As Bethesda Workshops contemplated the purchase of a building, I found it important to lean into the doubt about the wisdom of that decision. Exploring the potential of a significant decision or situation offers a reality check for unbridled optimism.


I learned a process for exploring the doubt through a sweet “coincidence” when I picked up a popular women’s magazine in a waiting room and idly skimmed an interview with a media star. The woman definitely has much more depth than her TV persona displays. She described three questions she considered in making a decision to leave her reality show.


First, What happens if you succeed? The answer should align with your vision and objectives. If it doesn’t, there’s no reason to move forward in that direction. Next, What happens if you fail? Ah, that one is more illuminating. In our case failure looked like being unable to raise the money to pay off the building loan and service the debt through that process. I realized my biggest fear of failing was what others might think. I feared I’ll be judged for a perceived fiscally unsound decision. I equally realized that kind of fear is an unhealthy motivation for an important decision. “What will people think??” is one of my core trauma egg messages as it represented the high value my family put on appearances.


The logical answer is that if Bethesda Workshops is unable to pay for the building, that failure will be a significant setback and will cost us a weighty amount of money. A sad, regrettable, disappointing outcome for sure. But not shattering or tragic. We could regroup and downsize and return to meeting in hotels or donated space – the very options that had worked for several years.


The third question is, What happens if you don’t try? That possibility was as clarifying as my friend’s observation that Satan doesn’t tempt us to do something that will glorify God. My immediate answer was, “I’ll feel totally sick! It will be like going back to the slavery of Egypt when we’re standing at the edge of the Promised Land!” In a flash in the middle of a board of directors meeting, I was in tears. God’s invitation to freedom and the fulfillment of the vision God had birthed in us was undeniably compelling. Everything within me said, “YES! We will move forward in faith!”


Deciding to buy a building for Bethesda Workshops definitely took us out of our comfort zone, even though it was something we had wanted for a long time. We are financially secure where we are and comfortable in that security. Comfortable can easily become complacency, and even stagnation.


Facing your fears and asking the right questions helps when you’re taking a big risk to step out in faith.


Marnie C. Ferree