When Failing Wins

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Challenges are more often like marathons than sprints. We’re most spent as we near the finish line, and when I can’t see the end, sometimes I falter and it’s tempting to quit rather than carry on. 

“God,” I said, “I’m not entering any more writing contests if I don’t win something this time.” —I almost didn’t enter, but I figured entering my article on failing was  appropriate since I’m so adept at it. Besides, the road to success is often paved with failure. 

Rachael-M-Colby-Tattoo-It-On-Your-Heart-The-road-to success-is-often-paved-with-failure

The best will fail the most.

 George Washington lost more battles than he won. Thomas Edison scrapped more “great ideas” than he ever saw come to fruition. 

The well-played life is not about never falling.

Continue reading “When Failing Wins”

Am I Worth It?

Tattoo-It-On-Your-Heart-Rachael-M-Colby-Am -I-Worth-ItI cried when my friend Cherrilynn asked me to go to Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. There was no way I could go! I had wanted to for three years, but the timing was wrong, the money wasn’t there, and how could I leave my husband and two teen boys, one of whom just became our foster son, to fend for themselves? Besides, I was sure my husband would never say yes. So I didn’t ask. 

“Just praying and doing the One-Day-at-a-Time Sweet Jesus 🎵 thing,” I told my editor friend. “So much to write. So much drama and distraction. Sure wish I could run away for a few days to Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. Well—🎵 Hallelujah Anyhow.🎵 Thy will Lord—in Your strength.”

Then Cherrilynn called two days before departure and asked again if I would go with her to the conference. 

The thought of attending a writers conference with all those amazing people and accomplished writers terrified me! Who am I to go?

God makes no duplicates so why compare yourself? 

Shouldn’t I have a several thousand page book written first to justify the expense and inconvenience to others? I have a couple children’s picture book manuscripts but… Am I worth it? Am I worth investing in? What if I fail? 

Our worth is not defined by ourselves, others, or by our performance, but by Christ’s investment in us, His precious blood spent and His love for us. That makes us priceless. And it is He who bestows gifts on each of us for His glory and to help others. 

I don’t doubt God’s calling on my life to write, but sometimes I doubt myself. I fear quitting. Remember in the Grinch when the townspeople are all shouting at him?  “You don’t belong there!” echoed in my mind. Continue reading “Am I Worth It?”

Quit Quitting!

Tattoo-It-On-Your-Heart-Rachael-M-Colby-Quit-Quitting.jpgDid you miss the memo that anything worth doing is hard? Writing is hard work. For me it is mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausting. And exhilarating too—but that usually comes after the exhausting. It is time intensive and demanding. But it’s worth it. Your calling costs something too. 

Life happens. Sometimes all you can handle is small steps and bite sized pieces, but they will get you where you’re going. Instead of overdrive on the Autobahn you might need to take the slow country road for awhile. Somewhere between doing nothing and doing everything, there is balance. Continue reading “Quit Quitting!”

Waiting for Perfect (Guest Post on Inkspirations Online)

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I was waiting for perfect, but it never showed up. So I decided I’d better start the journey without it. I thought I needed to be the perfect Christian, wife, mom, have the perfect family, and coin the perfect phrases. Then I’d have something to say. Then God could use my writing. I mean, who am I?

But it’s not about who I am; it’s about… Continue reading “Waiting for Perfect (Guest Post on Inkspirations Online)”

I Hate Commitment, (or is it Failure I Fear)

I hate commitment. It’s terrifying! Failure to keep a commitment devastates me, no matter how small. So, I shy away from it. I procrastinated all day about accepting author and writing coach Jeff Goins’s 30 day  #My500Words writing challenge because I figured if I waited long enough, it would be too late to commit and then I couldn’t fail. One way to avoid failure is to not commit—just don’t take the risk. Right? Wrong.

