny how you don’t have to hear that phrase too many times before it
starts tumbling around in your head or even worse, in your heart.
And it tumbles into the spaces of your brain, just as you are thinking of attempting something you’ve never done before. Just as you’re thinking of attempting something no one has ever taught you – as you’re thinking about exploring something new and, according to the conventional wisdom of your family, is just a little crazy or something “we don’t do.” And if you listen, you stop. You don’t try. It’s too risky.
I often think of when I began writing books for children. I didn’t know anything about ”right” writing. In fact, I didn’t even know I didn’t know anything. But I was invited to an SCBWI (Society of Children’s Bookwriters and Illustrators) critique group. If I had known how little I knew, I probably would never have even read my first manuscript. But because I was so completely uninformed, I read a very “un–right” first attempt. Nobody in that group said my story was awful. Nobody said it was good. They just asked me questions about plot, and audience, and voice, and character, and a host of other things I didn’t know. And because they were some of the most encouraging people on the planet, I dared to learn and return and read again, and learn some more, and eventually get published.
It’s amazing how daring to try what you can’t get “right” the first time encourages you to try again.
But if we measure any possibility, challenge, opportunity, experience, job, “crazy” idea by whether we can do it “right,” we end up living in a box of undone dreams.
It’s scary to get it “wrong” when you’ve tried to get it “right” all your life. But there’s a lot of exciting stuff that happens in the faltering or failed attempts, the mistakes, the flubs, the “foot-in-your-mouth” conversations, the falls, the walked-through fears when you go out on a limb and don’t care if you “get it right” but rather find excitement and growth in the trying.
And eventually, you get a few things “right.” But as soon as you do, there’s something else just around the corner that presents a new challenge for getting it wrong.
But now I remember something else I heard a lot. “If at first you don’t succeed; try, try again.”
And that helps me remember the exhilaration, endless possibilities, and joy of discovery when I experience how “right” it is to get it wrong.
Ruth Vander Zee
Author of WOMAN MEETS JESUS
Journey of Faith