I got a call one day. The voice on the other end said something like; “We really like your voice. We want you to be on our TV show.”
I am a small town girl from Michigan who just figured out how to do her hair and dress in a way that she doesn’t have to be embarrassed when looking back at pictures of herself.
And….I’m going to be on TV????
So over the next couple months, I made it through the many rounds of auditions, and even a few rounds of the TV show. I found myself standing next to the stage again, where I was about to go out and sing in front of approximately ten million viewers.
When it comes to being nervous, I found there are levels. There’s the “I’m kinda nervous” level, the “I’m really nervous” level, and the “I’m about to crap myself” level.
It was that one.
So I walk out onto the stage putting on an incredibly confident face, and begin my song.
Well, I’m nearing the end of the song… and the wall is still down. This isn’t how I played it out in my head.
I finish the song and the wall never went up.
And not only did it not go up…I saw the percentage of people who voted “yes”.
Thirty one percent of people thought I was good enough, talented enough, worth it enough to click the yes button on their phone. Which meant 69% did not.
And what’s worse than failing in front of ten million viewers, is walking through the tiny door they open in the big wall that never came up for me, and putting on a smile to talk to the celebrity judges about why I wasn’t good enough. The whole world watching how I will deal with my failure.
I didn’t sleep well for weeks.
And when I did sleep, the waking up part reminded me that I had to live with my humiliation. I was filled with regret, and my mind was tumultuous with everything that I did wrong.
“I picked the wrong song. I didn’t sing well. And now whenever anyone looks up my name, the first thing they’ll find is a bunch of videos of me not only losing, but not singing well. My whole town in Michigan and all my friends in Los Angeles were rooting for me, and I’ve let them down. I’ve disappointed everyone. My shot of going anywhere with my music is over…”
These thoughts filled my head for months….and months.
Two years later, as I write this, I still have to fight some of these thoughts. And two years later, those videos of me singing poorly in front of millions of people are still the first thing you’ll find when you look me up.
And you know what?
That is okay.
I heard an amazing lady named Danielle Strickland speak recently. She talked about how people so often try to be Hercules. A “never let them see you bleed” type of person, working ridiculously hard to keep a reputation that makes us look amazing, strong, and perfect.
I’ve always secretly wanted to be perfect; wanted to be seen in a way that no one could ever find something bad to talk about, or something to be disappointed in. I’ve always wanted to be someone that succeeded at everything I tried; someone that never let anyone down, including myself.
But then, there’s Jesus.
He bled in front of everyone. His reputation as King of Kings and Savior of the World was shattered on a cross for everyone to see. He willingly and publicly ‘failed’ in a way that would make history.
And that became one of the most important parts of His story. Without that part, the rest wouldn’t matter.
My failure made me die to myself that day…and continue to die over and over.
In the best way.
I died to needing to be perfect, because now millions of people know that I’m not.
I died to succeeding at everything I do, because there are videos proving that I didn’t.
I died to trying to have a reputation and a name for myself, because now, to some people, my name is simply ‘the girl that got kicked off that show’.
But you know what is cool? I’m so glad I failed.
Because sometimes trying to upkeep a ‘reputation’ of being great is exactly where we miss what we are purposed to do. The bible says over and over that God finds delight in humility. And when my need for ‘Megan to be awesome’ is out of the way, He can use me so much more effectively by His power at work through me.
I’m not perfect, and failure is part of my story, and a necessary part of where I’m going.
We don’t need to take the failure out of our story. We don’t need to appear perfect, because we’re never going to be.
And that’s okay.
Failure really is the best long-term success we can have because from failure comes endurance, endurance develops strength of character, and character gives us hope. (Romans 5:3-5)
Two years later, as I write this, I have hope. This blip of disappointment has allowed God to grow my character into something that He can use more powerfully than before; into someone that sees the beauty of imperfection. It has taught me some really important things about humility, and how as I die to my need to be perfect, I become more fully alive in the perfection of Jesus. And I have hope that the way God shaped me through this experience has enabled me to walk even more fully and mightily into the purpose He created me for.
So have hope, my friends. Because when you fail, it’s okay. Let it be a part of your story. Let it grow your character and mold you into who you are meant to be. Let it lead you further into the purpose He has for you.
In fact, I dare you to fail.
And I can’t wait to see who you become.