For the past fortnight, I have been attempting to write a blog article. Around Christmas time, I thought of writing one about the real meaning of Christmas. It was going to look at how, even though we often like to think of Christmas as all about family or laughter or fun, without one particular family, none of it would even be here. Without Christ, Christmas is just a meaningless mass.
But, by the time I found a minute, it was pretty much New Year, so I wanted to write a New Year article, especially after the inspiring experience of going to the memorial service of Pastor Mike Everson – a man who made such a difference in the lives of so many. So, around New Year, I wanted to inspire people that, with the right vision, life can be about so much more than just what we can get or the businesses we can build. With the right focus, the right friends and the right purpose, we can live lives that outlast us and build something that is bigger than we could ever be.
As you might have guessed, that one didn’t get written either. So, yesterday, I typed out a nice article on finding a reason for all your New Year’s Resolutions. It was supposed to demonstrate that change for the sake of change will never work. For change to stick, for us to grow there has to be a bigger picture. We need to be like smart drivers who turn on their GPS and are able to start their journey with a destination already in mind. Sure, traffic might slow them down and they might need a few detours but they still know where they are heading. Without a God-given vision, people cast off restraint (Proverbs 29: 18). Or, to put it another way, unless you know where you are going, you’re doomed to go round in circles.
Maybe, if I had thought hard enough, I could have written a nice article on translation or interpreting. I could have told you all about how interpreting is a kind of performance or on how translators, researchers and clients and work together so that each can bring their skills to the table and build something amazing. But, as you have probably guessed by now, I didn’t.
So, is article just an apology for not writing other articles? Is it a clever ploy to get you to do all the thinking while I just run off half-baked ideas and half-finished projects? Well, it could be.
On the other hand, it could be about more than that. This article, like the research ideas I have tried and rejected (or had someone else reject for me) this year might actually be saying much more than “here’s some stuff that didn’t work quite like I planned.”
Maybe, just maybe, this article is trying to tell me and might inspire you to see failure differently. John Maxwell, one of my favourite authors, wrote a book called Failing Forward. His main point was that the difference between successful people and those who don’t succeed isn’t that successful people fail less but that they deal better with failure. For them, even what looks devastating at first sight ends up becoming a vital step on the road to being all they could be. Successful people, he suggests, have learned not to fear failure but to learn from it and, vitally, to get back up.
If you are reading this and you are a new translator, you might think that all your biggest failures and mistakes are already gone. If only that were true. Since I graduated I have lost a client, messed up work (accidentally), received more rejection emails and letters and had to deal with more frustration than I would have liked!
But, do you know what 2010 taught me? No matter what happens, get back up again. The world changes and we have to change with it. Those who are ready to change and ready to learn already have a head start. They can hear God’s voice in the times of plenty and the times of less. They can follow God’s ways, even when they don’t make sense. What about you? This year, will you try new things, take new risks and embrace the good and the bad? Will this year be the year when you get up and push forward? It’s up to you.
Dear brothers and sisters when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.