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Updated: Jan 24

For years, I carried the belief that I was lazy. I initiated countless projects only to leave them unfinished. I was proficient at starting things, brimming with creativity, but utterly inept at translating that creativity into productivity. My self-imposed label of 'lazy' eventually led me to a point where I convinced myself not even to attempt anything. I'd say to myself, 'This is a great idea, but it's bound to lead nowhere, given your history of great ideas left unrealized.' Then, during one of my meditative moments, I had a revelation. It wasn't laziness that held me back; it was an intense aversion to failure. I had to confront the fact that my fear of failing had paralyzing effects on my willingness to try. Reflecting on my past failures, I discovered the most beautiful aspect of failure: the boundless optimism at the outset. Then it dawned on me that the key to persevering in any endeavor was to sustain that optimism. I stopped allowing self-doubt to undermine my projects. Whenever I hit a roadblock (as we all inevitably do when venturing into the unknown), I'd sit and daydream about the finished product. I've started and abandoned numerous book projects, but what set my latest book, 'Stupid Christians,' apart from mere outlines was a decision I made one day at Starbucks. I had arranged for a babysitter, packed my heavy books and study materials into my bag, and found a cozy spot at Starbucks. With a hot drink in hand, I opened my laptop, ran my fingers over the keyboard, and then...nothing. No inspiration came to me—neither good nor bad. In the past, even when stuck, I'd at least have a page of gibberish to show for it, but this time, I didn't even have anything to 'backspace.' At that moment, I placed my coffee aside and went to the restroom. I stood before the mirror, staring at myself, and there it was—the same negative narrative creeping in: 'Do you realize how many people write books? Why would your book matter? You've lost your writing gift by letting it lie dormant for so long. This is your punishment for not utilizing your gift; it's been taken away.' However, something had changed in me this time. I simply didn't buy it anymore. I literally spoke aloud, 'Yeah, I don't buy it,' as if I were dismissing my inner Debbie Downer. Something clicked that day, I stopped believing the lies I’d told myself about myself. What lies have you told yourself, or have others told you, that you need to stop believing? Whether it's doubting your ability to marry, thinking you're not educated enough, or believing your aspirations will never take off, it's one thing to silence the voices of your critics, but it's another to acknowledge that you've been sabotaging your own dreams. What I did next may seem even more illogical. I returned to that blank screen and started writing. In the center of the screen, I typed and underlined, 'The Day I Finished My Book.' Keep in mind; this was the same book that hadn't even been started yet. I wrote a message to my future self, the one who would become an author and who wouldn't quit. I told Future Erica how proud I was, how it felt to hold that book, and how I committed to praying for the people who would hold it. That day, everything changed. I had convinced myself to embrace the truth instead of the lie. The truth was that the God who placed the desire in my heart to write this book would see it through to completion. Maybe you've lost your optimism. Instead of incomplete book outlines, perhaps you're staring at negative pregnancy tests, a college rejection letter, or a business plan that's been sitting untouched for a decade—reminders of what you haven't accomplished. Regardless of our circumstances—rich or poor, educated or not, young or old—we all have unfinished aspects of our lives. I challenge you today to write a letter to your future self about the day 'it' finally happens. Jesus sets a powerful example of starting with the end in mind. Hebrews 12:2 says, 'Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: the Cross, shame, whatever.' Do you know what happens when you focus on the end before you start? You build resilience against setbacks. So what if you've held the same goal for a decade? So what if three of your friends achieved it before you did? Today, let's stop giving ourselves permission to let these things matter. You might be in the midst of your journey, but with God, it's already finished."


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