But What If I Fail?

But What If I Fail & Sing My Shoulda-Coulda-Woulda’s?

But What If I Fail?
Photo by We Make Noise!

But What If I Fail & Sing My Shoulda-Coulda-Woulda's?

The past has the power to inspire us. It also has the power to shut us down, make us regret things, and keep us from pursuing our dreams and goals. But we are the ones responsible for giving the past that power to affect our lives. It's how we view the past that determines what we will do with that knowledge. The question is: how will we let it affect us?

Remember when Sheryl Lee Ralph's character in Sister Act 2 told her daughter Rita (played by Lauryn Hill) that she didn't need choir, that she needed to study?

She said, "Baby, I know how you feel. Really. I do. But there are a lot of talented people right down there on the streets singin' their shoulda-coulda-woulda's. Now, is that how you want to end up?"

She has a point, right? Maybe those people were singing that they should have gotten a law degree or become a doctor. Her late husband was a failed musician. But she was basing her argument on the past, one that wasn't even directly related to her daughter's own talent.

I think we get caught up in the past sometimes and we're afraid to take a chance because we're so afraid that we will fail just like all the others who failed before us.

But the thing we have to keep in mind is that just because people have tried it and have failed doesn't mean we are destined to fail also. What matters is that we are doing what God is calling us to do. Maybe it will work out for us while it didn't work out for others. We shouldn't let someone else's past keep us from pursuing our own dreams.

I really do believe that God is calling us to do something more. What we dream of doing is wonderful, but he wants more from us. When we acknowledge that, when we realize that he's also calling us to glorify his name through the talents he has given us, that is when we are living a full life. It's not about us. It's about how we can use our talents and experiences to inspire or encourage others.

If we leave this part out, the "something more" part, we could very well end up singing our own shoulda-coulda-woulda's. When we do pursue our dreams and it doesn't work out, we lament and say we should have gone to college or gotten the law degree. But when we do get that degree and the job that we thought we wanted because of the income or prestige it could provide and we are still left feeling empty, we lament then, too. Something is missing.

We need to start taking responsibility for our actions and work toward our own dreams. We can't keep lamenting and singing our shoulda-coulda-woulda's. That doesn't help anyone. It only shuts us down and hinders us from inspiring others. When we pursue our own dreams and focus on being an inspiration, it helps us to remember this: how can we incorporate the "something more" into our own lives? How does God want us to share our story to inspire or encourage others?

Jody Calkins
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