When You’re Afraid You Might Blow It This Time (For the People who Fear Failure)

September 28, 2012 | 17 comments

Some mornings, insecurity shakes her from her slumber before the sun hoists itself up into the day.

She sees it out the window:  that glowing orb, round with the promise of fresh starts, clean slates and a light to guide the path. The sun bakes the cold right out of the day, and it makes shorter shadows of every living thing as it rises higher, higher still.

Today is a new day, but she  stands here in a still-dim room, a quiet corner. She’s afraid she might just blow it.

She remembers what her husband said through the phone. She could hear his combine rumbling over fields in the background when he spoke. He said to keep calm and remember: “You’re not called to figure out the impact of everything you do; you’re only called to be obedient to the call. There’s a difference.”

That farmer — culling a so-small harvest from his drought-stricken fields — said it again, another way, so the truth would burn into the folds of her soul: “God’s job is impact. He’ll decide what grows. So you don’t have to worry about that any more. God’s got it.”

His words float around her all day long, landing right in her heart as the sun begins its descent. Shadows grow long again. And she steps outside the front door to witness another end.

Facing west now, she watches the sunlight skitter away, with its promise to come back soon. A daughter holds a dandelion globe in her hand. And with a single burst of air, she blows it all.

She blows it all, in one exquisite breath.

With one small act, a child propels beauty straight into the sky — and it all drifts and floats and sways on air like angel feathers suspended by invisible strings. Who knows where they will land? The girl has not a care about the landing, but only about the exquisite flight of tiny miracles on air. Her eyes are widened with wonder; she is smitten with the thrill of a singular, glorious  moment.

And the mother could see it there: how the greatest joy of an obedient life can happen in those delicate moments when you know you might blow it, but you take that one deep breath anyway.

And you let it all go …

by | September 28, 2012 | 17 comments


  1. ro.ellott

    “You’re not called to figure out the impact of everything you do; you’re only called to be obedient to the call. There’s a difference.”…amen to this…and this…”God’s job is impact”
    to live free…letting His Spirit blow freely through our lives…unhindered…blowing and landing us where He pleases.
    Have a wonderfully…windblown weekend~

    • dukeslee

      I like that. 🙂 … Yes, a wonderful windblown weekend indeed. You, too, Ro. Take care, friend.

  2. Erica Hale

    Oh, how I needed to hear this today! Thank you, so much.

    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Erica. So glad you’re here, and that you were encouraged.

  3. Mari Mayborn

    Such a beautiful and freeing words, Jennifer. ‘Love returning to that place of abandon and the delight of lifting those little bits of fluff onto the breeze. Thanks.

    Your post is a God-incidence, too. I’m diving into something today that I’ve labeled SCARY for way too long.

    Dread twists gifts into burdens and wrings the truth of God’s generosity and goodness right out of them, doesn’t it. Thanks for the encouragement to open my grasp and feel the breath of God rush through my fingers as He breathes life into whatever I set my hand to, in faith.

    • dukeslee

      Mari, I’d love to hear more about that, if you’re willing to share sometime. I am praying for you now, that God drives out that fear with His perfect love.

  4. floyd

    A wise man your husband… a wise lady his wife…

    Fear of failure may have motivated the best who’ve gone before us… God allowed that trait too…

  5. Krista King

    Thank you! Timely. Beautiful. Touching.

  6. Lyla Lindquist

    Thinking about those tiny miracles on air, what would even constitute “failure” for them?

    Let go those puffs of air, my friend. Scott’s right. (As usual. 😉 )

  7. Lynn Morrissey

    What a lovely post, Jennifer…as they always are. Your husband is a special and wise man–one who encourages and speaks truth gently, and one who, himself, is bravely obedient to work the fields in the face of drought, not knowing exactly the impact of his efforts, but knowing it is God ultimately who brings growth–in the fruit of the field and the fruit of the heart. It seems that both you and your husband have obediently planted seeds, and your husband encourages you to stand back now and give your doubts to God, knowing that He’ll cause those seeds to flourish in His time and way, despite your fear of having blown it. And I think you just may have created a whole new paradigm for blowing it with the beautiful depiction of your daughter. As I studied her photo, watching her daughter blowing it…..blowing dandelion seeds all over creation, not knowing where they’ll be scattered, I realized afresh that the breath of God will carry them just where He intends for them to grow. Maybe blowing it is taking a fresh breath of God’s Spirit, releasing ourselves to Him in the abandonment of obedience, and then letting our “works” fly on the strength of *His* breath, not knowing what the outcome will be or trying to manipulate it, but knowing He will surely scatter, plant, and grow seeds where they most need to flourish. I think maybe you are “blowing it” in this way, Jennifer, because I keep seeing your words flourishing, taking root in hearts that need to hear them. Thank you beyond words! Love, Lynn

  8. Betty Jo

    Jennifer this is an incredible post. You have a wise husband there. “You’re not called to figure out the impact of everything you do; you’re only called to be obedient to the call. There’s a difference.” Soooooo true and good reminder! Love your photos too!

  9. Tanya Dennis

    Thank you for this. I admit lately I’ve been paralyzed by fear. I’ve been so concerned that I’ll make the wrong move, that I’ll be discovered as less worthy than I’ve thus far been perceived, that I’ll miss an opportunity to be truly great and do truly great things for God. And yet obedience is all He asks of me. Unadulterated obedience IS the great thing.

  10. Diane bailey

    Do you remember being the girl blowing dandelions? I do too The farmer is right. God has it! God bless you and your farmer.

  11. Dolly@Soulstops

    Your farmer hubby is wise…yes, let the Spirit’s breath blow, and let us be willing to be blown away…blessings, Jennifer…keep writing your book 🙂

  12. Eyvonne

    And this fear, it’s why my daily theme has become, “Do it afraid.”

    Obedience is the evidence of our love for Him, not the level of our accomplishments.

    Thank you.

  13. Megan Willome

    I would love to give that “her” a hug. Tell her it’s OK even though I have no idea how it will work out. Tell her that every harvest counts. Tell her that “God’s got it” is always true, but not always in the way you think. Tell her that the inadvertent weeds (like those dandelions) are wonderful surprises, longing to be spread.

  14. Anita

    Hi Jennifer,

    I loved your post.

    I especially liked

    “You’re not called to figure out the impact of everything you do; you’re only called to be obedient to the call. There’s a difference.”



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