“So many things were impossible, until they weren’t.”
Jennifer Donnelly, Sea Spell
This weekend I’m attending a workshop, hosted by a friend and one of the things she asked us to come prepared to talk about is learning a new skill. Negative Nelly that I am, I thought, “I have not learned anything new.”
Until I thought about it. Just this past weekend, I attended writing workshops at a conference to learn about writing fiction. Fiction has always been off-limits for me. I love to read but the idea of writing a story that I created out of my imagination was terrifying.
Who would read it? Nobody. It would be terrible. I just don’t have that kind of creative magic. This is what I told myself and I believed me.
Writing fiction was an impossibility, a fairy tale. Something I’d dream about as a child. It wasn’t going to happen even though I’ve wanted to tell stories since I can remember.
As my book, Whole, was published, I began to think about new projects. A little voice kept whispering, “Fiction.”
It was tempting. As the summer waned, I decided to try. I looked around at creative writing courses but decided I couldn’t go back to school at this time. Then the writing workshops showed up in my email and I excitedly said yes! I felt like God was saying Yes to me, too. I am cautiously optimistic. I have a lot to learn. Nothing may come of it except personal satisfaction but at least I will have tried.
Am I learning something new? You bet! Why did I sell myself short? Why do you?
Stepping out into the unknown can be scary. I have made every excuse not to get started. Procrastination was a front for fear. I was afraid I couldn’t do it. I was afraid I’d be awful at it. I’d fail. I’d look stupid. We’ve all been there as we set out on a new adventure or journey.
What I’m starting to understand is I’d rather fail at something than regret not trying. It’s a lesson that’s been a long time learning.
I think as we get older we lose the muscle of trying new things. We are too afraid of failure or the consequences of even trying. We settle into our comfy couches and get complacent. How did this happen?
I look at my boys. The things they are passionate about, they act on. Shooting hoops relentlessly in the driveway. Writing and drawing just because they want to. Creating just because they can. Fear doesn’t seem to factor in or maybe it just isn’t allowed to dominate. As adults we need to start exercising those muscles of trying new things again. We need to say Yes! more and then get up and Do. Maybe if we let our desires and our passions have more sway, we’ll create more. We’ll be more content. We’ll learn not just a new skill or reinvigorate an old one but we’ll grow as people too.
We teach our kids these lessons but we stop applying them to ourselves. Why is that? Educating ourselves and creating beauty makes the world a better place. It makes a difference. When we try, it inspires others. I have friends who have gone back to school to get a teacher’s degree or a degree in a dream they put off. They make me want to try. It’s contagious.
What impossible dream sits in your heart, waiting to be released? To be attempted? What do you think you are too old to do? Or too young? What would you do if you had no limitations or obligations?
Maybe what seems an impossibility is really a matter of trying, of saying Yes! to God so He can say Yes! to you.
Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:26 NLT
Do you believe it?