many of us have probably heard the question: “what would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?” it’s a lame conversation starter at even lamer parties, it’s the kind of opener professors and pastors use to try to hook you in to the semi-related material, it’s probably in the trailer for some superhero movie.

i have always hated failure and it is honestly probably my biggest fear (though usually when asked that question i confess to fears of lateness or darkness). when i was little (and even not so little) i used to cry when i lost a game because i hated losing. i would even start crying before the game ended, when i realized that i was losing, because i hated it so much.

the first assignment i ever outright failed in school i remember vividly. i was in second grade, and we were taking a multiplication pretest. my parents hadn’t taught me how to multiply yet, and i only managed to get 8 right out of 20, which is actually quite impressively lucky. i remember that the paper the test was on was green. i remember mrs. kessler passing back the tests, and i was sitting next to joyce lee (joyce, if you’re reading this, i promise you i’m not still bitter about this 🙂 ). joyce got hers back first and showed me- she had only gotten one wrong. i got mine back and it was covered in red marks. joyce asked how i did and i ran to the classroom bathroom with my test. i can still see the occupied/unoccupied sign swinging behind me as i closed the door as quickly as possible and burst into tears. it was the only test i ever failed.

anyway, back to my original question. i’m sure everyone can think of lots of things they’d do if they knew they could not fail- anything from asking out that special someone you’ve been friend crushing for a while now to eating all 17 flavors in the massive flavor bucket at your favorite ice cream parlor in one sitting and getting your picture on the wall. but we don’t try, because we’re afraid that others will think less of us if we try and fail.

what would you attempt if you didn’t care if you failed? if no one else cared either?

i’ve been pondering this a little recently, and have decided on a little experiment. i’m going to try some new things, or some old things that i’ve never been all that great at, and see. i’m going to give myself some room to fail. i applied for some opportunities this summer that i didn’t think i’d be accepted for- and i’ve already found out that i have been accepted to one of them. i signed up for a dance class that i have wanted to take since being at vandy, and it’s not nearly as scary as i thought. i’m running a half marathon in april.

it’s not much. it’s things that i can succeed at and that i don’t want to fail at, but i very well might. but i’m going to try. i think i need a little more experience with failure in my life. what would you attempt if you didn’t care who saw you fail?

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength
of my heart and my portion forever.”
Psalm 73:26

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