Reflections on Life and Failure

Tonight, I write to make sense of life and reflect on failure too.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed hosting guest bloggers for the past few months, but I felt a stir in my spirit tonight. So, instead of sleep, I will listen to that still small voice and write.

Write aloud.

Write to heal.

I started a series called Monday Meditations last month and it has not gone well. In fact, it failed.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I got more than 30-40 hits per blog. Compared to the almost hundreds (sometimes thousands) of hits I got for previous series including I Survived My 20s or Pre Engagement Questions–this is shocking.

Well, not really.

Devotionals aren’t a hot topic anymore. I should know because I am the self-proclaimed “Devotional Diva” (insert registered trademark here).

Also, if you choose to write for 20-somethings that’s another strike against you. I won’t even mention how bad the publishing market is right now.

Strike three.

I’m out.

In the midst of reflecting on life and failure, what has encouraged me most are my family and friends. I am truly grateful for my husband, my parents, and the many-many friends on and offline who have taken the time to send me messages.

What I want to say to you all is–Thank You.

Your messages keep me going. I don’t always get a chance to say it, but as a writer I absorb every word.

I am like a leaky sponge–who at the end of a project–gets wrung out for all to read. I bleed words.

Sometimes this is a good thing.

And sometimes–deadly.

Recently, I have kept quiet about a few things because I’ve been intentionally working on my character.

Instead of blurting out or pressing the enter key–I’ve kept it to myself. I’ve recently learned this trait from my husband who doesn’t get easily upset or emotional about anything, really.

It’s a gift.

And as his wife I crave that gift.

I feel social media has become a place for writers to complain and get way more attention than they really need. I know because I’m guilty. I almost deleted Twitter a few months ago, and if it weren’t for Hootsuite–I might have done it.

I wanted to be one of those authors who doesn’t schedule anything. I wanted every word to be directly from me. My heart.

Instead, what I found was that no one noticed.

It was like nothing had changed.

Life still went on.

I know it’s nice when people comment or say things or make you feel appreciated.

I LOVE being people’s personal cheerleader. One of the most consistent phrases my mother (and father if he admits it) says to me is,

“I miss my sunshine girl.”

I appreciate being able to use the gift of writing and pour out like water the stories from my life–and the lives of others. Every email or direct message I get from someone who asks to share their story is like a child asking their parent to feed it–OF COURSE I want to share it.

So when I respond to every message, Tweet, or Facebook post that comes my way and someone doesn’t message me back–it’s hard NOT to take it personal.

I feel like a failure.

I don’t feel important enough.

BIG enough.

Loud enough.

This year God has taught me a lot about how to remain intentional.

No matter who sees.

No matter who takes the time to respond.

God cares and that’s all that matters to me in the end.

I’ll end with this quote from Love Does by Bob Goff, whom I had the pleasure of meeting this Sunday at The Church at RB in San Diego, CA.

If you’re an author like me too–I know you’ll appreciate this quote.

Enjoy.

“I used to be afraid at failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m afraid at succeeding at things that don’t matter…The thing I love about God is He intentionally guides people into failure. He made us to be born as little kids who can’t walk or talk or even use the bathroom correctly.  We have to be taught everything. All that learning takes time, and He made us so we are dependent on Him, our parents, and each other. The whole thing is designed so we try again and again until we finally get it right. And the whole time He is endlessly patient.”

I appreciate you all. Goodnight.

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  • http://twitter.com/jmebowman Jaimie Bowman

    Renee, in my eyes, having just met you, you are FAR from a failure. In fact, I would just die to have 2 books published already! And you’re like way younger than me!! :) I think, too, that as accomplishment-driven people, we can feel like failures when our goals haven’t been met, or when the worldly standard for success is not met. But our character has not failed; our relationship with God has not failed – and those are truly the things that matter most. I went through 10 years of doing absolutely “nothing” after I had attained my MA degree. Literally nothing happened and I had a few dead-end jobs. I know what it’s like to feel like a failure. But this isn’t the end, my friend….this is where our character is deepened and new stories are born. Don’t lose heart :)

  • http://www.lookthrough.net Sonny Lemmons

    You, my dear friend, are incapable of being a failure. If you are doing , living out, and writing what is in your heart, then you are not a failure. Your words might fail to find a sizable audience, but neither your words nor you are a failure. Period. They will take root where they are supposed to. As will you.

    Much love to you.

  • http://twitter.com/ChineMbubaegbu Chine Mbubaegbu

    Hey renee, just to say, that you are an inspiration to me. I love reading what you write, hearing your stories and your thoughts. I’m not very good at being a cheerleader (I’m so very British!) but just wanted to encourage you!

  • Bre

    I just want to say that I enjoy reading your blogs. They really are an inspiration and seem to be relevant to where I’m at in life. Also, for those feelings of failure that seem to be looming over, here’s a little reminder: the only way you can fail is if you don’t do what God tells or calls you to do. Those “failures” are just satan’s way of trying to suppress you from sharing God’s word. There’s a reason those blogs need to be written..because they are going to show someone the truth. Keep writing the words God lays on your heart. :)

  • Lindsay

    Renee, you’re awesome. I truly mean that. I wish we lived closer, so we could grab some coffee and chat about life, and relationships, and God, and writing, and health, and all the good stuff you write about on your blog…which IS good, by the way. :)

  • John

    Accepting setback is never easy. But sometimes, you give it your all and fail anyway, and that is that. The worst thing to do is give up just because you’re encountering adversity. Goff’s quote may be nice to you, but he’s wrong. Your success is because you didn’t give in. Your failure is because you gave up. There is no depedance on anyone but you to make that happen.

