Daring Greatly sometimes means you just flat out get beat. And I hate losing.

It has been almost 3 weeks since the North Texas State Finals at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth for the Texaco Country Showdown, and I thought it was important to highlight not just the “rah-rahs” of the “Go Get ‘Em-Yeaaaah!!!” in a life aimed at daring greatly, but also the inevitable losses and failures that you experience more frequently in your life as a direct result of doing and trying MORE. 

I went into that competition at Billy Bob’s confident that I was in the right place, I was ready, and believing that God was going to honor my efforts to “dare greatly”, even though I hate competitions and things of this nature. Now, I’m not saying that He did not honor my efforts, or that that was not where I was supposed to be, but in the end, it did NOT in fact, result in the glorious victory I was hoping for. :) Hah! Now, I am extremely proud of the performance Ryan and I were able to give, simply because I did not throw up on the audience or wet my pants out of sheer fear and nervousness, but we also managed to have a good time and sounded pretty darn good if I do say so myself. 

We came in second place, and a very talented woman and her husband took first place to advance on to the regional finals in New Mexico. They were wonderful and they are extremely gifted- but that didn’t make me fell any better about losing. I am a rather competitive person, and although it doesn’t come up a lot in every day life (or so I think), I have unfortunately been known to lose my cool while playing a heated tennis match with my husband, and flat out throw my racket into the fence. I know- it is not pretty, and I am not proud of this. But I’m trying to be honest here.

Losing is bad enough, but then the old tapes started playing in my head again that had convinced me to sit on the bench of life for 30 years… “You should’ve known… Why would you put yourself out there like this? You just lost in front of EVERYONE!!! ….. If you were better you would’ve won…. Things like this are so subjective, you were a fool to think you could use them to help your career in any way… You were too much for the judges- they like pretty female songs, not ones with attitude!” Blah blah blah… And I have to tell you, those voices won out in my head for a good 3 days. The whole IDEA of daring greatlysounds awesome to those with passion… 

"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again,

because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…” T.R. 

Yes- that sounds fantastic, and passionate, and the kind of things that legacies are built on… but that whole striving valiantly, erring, coming up short again and again…. Let me tell ya, It can sting your soul like a giant yellow jacket sting on your upper lip, zings like you would not believe, the first few times. Sweet Mercy. Your face swells up, you have a hard time talking, and you’re embarrassed for people to see your wound! 

It’s not that I thought erring and falling short wasn’t an option, but it’s amazing how convincing those old gremlin voices and tapes are when you’re still smarting from a sting to your psyche. Gratefully, I have some of the most incredible women that walk this planet, that I get to call my friends. My phone was immediately filled with true, loving, and faith filled text messages that reminded me that I have nothing to be ashamed of, that they see and applaud my courage, and they are cheering me on to be the very best that I can be… all the while, knowing that they too have smacked their faces in the mud a time or two. These women get to speak into my life, because they are IN the arena with me- fighting their own battles and fighting for me when I need them, and vice versa.

Lesson I learned early on- Never let someone sitting on the couch criticize and discourage your efforts. The women that rally me on and I them are there because we have earned that place in each other’s lives, and you must fight to protect your heart when the battle raging is fierce and deeply internal. But you must also fight to be known and to share with the right people… I believe it is a lifelong pursuit of health. 

So, as I tried to gather my shame, frustration, and pure irritation at losing so publicly, I began a page in my journal that simply said… “THINGS I CAN LEARN FROM THIS”…. It took me a while, but it is now filled with insight, some wisdom, and truth that I simply would not have had, had I sat on the bench and not competed. In fact, I felt like there was so much I learned that I could use it and do much better, that I re-entered the Texaco Country Showdown in South Texas, and just won a local division in Uvalde yesterday. I’m headed BACK to state finals, for Central Texas this time, on September 28th in Burnet, Texas. :) I may not win at this level, but I did really want a chance to apply what I had learned in the first round!!! 

I drew a lot of encouragement and strength from this truth that truly successful and healthy people EXPECT difficulties, hardships, and challenges.. if it was easy, everyone would do it. 

So here’s to the stings, bruises, heartbreaks, cuts, disappointments and broken bones of fighting in that arena, as well as those precious, brave ones we love who are in the arena with us. Life is too short to stay knocked down- dare greatly, give ‘em hell, and know when to give up for the day and just have a margarita. :)