Free to Fail

So like normal, I’m sitting in a coffee shop. Getting some work done, enjoying my favorite beverage and reflecting on life. It’s my 6th day in Flagstaff. It’s snowing…obviously, that’s so normal for me at the end of May. ha. These times away are always hard and so good. I miss Rusty and my community, but I also love being in the middle of nature and running with other competitive runners.

What an experience it’s already been. The first full day here I was training with the Halls. Never in my wildest dreams would I thought I would be here doing this. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. It doesn’t feel like this could be my life. But you know what’s so amazing? For the first time in my life I feel free. I don’t feel trapped by my illness, by my insecurities, by my doubt or fear of failure. Don’t get me wrong, all of those things are still present in my life, but they are not controlling it. I feel this sense of freedom from God. It’s like I’ve been waiting all these years for permission to do what I dreamed and God was saying, “You already have it, you just have to trust me and go for it.”

I’ve been doing this short study called Chasing Failure. It’s so relatable. For most of my life, I’ve avoided failure. It’s the scary disappointing place that causes humility and shows limits. If I don’t go there, then I don’t have to worry about the negative feelings it produces. But what if failure actually produces freedom?

I think for many of us taking the first step is the scariest. We fear the unknown and if we don’t venture into it, failure then can be avoided. I mean let’s be honest, our world today is all about showing the good. We like capturing an image that places us in the best light, our best selves. But what most people forget to mention is all the risk and failure they took to get there. Let’s say your following another business entrepreneur, you see their success and want to be there too. But what we often fail to see is all the shortcomings, failures, tears, courage and strength it took to get there.

What if instead of fearing failure we embraced it?

Even just a couple of years ago I never would have thought to put this much money, time, investment, and all the other stuff it took to get to where I am now. I never would have imagined being away from Rusty for 5 weeks to train. I wouldn’t have bought running shoes every month and there’s no way I would have stepped out and pursued my own studio for my business. But Jesus and I had some real talks. TRUST has been one of the hardest parts of my faith. Will God really take care of me? What if I fail? Is this responsible? I am a practical person, but sometimes we must step out in faith.

I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve accepted failure. There is no way I’m going to always succeed. In fact, I’m probably going to fail more than I succeed. And guess what? That’s okay. I’d much rather learn and grow and fail than never do something that scares me. Yeah I need lots of reminders. I was reminded in todays reading that when Joshua took Moses’ place God reminded him 6 times to “Be Strong and Courageous!” I think its taken me a few more than that, but that’s so often what God wants from us. It’s not success, but trust and courage.

Would you rather live a life of comfort or a life of thriving? Do you want to sit back and say “I just wish I would have tried”? That doesn’t mean it’s easy friends, but it’s worth it. Living the life YOU were meant to live is worth it. There is only one you. No one else has your story or journey. No one else can live your life.

As I’m writing this I think about the fact, I was no All American runner, I’m not a 2:30 marathoner, I’m actually super tall for a distance runner, I don’t have thousands of followers on Instagram, in many ways I am a nobody. But guess what? I’m Johanna Butler and I am so proud of the life God gave me. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone, but I have a God who loves me deeply and believes in me whole-heartedly. I get to choose to pursue the calling he’s given me or dismiss it because I don’t feel adequate. Forget what the world says it takes to be “successful” or “important” and remember God has already declared that over your life.

There will be days you’re running your race that you stop and throw up or keel over, but God will always be there to pick you back up. But don’t give up. Hold fast. Be strong and courageous. People may judge you, the world may call you crazy and guess what you will probably fail at some point. But it will be worth it. Why? Because you will be living the life you were created to live.

Jo ButlerComment