Artwork by Julie Chen. Visit her gallery here.
With the arrival of the winter months, there are all sorts of ailments floating around including colds, the flu, and “buyer’s remorse.” You may (or may not) have avoided all these, but as 2013 looms large and your goals and resolutions taunt, there is a more sinister ailment lurking. I call it Tryer’s Remorse.
Perhaps a definition of terms is in order.
Tryer’s Remorse: The negative, regretful feeling experienced after having exerted great effort, yet still falling short of one’s expectation. Often expressed with disgust or embarrassment by the words, “I will NEVER do that again!”
I had my first bout of Tryer’s Remorse at cheerleading camp my senior year of high school.
All week we had been instructed in the finer points of voice projection, straight extended limbs, starched smiles, and various airborne bodily contortions called “jumps”—which purportedly increased crowd volume and school spirit.
On the second-to-last day a most coveted opportunity was extended to the entire camp—the chance to audition for the National Cheerleading Association’s entourage for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Excitement! Distinction! Prestige!
It was all so dazzling to this average, small-town cheerleader. I strained to hear the audition details but was repeatedly distracted. My mind was filled with visions of giant Snoopy and Garfield balloons clearing the way for me…I mean for us…through the streets of New York City.
I thought I had a chance—a good chance—to make the squad. So, bolstered by the squealing encouragement of my fellow cheerleaders, I signed up for the audition.
After rehearsing the prescribed cheer 259 times in less than 24 hours, I strode to the front of the gym for my audition.
With my polyester sweater soaked in nervous perspiration and my partially digested lunch threatening to make an appearance, I performed the cheer then skipped to the sidelines with my bobbing ponytail patting me on the back.
My fellow cheerleaders received me with giddy high-fives and a blast of “spirit fingers.” And I just got sweatier as I tried to downplay my utter excitement!
The next day the results were posted for the entire camp, and my entire squad, to see.
My name was not on the list.
And I suffered a long bout of Tryer’s Remorse.
I will NEVER try again! How humiliating!
I shouldn’t have even tried!
I doubt anyone else thought about it for a nanosecond, but I spent the better part of that summer berating myself for even trying.
Later that year, after Tryer’s Remorse had metastasized into a paralyzing fear of failure, I found a quote which I inscribed in purple ink on the fly pages of my pink “leather” Bible:
My greatest fear is not that I will fail, but that I will succeed in something that doesn’t really matter.
~Wycliffe Bible Translator, William Townsend
Those words were a welcome salve for the injuries of Tryer’s Remorse. They also served as a guidepost to help me determine what was worth trying, even if it meant failing.
Tryer’s Remorse still occasionally raises its ugly head. Visions of giant Snoopy and Garfield balloons taunt me as they make way for the parade of my past failures.
And it’s true that sometimes I have failed at things that don’t matter—like making the NCA cheer squad.
And sometimes I have failed at things that matter. That would be devastating if not for grace.
But sometimes, by God’s grace, I have succeeded at what matters.
And when that happens, all glory goes to Him for giving me the courage to try.
Do you suffer from Tryer’s Remorse? What is one thing you believe is worth trying in 2013?
By Shauna Letellier, Permission to be RealLeave a Comment
It can be so exhausting carrying around that bag of tryers remorse.
I know…exhausting and stressful! So thankful Jesus loves us so much he volunteered to carry it for us! Cast it on Him, Friend. He cares for you!
Yvonne Templeton says
Thank you Shauna for your words of encouragement. Tryers remorse happens to all of us but it is what we do with those “failures” that really matter. Having come from a home with an alcoholic father and experiencing lesser words of encouragement from him, it has taken me most of my adult life to get over thinking that I am a failure and to truly rely on the words and promises that I am a child of the King and He has written my destiny. And although there have been failures along the way, He has always picked me up and kept me going. As a pastor’s wife, I have been given an opportunity to impart His grace to both youth and adults over the past 40 years of ministry. Blessings on you!
Thanks for sharing, Yvonne. Failures and circumstances can leave unforgettable scars, but God gives beauty for ashes in order to display His splendor! Thanks for using your story for His glory!!
