Live Comfortably or Risk Failing Gloriously?


photo credit: Chris Devers via photopin cc

I teach several classes at a Christian University and one of them is a “Welcome to College” type course. In it students learn about time management, study skills, and how their personalities and faith will need to be integrated to make college successful.

One of their assignments was to read a passage on Life Stages and write a journal reflection on where they thought they were at. One student’s journal hit me between the eyes as I think it reflects many more people than we’d like to think.

“At 41 years of age working for the State of California for 12 years, married for 13 years, and 3 children later, I still ask myself am I on the right career path. No, I’m not on the right career path. I am not happy in my job, but if I want to make the best of my career choices, I need to obtain a degree to move up the corporate ladder.  Making my commitment to stay working for the State till retirement age is a must for long term financial goals. There is a reality that I have had to accept I will probably never have my dream job, but to have a job that pays well…” 

 What kind of a life is this? What is this person living for other than the ability to die in comfort?

This breaks my heart. It saddens me deeply.

Why? Because I was this person once. 

Now that I’ve been unleashed from those chains and have experienced the exhilaration of life lived on purpose, I’m crushed when people give up on a dream or settle for less. Even worse is when they are willing to sacrifice time and money to stay stuck.

This also reminds me how important being debt free is as well. In losing those chains, came the financial freedom to pursue more out of this life.

The reality is many people I know are in the same boat as this student. These are the people who stay in the boat and ride the waves no matter how bored, sea sick, or unhappy they become. These people aren’t willing, no matter what, to take a step of faith and get out of the boat. Please don’t let this be you!

We were not created to live a comfortable life.

We were not created to carve out a cozy spot to die. Tweet That

We only get one shot at life and the count down clock is tickingTweet That

So I beg you…dream big dreams people. If you don’t have dreams ask God what His dreams are for you. Trust me, an adventure awaits when you are willing to take just one step towards the journey He’s calling you to.

“If you’re going to risk and maybe fail, fail at something that matters. Fail gloriously so that even in failure, lives change.”  ― Jon Acuff


Don’t settle for safe and comfortable when just 30 seconds of courage and bold faith could open the doors to an amazing adventure. An adventure in which every day is filled with God’s crazy and uncomprehendible presence. 

Who wants the story of their life to have a predictable ending? Not me!

Who wants to live the dream even if they fail gloriously? ME!

How do we inspire those who are willing to settle? OR What does failing gloriously look like to you?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • judith heaney

    How extremely heart wrenching to discover that someone who has gone back to school is only hoping to advance in a career that is unfulfilling.

    I grew up with that idea – you have to get a good job, and a good job was one that had good benefits and job security and a good income. Then, when you retired, you can pursue things that you want to do.

    I never really accepted that version of reality. But choosing to live out the dream, as you said, brings quite a bit of risk, doesn’t it?

    Even God says that work is something we were designed to enjoy, and I think that happens when you are following the desires of your heart that come from God’s plans and good works that he designed for each of us.

    I want to be a collaborator with God. I want to step out of the boat when he says, “It’s me, come on.”

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts today.

    • Shelly Tiffin

      I love “I want to be a collaborator with God!”

  • Steve Tessler

    Awesome post! It is sad that people think that they need to stay where it’s safe.
    I am working on getting out of this rut myself.

    • Shelly Tiffin

      It’s a hard place to leave for sure. Having faith isn’t easy.

  • DeAndra Buchanan

    I think the real question we all need to ask ourselves when it comes to the “live comfortably” or “risk it” point of view (in the context of this blog) is “What is the purpose of what I am doing this job for?” I think you’ve talked about this before, as I know other bloggers have, but the problem to me is that there are many logical steps to take before you jump ship, and too many people just jump off the ship with no life support.
    You mention Jon Acuff: His book Quitter really hit home with me because people need to learn from other lessons of the failures, listen to advice, write things out, etc. That is why I think they fail.
    Success and failure are a point of view, not a destination.

    • Shelly Tiffin

      I agree that success and failure are opinions. And yes, as John says we don’t just jump ship. I haven’t. In fact I find great purpose in my day job, but I’ve been called to even more. I’m just trying to encourage people to do that: find fulfillment in what they do. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate them.