The Bible admonishes us to count the cost, to consider if we are able to complete a task before we begin and to let our yea be yea and our nay be nay. We should have  reverence for commitment, but there’s a difference between responsibly considering decisions and living in neutral. Neutral often slides into reverse motion

Tattoo_It_On_your_Heart_Rachael_M-Colby_Neutral

You can choose to live a reactive or proactive life. God calls us to action and faithful stewardship of our talents and abilities. Passivity is an action. We are responsible for the results of our indecision. We either pursue God and His call for our lives or neglect it. Inaction is an action; indecision is a decision. No risk, no gain. Guaranteed.

In an effort to feel more secure and protect myself from failure, I wrote my first 500 words before typing, “I’m in,” and accepting the challenge—at the last minute. So how did I do? I failed. I missed three days and many days I fell short of the 500 words, but on others, I exceeded it. There is a difference between failing at something and being a failure. Failing doesn’t necessarily identify you as a failure. It could just mean you tried and as Thomas Edison said, figured out many ways how not to do something, which is often the route to finally achieving a goal or overcoming an obstacle.

So, what really is the battle here? Am I afraid of commitment, or failure? Or am I just a control freak? The answer is yes. I like the sure thing. It’s not a risk if I know the outcome, can do it in my own strength, or don’t need a miracle. But if I stay in my comfort zone, I don’t need faith and if I don’t reach beyond my own abilities, I miss the chance to see God work with me, through me, and move on my behalf. My mess yielded to Jesus is a chance for God’s miracles. My obstacles are God’s opportunities.

I’m often hard on myself when I feel I’ve let myself, others, and most importantly, God, down. Even though I want and need input to grow, sometimes it’s hard to receive criticism from others because I’ve done such a good job of beating myself up. That’s an issue with Grace. God says in His Word that His mercies are new every morning.

Unspoken- Miracle

Let your trials and failures refine you and let God define you.

Sometimes it’s the process of the struggle that builds the strength to accomplish the task. The only real failures are those who do nothing or quit at their calling.

Sometimes what we think of as failure is God’s strength and endurance training, equipping us to help others.

Sometimes that good thing for us is failure, or setback, or discipline, or faith stretched until the midnight hour—and then the victory. Pray; wait on God, and when He says it’s time to move—move.

Tattoo-It_On_Your_Heart_CFM_Pastor_Chip_Ganiear_Potential_Miracle

When I depend on myself and my own abilities I fall short. The only sure thing is the Gospel. The only guarantee of success is to obey God and hitch our hearts, our hope, our destiny and eternity on Jesus. What matters is not my own or the world’s definition of success or failure, but God’s. God defines us by our identity with Him. I am His.

If God is asking you for something you can’t do then it’s God’s turn to do whatever it takes to accomplish His will and destiny for your life. — Pastor Chip Ganiear

And all that really matters is the will of God.

I’m going to fail sometimes. You’re going to fail sometimes. We will lose some battles, but I read the end of the story, and those who walk with Jesus win the war.

Pray. Persist. Prevail.

“I AM THAT I AM” beats “it is what it is” every time. — Pastor Chip Ganiear

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NKJV)

Rachael-M-Colby-North-Carolina-Christian-Writers-Conference-3rd-Place-Tar-Heel-Award

 

We were made for Christ, to follow Him, to obey His

 Word and calling, to lean on His strength and grow in His grace.

He has called me to write for Him, and so, I write.

3rd place 2019 Tar Heel Award, North Carolina Christian Writers Conference

Carrollton- Made for This

© 2018, 2019  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

 

 

 

 

 

Dear reader,

I’d like to invite you to read about our young friend, Alek’s, battle against Lymes disease. Please consider sharing on your social media and with friends, family and co-workers.

Link to read his story or donate toward his ongoing treatment. the information on Lymes disease in this article by his mom is a good education on the disease and may be helpful to others battling it or with undiagnosed similar symptoms:

Click to read or donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/aleks-battle-against-lymes

 

Dear Me, I Have a Question for You

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Dear_Me_I _Have_ a Question_for _YouHis question hit me like a bucket of ice water, and it wasn’t even the subject of his blog post. The job of the preacher is to preach the Gospel, to speak truth and make us uncomfortable with complacency, with less than what God wants for us—uncomfortable in our sin. And so he did.

“What would you say to someone whose life looked exactly like yours?” Pastor Payte said.