  • Dawn

    Thanks for keeping it real, Renee. Mark Twain said, “No man (or woman) is a failure who has friends.” You have lots of them, even if they don’t comment on everything you write.

    I’ve been so busy I haven’t read
    much of anybody’s anything lately … way too busy. I need to quit
    something (and it’s not even Thursday!) But God meant for me to
    read this post. There’s a pool of self-righteousness puddling at my feet
    right now. I need to be transparent. To learn from my failures and not
    let them make me proud. Hard. Hidden. Thanks for reminding us all to stay faithful. And when we mess up on that, God is faithful to us.

  • Nicole

    Honesty is always the start, isn’t it Renee…so appreciate you and your heart for the Lord, and for people. Thanks for being the sunshine that you truly are. :)

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com/ Renee Johnson Fisher

    I appreciate it, Jaimie. It’s not that I felt like a complete failure, but it was certainly nice to express how I felt in the moment. I agree. Galatians 6:9-10 is a great verse for not losing heart too :)

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com/ Renee Johnson Fisher

    Aww, thanks Sonny! Much love to you too!

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com/ Renee Johnson Fisher

    What? But I would love my very own British cheerleader with your beautiful accent and everything. I swear you could read from the Bible and instantly I would cheer up every time :) THANKS again!!

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com/ Renee Johnson Fisher

    YES! Exactly. Not doing what God’s called you to do is worse. :) I will, thanks again Bre!

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com/ Renee Johnson Fisher

    Lindsay, you are so sweet. I would love that. Maybe one of these days I can pull together an online conference and talk about girly things or something along those lines!!

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com/ Renee Johnson Fisher

    Thanks Dawn. I like that quote. I understand life is busy and that’s why I am learning NOT to say something every time. Leave it to me to be transparent LOL

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com/ Renee Johnson Fisher

    Thanks friend!!!

  • InciteFaith

    Renee,

    I’ve read this post three times today and I didn’t want to be cliche’ and say all the ‘right things’ to ease your feelings. Because the truth is, I’ve been where you are. Hell, I’m still here.

    What I will say is that you start writing because you have a passion for it. (Hello AUTHOR of TWO and soon THREE books!). You’ve also been using this space to share the stories of others, including your own. This site has been your journey and it’s been inspiring.

    Whether you’re receiving 1-1,000 hits a day here, quantity doesn’t matter. It’s quality. I want you to remember *why* you do what you do and keep doing it. The focus here may change, but the purpose hasn’t.

    You’re a writer Renee. I don’t know what kind of season you are in, but you’re thriving where you are. Believe that. God is using your gifts tenfold, girl!

    Keep shining!!

  • Melissa

    whew. “He intentionally guides us into failure.” so good. i have totally felt this. thanks for your always refreshing honesty. thankful for your words. :)

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com/ Renee Johnson Fisher

    Thanks Melissa. I appreciate you saying so :)

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com/ Renee Johnson Fisher

    I’ve read this post more times than that before I could respond to anybody. Now I KNOW that God is using my writing and at the end of the day it’s NOT about how many hits you get. With that same–there can be a lot of confusion, heartbreak, and just plain ole’ sadness in between and how to get to the place of contentment.

    Thanks for your encouragement and I appreciate YOU!

  • http://www.idelette.com idelette

    Hi Lovely, I certainly know the tension of putting your heart out there and hearing crickets … Last year my word for the year was “roar” and I started out with a bang, thinking it was about me and my voice. And then I lost “my” voice along the way and got quiet … It was a good thing. That thing you mentioned about working on character–yep, I know that one. I got stripped of the ambition and I had to go back to the place of nothing. All grace. And then the revelation that the “roar” is the sound of God, rising up through ALL of our voices. // Btw, I love the encouragement in the other comments … looks like you are certainly loved.

  • l-u

    I wish it had been the good times and success that have defined my heart, but they haven’t. It has been the hardships,the loneliness that have forged my will and faith. It was when my faith was tested that I learned to truly trust in the ways of the Lord and not in my own understanding. Ever have the need to test your faith?Trust. Never allow for doubt to set in. In the absence of faith there will be little hope. Never allow your self to be enshrouded by the robe of sympathy but with a spirit of courage and a strong will. +++

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  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com/ Renee Johnson Fisher

    hey friend, thanks for sharing. I think this was less of doubt on myself but more wishing that it wasn’t the way it was…thanks for the comfort :)

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com/ Renee Johnson Fisher

    Hey Lovely yourself :-) I LOVE that word, wow. I can totally relate to that. Thanks for YOUR encouragement. I greatly appreciate it :)

  • L-U

    OK, the clothes just came out the dryer. Meaning that my ideals had been tumbling around my head and now have been sorted out. I love this little gem, Henri Nouwen writes, “A little criticism makes me angry…. a little praise raises my spirit …. often I am like a small boat on the ocean, completely at the mercy of the waves.” My disappointment shouldn’t define whom I am they merely are a reflection of my state of emotions at the time.Lol at myself for making a storm our of a little ripple in my live at times.

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com/ Renee Johnson Fisher

    I love it LU thanks for sharing :)

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