What I Learned About Myself from a Donkey Named Flash

I am terrified of failing. My stomach starts to churn when I think about doing something wrong, or not good enough. My fear of failure is something I struggle with on a daily basis, and I’m working through it.

So many times, I feel like I have passed up on opportunities, simply because I don’t want to fail. I don’t want look foolish.

Maybe you’ve felt the same way at times.

I remember one time, quite recently, when my friend asked if I wanted to be on her team for a volleyball tournament. Thoughts swirled through my mind. What if I ruin the team’s chance of winning? What if I let the whole team down? I swallowed the lump in my throat, and declined.

Goodness, even right now as I write this, I’m scared to disappoint my readers, or not write this post to their liking.

Sigh. I wonder, though, if my fear of failure has kept me from doing amazing things. If it’s kept me from making amazing memories, or forging new relationships, or learning life lessons.

This reminds me of the book, “Flash”, written by Rachel Anne Ridge. It tells the story of a family whose life is turned upside down by the unexpected arrival of a donkey into their family. Named Flash, the donkey teaches the Ridges about life, faith, and second chances.

"Flash" by Rachel Anne Ridge

Now, one day, some horses wandered onto the Ridge’s property, so the horses were put in Flash’s pasture for the time being. The horses galloped and reared and kicked, and Flash joined them. He could have played it safe and stayed with his boring cow friends, but he took a chance. He took on the risk of failure, or making a fool of himself, and ran with the horses.

As Rachel says, “Flash was changed… He held his head higher… And all because he’d run with horses. It was as though he had suddenly realized his own greatness. As if someone had told him that donkeys and horses were nearly identical in genetic makeup. That they shared the same chromosomes– sixty-two of them, in fact. The only difference between donkeys and horses is an extra set of two chromosomes that horses carry.”

She goes on to say that maybe until Flash ran with the horses, he may have just been focusing on the two chromosomes he lacked, rather than the sixty-two he already had. Maybe he didn’t know he already had all the chromosomes he needed to be a great donkey.

Is it ever like that for us? Do we focus on the things we lack, instead of focusing on what we already possess? Do you put yourself down because of your lack of speaking skills, even though you’re gifted with the ability to write? Do you tell yourself that you can’t do anything, because you can’t run a marathon, although you have an amazing gift in art?

I know I do that. I’ve thought of myself as useless because I couldn’t spike a volleyball, or cook a nice meal without burning it, or get the most play-time in basketball. And when I put my focus on what I’m not gifted in, I forget what God has gifted me in. I forget that God has already given me all the gifts I need to be a wonderful Lydia.

But wouldn’t it be so boring if everybody had the same gifts? If everybody was good at writing, and there was nobody to enjoy reading the blog posts, and the books? Or if everybody could sink a half court shot on the basketball court, but there was nobody to cook food for the game?

Even if I’m not gifted in certain areas, I don’t want my fear of failure to keep me from doing big things!

Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from trying.

(You can buy “Flash” by clicking here.)

Don't let the fear of failure keep you from trying.

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8 thoughts on “What I Learned About Myself from a Donkey Named Flash

  1. Lydia, I love this post! You made me cry. I wish I’d learned this lesson early on in life…I know I would have done many things differently! I’m glad Flash came along when he did so I could learn from his example. I think the lessons have probably always been there, but I was too busy or preoccupied to notice. Running with horses is one of those pictures I’ll never forget! “The heart of a thoroughbred in the frame of a shaggy donkey.” Like you, I’m learning to take some risks and not let fear have the last word. What adventures await when we say YES!

    Thank you for sharing about Flash. You have a wonderful way with words….what a gift. Blessings!

    • Thanks you so much, Rachel! I’m so glad God put Flash in your life, and I praise God for you and your amazing book. It has touched me so much, and I was just trying to share a bit of what touched my heart. Thanks again Rachel, and God’s blessings to you!

  2. Lydia, I had an elderly friend who had to move from her home into a retirement home at the age of 90. She was very upset; however, they offered a wide range of things to do & she took part in many of them. She told me “Don’t ever think you can’t teach an old dog new things” She was amazing as I’m sure you are!

  3. Great, awesome post, Lydia! Failure is never a fun thing, but we do need to fail once in awhile to help us learn. Besides, about you fearing about this post, don’t worry! If it’s something God told you to write, then write it! My only real fear when writing a post is when I write it too late and I can’t make it as good as I hoped it would be.
    Anyways, it’s good to try new things, for if we never try new things, then we won’t learn new things!
    Wish I had more to say. I’ll pass up on the opportunity to ramble on.
    God bless!
    Oh, I want to say that (not only that you are quite wise, but) I have talents. As I am typing up another comment, I am saying that “I comment for fun (if you know what I mean), I blog for fun, I love editing pictures and editing audio/video! They are gifs (pun intended) that God gave me! And I enjoy most of them! One thing I love to do is music, which I’m not so good at. But I like to sing and make a joyful noise unto the Lord!”
    So, I wouldn’t try to be so scared to try new things. Because I tried to, now I love to edit audio and video! And I’m not that great at music, but I like doing it and I might be able to do it one day!
    So, don’t fear. Trust in the Lord and he will show you to green pastures of peace!
    God bless! (So, I did ramble, after all!)

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