What a profound, thought provoking, convicting, question Pastor, but it’s too long of a list for a blog post. That’s a good question for us all to ask ourselves at the onset of the new year—or perhaps everyday.

So, time to take inventory. Have a seat Self.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: Psalms 139:23 (KJV)

Let God defend you. He is able. Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Most _Times

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalms 141:3 (NKJV)

My good friend Sue, prays, “ Lord put your arm around my shoulder and your hand across my mouth.” She’s a Proverbs 31 woman

Circumstance will circumvent your plans if you are not intentional with  your time:

  • Time spent in God’s Word and presence
  • Time with your family
  • Time developing your skill to fulfill your calling.

Let God define you.

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart__Life _and _Time-are-Bullies

Make priority a priority, or it probably won’t get done. Don’t let the urgent distract you from the important, as the preacher said.

Don’t allow the demons of One-More-Thing, Procrastination, Fear, Discouragement, or procrastination to derail you from what God called you to. Sometimes later doesn’t come, and too late or missed opportunity shows up instead. But if that happens, take heart; Jesus loves you anyway and  meets you where you are. Nothing we do or don’t do takes Him by surprise. So, look up, get up and carry on—follow Him. He has a plan.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

Becoming a better person is more important than doing great things. People who strive to be better end up doing great things.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalms 51:10 (KJV)

We all fall short but Jesus is the difference maker. His mercies are new every morning. He supplies all our needs when we supply ourselves to him. Not just our physical needs, but our spiritual needs. He can turn our vices into victories, our failures into triumphs—even a ministry to others.

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

Your turn.

Oh, and I’ll talk about the actual subject of Pastor Payte’s article another time. 🙂

 

I’d like to invite you to read about our young friend, Alek’s, battle against Lymes disease. Please consider sharing on your social media and with friends, family and co-workers.

*Matching funds on new donations from February 1st- February 14th! Link to read his story or donate toward his ongoing treatment. the information on Lymes disease in this article by his mom is a good education on the disease and may be helpful to others battling it or with undiagnosed similar symptoms:

Click to read or donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/aleks-battle-against-lymes

gofundme_aleks_battle_against-lymes

© 2018  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

Diamonds

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_your_Heart_Diamonds

You don’t have to like everything you create. Sometimes the purpose of creating is to minister to others or for someone else’s enjoyment. You just need to have a measure of peace with your work, know that you’ve given it your current best and keep learning; keep practicing. For example, I paint a little and have some pieces I don’t like, but the people who own them do, and that’s great— because the artwork was for them and I don’t have to look at it hanging on my wall.

To my fellow writer Brian who inspired this post, I say:

Brian, you have held on for too long to let go now. The lessons learned on the journey prepare us for our destination. Humans are by nature too self indulgent and lazy to spend as much time and tears on something, as you have on your writing, for the desire toward it to not have been set in your heart by your Maker. But talent is a seed and it must be cultivated. So get back to work! Much weeding often precedes reaping a good harvest.

Powerful writing isn’t achieved by merely composing words, but by the pouring out of a heart onto the page.

Write out of your passion

Write out of your pain

Write out of your trials

Write out of your triumphs

Write out of your hurt

Write out of your healing

Write what matters

Write what ministers

Let the scars of your story be heard by others. Doing so diffuses the enemy’s lies and our wounds become weapons of light. -Allen Arnold, The Story of With

The inclination to abandon unfinished work reminds me of those who habitually break up with the person they are dating,  just so they aren’t the one to get dumped. It’s their way of avoiding rejection, failure. They still lose. Sometimes in our efforts to self preserve we self sabotage.

It’s important that you not just write, but finish. Completing a project builds confidence, and confidence silences doubt. -David Corbett

It’s one thing to set something aside for awhile and work on another. It’s a different thing to abandon your work. Fleeing your duty doesn’t save you from failure.

Stopping at third adds no more to the score than striking out. -Babe Ruth

So, you fell down. Get up! The only real failure is quitting when you are called to carryFullSizeRender-001 on.

