A few months back I was working on a book called Failure and Other F Words. It talked about fear of failure and other such things. I hope to publish the book later this year. Before that, I wrote another book called ENOUGH. God and the Fine Art of Measuring Up. Today I realize what I am experiencing is a combination of the two. I’m afraid I don’t measure up. I think I’ve always sort of dealt with this issue, but in the midst of these days it is really manifesting. With all the uncertainty surrounding this “pandemic” it is really hard to know what to do. We cancelled services and two people didn’t get notified. Now I took a lot of steps to make sure that didn’t happen, even putting the notice on TV, but people still managed to get missed and that breaks my heart. The feelings I’m experiencing in these days are not unlike the days when I was doing publication design and the publication came out and the phone started ringing to tell me about everything I missed. Once again I am starting to feel like I don’t have what it takes. Why do I share this? Because this wreaks of something that cripples most people creatively. It’s called perfectionism and right now, it’s really hurting me. Once those feelings set in, all kinds of stuff started to happen. I was trying to figure out how to offer some services to my congregation online. It didn’t work right the first time and rather than looking for the reason why, I immediately started to think, “I don’t have what it takes to do this.” This stuff often seems to compound when I allow myself to lapse into that state.

Should I feel bad that someone got missed? Yes, I love these people and they are very important to me. All I can do at this point is try to rectify the situation. Further, an oversight does not make me incompetent or stupid. I wasn’t too stupid to make the online services work. There’s just a learning curve. Limiting beliefs limit us. The fact is, I’ve never dealt with a situation like this before and neither have most of the people I know. This is uncharted territory, but it’s even more than that. The truth is none of us has within us the capacity for perfection. To live in fear of making a mistake is to live in fear of the inevitable and that, my friend, is an empty life. These are trying times, and trying times are not limited to the length of this “pandemic.” To succeed is not to stop failing, that’s impossible. No, to succeed is to learn to fail forward. In the case of the notifications, there were some problems, Now I need to find a solution. In the case of the online services, there is a solution, now I have to do the work of learning to use it. Will it work perfectly the first time? That’s doubtful, but it will be supremely more effective than doing nothing. This is essentially true in every creative pursuit.

Let me let you in on a little secret. Failure is inevitable, especially as you move into the realm of trying new things. Very few people can do something perfectly the first time and that difficulty is amplified in pressure situations. Try, fail and try again. Now all I have to do is live like I believe this in this stressful time. Please know this, I am praying for you.  God is good and we will get through this.

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