I can totally relate to your cheer leading story, and school choir and the school musical. For a long time, I didn’t put myself out there for fear of failure. I’ve been living by the Good, Better, Best ideal lately. There are a lot of ‘Good’ things out there to try and do and accomplish, but I’m striving to put all my energy into the Best. No more tryer’s remorse for me. (Well, I’m trying anyway).
Oh Lisa! Choir, musical…I’m breaking out in hives! Fear offers paralysis. Effort offers growth! Thanks be to God that His love drives out fear!!
Thank you for the encouragement this morning! It seems that our enemy has been prowling around this week and seeking to devour us. There have been so many posts about dark places, doubts, fears…but everywhere I look including here in your beautiful post – God’s people are pressing into relationship with Him and each other instead of shrinking away! Praise His Holy Name! I love the way you framed this fear of failure – it can be all consuming but I too want to keep my focus on succeeding by HIS power in what matters.
Vickie, I agree! The enemy seems to amp up his efforts when we tenuously obey in faith. I think the key is to ask the Lord to contend for us and to keep in mind that what appears to be a failure to US may just be a stepping stone toward knowing Him more intimately!
Jessica Bates says
Tryer’s Remorse has now been added to my vocabulary. I’m a chronic sufferer!
Just last night I was paralyzed by fear of failure and judgement. So often it forces me into hibernation (which I wrote about today at our blog), and freezes my ability to do anything, let alone do anything constructive or follow God. I’m learning that my failings and fallings are not only what give me opportunity to learn, but also the very thing that connects people at that heart level. Because we all fail. Thank you for talking about it and sharing your heart. God has used you today!
Jessica, I hear ya on the fear induced hibernation!!! I heartily agree that our failures have the potential to be a guide pointing us toward Jesus–toward forgiveness, grace and comfort!
Thank you for your words today Shauna. I had almost had myself convinced that I should not take my husband on a surprise snowboarding trip. He is an amazing snowboarder and has sacrificed going the last couple of years to focus on our marriage and children. I felt compelled to gift him this weekend with a getaway for the two of us to go boarding, however, I have hard time walking let alone learning a new sport 🙂 So with the weekend fast approaching my fear has been escalating, and my list of excuses has grown extensive! Your post today helped put things into perspective. Blessing my husband this weekend is worth it even if I look like a fool out there. Thank you for reminding me to take myself off of the pedestal and letting Gods love shine.
Oh Michelle! That is a beautiful gift! Just goes to show that love begets love! I hope you have a radical trip (isn’t that a good snowboarding word? : ) And if you end up with a wet and bruised behind, so be it! I bet your hubby is gonna be thrilled! I’d love to see his face when you break the news : )
Tryer’s remorse is a big hurdle for me.
My biggest goal’s worth trying are:
Putting myself out thee to do things with friends, not just talking to them at work.
putting more of my time into DOing with family not just talking, but walking the walk.
AND writing the children’s books that I have great ideas for.
Lisa, I hope you find the time and courage to do all three! Any effort aimed at glorifying God and loving the people He places in our lives is never wasted.
I live with chronic tryer’s remorse…telling myself ‘I should have known better’ when I’ve put myself out there, and then have to live with the haunting comments others make…
I keep telling myself to stop trying…and then I go and do it again…and sometimes, it seems like it’s okay…but with time, I find out otherwise.
Is it possible that some of us were just meant for that self-imposed hibernation? That maybe the secret prayer is worth more than sending an encouragement card? Can one be a silent cheerleader and never speak up to express a compliment?
Maybe, I’m just not strong enough to continue to be a tryer…
I wonder if perhaps you’re measuring the success or failure of your efforts based on the responses and remarks of others? In my silly example, I surely did that. But if your efforts are from a pure heart and aimed at glorifying God, they are never a failure, regardless of another person’s response.
I do not think Christ calls us to continuous self-imposed isolation. Although intervals of solitude are necessary, we’re also meant for community–Jesus set the example for us. As to a secret prayer or encouragement card, God looks upon your heart. If your heart’s desire is to point others toward Christ, both are of infinite worth. Ask Jesus to give you the courage to try whatever HE asks of you.
Beth Williams says
I never had tryer’s remorse as a young person, because I simply didn’t try much. I was shy and not outgoing at all–more of a reclouse.
As I get older I find trying things for His glory quite rewarding–even if I should fail or not do it to my satisfaction.