For six months last year and then part of the beginning of this year I was in pursuit of the biggest God dream I’d ever been a part of. I alternated between joy and wanting to throw up on a daily basis.
It was a dream to connect readers of (in)courage in real life. To offer our platform to them, so that they could find connection with each other. And in April 2012 close to 2,000 women from 24 countries did just that through a simulcast and a day of real life meetups. Over a single weekend the videos had over 30,000 views and the #inRL hashtag had 10 million impressions on Twitter.
But I didn’t know that back in October 2011.
I didn’t know that when we were mapping out the dream.
I didn’t know that when we were trying to explain the vision to others.
I didn’t know that when we were trying to put the dream into words and down on paper.
I didn’t know that when the only business purpose I could think of for this new kind of un-conference was that Jesus had said this is what He wanted.
And I was terrified the idea would fail.
I was nauseous on a daily basis thinking about how the dream might blow up in my face or make DaySpring look foolish or go out with a whimper in the dark.
My hands shook. Literally.
Zoe and I would rock in the dark and I would beg God to make His dream successful. Failure was my enemy and it made me afraid.
Maybe you have a dream you’re too afraid to put on paper?
Maybe you have a passion that keeps you up at midnight and makes your hands shake?
Maybe you’re so busy weighing the odds of failure that you haven’t started?
Maybe you and God need to talk about that?
God and I had a lot of conversations – mostly in the kitchen while I was trying make inroads on the dishes that never seem to care how busy or tired I am. I would stand with hands under the hot water and the disposal rumbling and just say it all out loud. How terrified I was of failing. How desperate I was for success.
And I’d go round and round with God trying to figure out what success might look like to Him. I’d point out that He was the all powerful ruler of the cosmos and He could make the thing rock, just ROCK, if He wanted to. I may have whined. I may have bargained. I may have cajoled.
But I did not have peace.
So God and I kept talking about what success looks like. To Him and to me. And one day I heard Him. One day I opened a book and heard God speak to me about His definition of success. Friends, it rocked me. It rocked me so much I wanted to write it down so come April and the actual event I wouldn’t forget.
So I wrote the future me a letter with the definition of success I had discovered.
And then I forgot about it until the weekend of (in)RL when it snuck into my inbox amidst the whirlwind of the busiest and most emotional work I’ve been a part of and God, he had the last, beautiful word. And I thought I might share a part of it with you – in case you need to see success through new eyes.
Hold my hand, this letter is a piece of my heart:
So, (in)RL is over now.
You made it to and through April 27 & 28. Today it’s hard to imagine I will. Zoe is napping, she’s 6 months old and the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. She fills me with joy in places I didn’t know had been sad.
And today I discovered what I hope you remember now. That the success of (in)RL was determined long before the weekend you just lived through.
I discovered it six months ago.
That our craving for success is in actual fact how we disguise a fear of failure. I had thought it was about pride about being puffed up – but now I see fear.
So, the more afraid I am that (in)RL will fail, the more I want it to be a huge giant success. Not just that it will be….. period. That it will be come about. But that it will come about in cataclysmic, life altering, world changing ways. That kind of success.
But here’s the thing I heard Him say today,
God wants it to be a success too. However….
“If what we are being called to do is in God’s will for us, we truly can’t fail. …What I mean is that we simply may not have the same meaning as God for the word “failure.” To me failure means it doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. To God it means I didn’t pick up the brush. Assuming God is calling you to do something, you will fail by being disobedient, not be a lack of success at the task.” ~ Angie Smith, What Women Fear.
Following the calling IS the success.
So how many tuned in this weekend, how many joined meetups, how many blog about it, share about it or report on it becomes irrelevant to it’s success.
You were obedient to the calling. Congratulations. That is all that matters.
(still in the thick of planning videos and themes :)
My heart gets all achey reading this again. I’m in the midst of following a new dream. One I’m excited to share with you at the end of these 31 days. And I have to keep reminding myself that success lies in being faithful.
Just in being faithful to the call we are successful.
So pick up that brush friend. Open that keyboard. Hit publish on that post.
Because we have been called.