You will never know who your work will impact until you put it out there. But first you have to finish.

Natural diamonds take years to form as carbon encapsulated deep within the mantle of the earth is subjected to intense pressure and heat. Something of greater value is created than it’s original state by going through time and process.

Pressure

Life will steamroll you if you let it with the day to day dramas. But as the preacher said,  don’t let the urgent distract you from the important. You will have to make time for what is most important in your life; you will never find it. My priorities are, God, family, and the tasks which fulfill my calling.

Heat & Cold

Fire forges; fire purifies.

Elements introduced in the process of a diamond’s formation can also affect its color and clarity. So too trials color our lives. According to my gemologist friend, Robert, the whitest diamonds are found in greatest abundance in Russian mines due to the effect of the extreme cold of the earth’s surface there.

 

In those times when I can’t see where I’m  going and I don’t feel like carrying on, I cannot allow my emotions or lack thereof to govern me. My faith in God, His Word and calling for my life lead me. I fulfill  my part by doing the work I know to. I just start and lay one word down on the page, and then another, and another… Sometimes the power is in the going.

Editing is like mining. Like Kimberlite, the volcanic rock, which transports diamonds from deep within the earth to the surface, everything that fires your inspiration is not going to stay. Some of it is just to get your words on the page. Then the mining, cutting and polishing begins.

We too must leave our original sinful state and go through process, if we are to be transformed and into a  new creation- a precious son or daughter of the King of Kings. We are His treasure.  

Time

It takes time to form a diamond. It takes time to form character. And it takes time to form a writer. It took more than two years to cut and polish the Centenary Diamond. The skilled diamond cutter reveals the brilliance of the gem.The better the cut, the brighter the diamond.

Do you want your work to sparkle? Do you want to be the real deal, to reflect the brilliant light of Christ? It’s going to take time and process, becoming transparent and having a teachable spirit. You must yield to the Master’s cut.

I want to be polished and perfected, faceted into His perfect plan.


Writing starts deep in the heart and soul. For me it starts with time spent with God. I cannot write without Him.

With God, the priority is always presence over performance, intimacy over independence. -Allen Arnold, The Story of With

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NKJV)

Jesus is my breath. I pray through every piece I write. I write with Him.

I realize that if I can accomplish something purely in my own strength, those dreams are way too small. Allen Arnold, The Story of With

It’s often a terrible spiritual battle as I write. Doubt and fear hound me, I battle oppression, discouragement, depression and exhaustion. Sometimes the battle is from within; I can be my own worst enemy. But often it is from without.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

Writers of truth are a threat to Hell, so we should expect assaults. We need to put on our full armor- be battle ready word warriors and continue to pray for one another.

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NKJV)

“God,” I said, “why is this so hard?”

“How else will you be able to minister to others if I don’t take you through here?”

Life is demanding; it has a way of taking mad turns. But all our struggles and failures provide opportunity for God to grow us and bring a turnaround. They enable us to encourage others on their journey.  If everything came fast and easy, I’d probably think it was my doing— I couldn’t empathize with others, or learn to lean on God and His approval.  

Much of my inspiration comes from my pain, struggles and failure and my desire to help others. I take my assignments from the needs around me and my God above me. I can invite Jesus into my inadequacies, all my inabilities, for He is my enabler. Jesus meets me in my mess and He is enough. I press through. Sometimes I must write through the darkness and into the light. There comes a point when it’s like the dawn and the fog lifts and God’s presence falls and there is joy.

I know I am small. I have much to learn. But I’m not depending on myself. I’m depending on Christ. Christ is my qualifier and He has a way of making much out of little when we give ourselves to Him. He is faithful, so I hold on, carry on, and write on, for His glory.

“Here’s my pen, Lord.”

*I take full responsibility for all flaws in myself and in this article. I’m undergoing time and process. Blessed to write for my God; privileged to sit under the mentor-ship of author Jerry B Jenkins as part of his writers guild.

**Special Thanks:

The Gemological Institute of America

LAM Goldsmiths

Maeve

Robert, my gemologist friend, also known as, “my gardener friend.”

© 2017  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart