Failure To Faith: This Writer Leaned On Her Faith & Words To Conquer Her Fear Of Failure

I realized I no longer have to look at my fears as a hindrance, but rather as a gift to become the best version of myself.

Fear of failure is something experienced by most of us at some point in our lives. But when we allow fear to stop our forward progress in life, we’re likely to miss some great opportunities along the way – opportunities to learn, grow and stretch ourselves to reach our fullest potential.

I’ve come to learn  that ultimately, the fear of failure is less about the thing itself. It actually has more to do with the shame and embarrassment that potentially awaits us if we don’t succeed in whatever endeavor we are undertaking at the time. How will you face your peers? How will you face your parents? How will you survive if you can’t get the job you’ve been preparing for academically for years?  Failing triggers a sense of worthlessness within us so we often try to avoid it like the plague, not realizing we’re actually sabotaging our chances for success in so many ways.

We got a chance to chat with Miatta Harris, a writer and author whose brush with fear of failure is likely familiar to all of us. She invited us into her world, where she gets vulnerable about how fear showed up in her journey, and how her faith in God and writing helped her triumph and keep moving forward. This is her story.

1. Introduce yourself and tell our readers a bit about who you are.

I’m Miatta, a 38 year old Liberian-American Poet, Author, and Educator. In my first teaching job, I was surrounded by emergent literacy. This is where my creative writing skills began. I often foster creativity with my students through the arts, whether it is through dance, song, or poetry. Teaching is my natural gift; I later discovered that it is also my spiritual gift. Faced with many trials and obstacles, writing became my only outlet. My writing initially began as a therapeutic tool and outlet for me. Now I view my writing as a tool to encourage and empower other people. I write my poems from a standpoint of strength, resilience, peace, perseverance, and self-love. The challenges I encountered in my adulthood have strengthened my desires as a writer. My story is one of advocacy for looking inward and upward for fulfillment. I am the author of a children’s book entitled, “Dede, the Baby Circus Elephant” and a faith-based self-help book entitled, “Walk Confidently into your New Season: A Guide to Build your Spiritual and Mental Muscles.” I often perform my poems at various open mic venues throughout the Baltimore and Washington, DC Metropolitan areas. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Teaching. I am a resident of Maryland.

2. Before we can become the women we were created to be, a spiritual journey of self-discovery and healing oftentimes requires that we say “goodbye” to the women we once were to make room for our becoming. Tell us a bit about who Miatta was before the journey and the person you had to say goodbye to.

I was trying so hard to live up to the checklist that I had created for myself since I was 12 years old. From becoming an educator, to attending an HBCU and even to having a child and/or getting married between 25-30, I had a plan. But as life would have it, not everything turned out according to my plan. I had placed a lot of pressure on myself to have it all together by the age of 30. In 2013 when I was 28 and in the beginning of my journey, I started to question if my decision to become an educator was the career that I truly wanted to have for the rest of my life. While I loved teaching, it wasn’t happening for me in the way I envisioned.

At a time when I felt I was supposed to be thriving like my friends were, I had to take on lower paying substitute teaching jobs at schools with toxic work environments that did not require teaching certificates after I failed the state teacher certification exam several times. My dissatisfaction in my work life led to constant struggles with anxiety and financial instability which resulted in losing my apartment, car repossession and going into default on a student loan – all before the age of 30. I was embarrassed and ashamed of where I was in life in my late twenties-early thirties. I had developed the spirit of comparison, lost my confidence and my drive. I honestly didn’t feel like I was good enough to have the career that I always dreamt about or even the husband that I had been praying and waiting for.

I felt isolated and alone. No one seemed to understand what I was going through, and rather than being embraced and supported by the few people I tried to open up to, I was often dismissed and made to feel that my experiences were not valid or a big deal. Turning to writing was the only thing that allowed me to feel safe and free. This was the tipping point in my journey. I knew I had to start putting in extra work towards my healing to break free from the fears, anxiety, and negative self-talk that were holding me back from the woman I was meant to be.

3. What was happening in your life that brought you here on this journey? 

When I first started my journey in 2013, I definitely had a spiritual awakening. Although, if I am being honest, at the time I wasn’t too familiar with what the term “spiritual awakening” truly meant. All I know is that it felt like I was having a nervous breakdown/panic attack. I knew that something was wrong. I think I was so used to holding it all together, that I just broke down in tears right in my car while driving home from work one day. I was experiencing migraine headaches and even remember a piece I had written during this time called “Scared to be what I’m meant to be” that I shared during my very first appointment with a therapist. Ever since 2013, I have been feeling very unsettled in my spirit, like I should be making an impact, making a difference, feeling valued and important in my job and community. I constantly felt like something was missing in my life. I realize I am missing something. I’ve been yearning for more joy, peace, and fulfillment. I know that there is a seat for me in God’s kingdom and He wants all of His children to experience peace, abundance, and joy. So, why would I believe that this would not apply to me, too?

4. What has been the most testing and difficult challenge(s) you have encountered on your journey and how did you overcome them?

In one word – FAILURE. Failing the state teacher certification exam multiple times was really difficult for me. So much was at stake with the exam. The only way I could go from substitute teacher to full time teacher at a better school was through this exam. The only way I could re-enroll in the graduate school program in which I had to dropped out of in 2013 was through this exam. My entire teaching career was riding on this exam.

Because I didn’t have the proper skills and tools to cope, my fear of failing controlled me and showed up in my life in the form of severe test anxiety every time I took the certification exam. This derailed my confidence in my abilities, degraded my self-worth and set me back even further in my pursuit of becoming a certified teacher and pursuing other goals. My fear of failure had a death grip on me. In the immediate term, I worked in alternative school settings as a substitute teacher and finally secured a more promising opportunity as a public school teacher for a school that granted me a one-year conditional license until I passed the state exam. But when the 2nd year to teach at the public school came around, I still had not passed the state exam.

Feeling defeated and unable to picture myself losing my job, I knew I had to do something different. I prayed and fasted for 30 days, but this time I changed my prayer. Instead of just praying my usual prayer to “pass my test”, I prayed for God to remove whatever was hindering me from passing my test. He heard my prayer and on June 25, 2017 I officially passed the state teacher certification exam. I later went on to re-enroll in graduate school, obtain a salary increase as if I already had my master’s degree and received a leadership role at work.

5. What hard lessons and insights has life been teaching you on your journey?

This is something that I am still learning about myself while living and growing through my journey. However, while being on my journey, I do not call anything a mistake. I call every experience a “life lesson”. I have come to understand that when there are lessons God wants me to learn, if I have not learned the lesson, it feels like I have situations that are recurring circumstances in my life. I feel like subconsciously, I keep repeating the same cycle of negative thinking patterns, because that’s what is familiar to me. What God is doing now in my life is not always known to me at the time, but I know I am being stretched outside of my comfort zone. I’m working on getting out of my own way so I can stop fighting and resisting the new things that God is building and preparing for me.

6. How has your journey inspired your purpose?

This sounds like a cliche but I feel that my pain will turn into purpose.  I really feel like God is still working on me and going to turn my pain into purpose so that I can help others heal. Now almost 9 years later, I am learning, growing, falling, getting back up, and starting over again. In 2020, I realized I no longer have to look at my fears as a hindrance, but rather as a gift to become the best version of myself. Since then, I’ve given myself permission to completely shift, to only be in places that invite peace and joy to my life and that aligns with my overall well-being. I no longer feed my fears, and have made the choice to focus more on my peace – peace of mind, body and spirit. It’s not an overnight fix, so I continue to lean on my faith in God and pray that He  renews my mind and heart daily.

7. How have you been able to hold space for yourself?

I have been able to hold space for myself through my writing. My writing is very spirit led. I am big on reading devotionals and oftentimes, the devotionals lead me to self-reflect and journal. Many of the poems I write are derived from my journaling. In the summer of 2021, I discovered that my writing is my happy place.

8. Could you touch on the importance of holistic self-care on your journey and some things you do to practice self care for your mind/body/spirit?

Our schedules can be demanding. They drain our physical, mental, and spiritual life. God did not intend for His children to always be on ‘the go’. I believe His plans for us include times of rest and relaxation in our schedule. If God and his disciples needed rest, so do we. As I get older, it’s important to have a healthy, balanced life. I’m learning on my journey that consistent self-care is so essential. Self- care will look different for everyone. Self-care activities that work for me in particular are writing, praying, resting, listening to music and dancing mainly to afrobeats and reggae dancehall, and light exercise.

9. People are finally starting to be more vocal about getting help and seeking out support from therapists, life coaches and other wellness professionals to achieve more optimal levels of well-being. Did you work with any specific type of wellness professional on your journey? If so, tell us what the experience was like, how it helped you, and any advice you have for someone who is reluctant or doesn’t think a professional could help them.

My  journey of healing has been very private. It was not until March 2020, that I became more vocal and public about my journey. In the beginning of my journey back in 2013, I did go see a therapist. I had 1 or 2 sessions with her. She told me that writing is a therapeutic tool for me to cope with my losses, my pains, and everything else I was going through. She encouraged me to write which turned into a form of therapy for me. I did not have the financial means to continue with the therapy sessions and at that particular time, I was unaware of my healthcare coverage on therapy. However, in 2014, I met a life coach who was amenable to my financial situation and I worked with him for about 9-10 months. He helped me tremendously. He introduced me to the healing practice of meditation and helped me gain confidence to keep moving forward even in times I was experiencing fear. I have also done some healing work with a Christian Counselor.

I certainly experienced the benefits of working with a professional and would encourage women to seek out help from professionals and not be embarrassed if they’ve spoken to one. We need to change the stigma when it comes to therapy and asking for help in the African-American community. When I look back on my journey, I realize my family, friends, and people in my church were not always in the position nor equipped to provide me with the type of support and advice I needed for what I was going through. With this awareness, I can empathize a bit more and know that’s most likely why they brushed me off and dismissed what I was going through. You have to understand that even the people you want to be there for you, can’t always be there, but it’s your responsibility to find support in spaces and from people who can. Professionals are oftentimes the better solution and should be sought out if you are in a position to work with one.

10. What does freedom look and feel like for you?

Good question. I’m still defining what freedom is for me, how it should look and feel like for me. All I have had is  social media, which is good at showing people living their best lives, going on vacations, sharing life that looks like roses all the time. But social media is not a realistic depiction of freedom. Freedom is a work in progress for me. This past summer, I feel like I’ve experienced how to truly rest. Resting for me is not just going to sleep. In the beginning of my journey, that is exactly how I would’ve defined rest. But rest now means resting from self-sabotaging thoughts, resting from anything that’s triggering stress, fear, and anxiety often, and resting from anything that is opposite of the direction I know God is taking my life.

11. How would you say embarking on your self-discovery and healing journey has changed you?

Embarking on my healing journey has definitely changed me. What I went through did not kill me, but it did change me. It changed my perspective and my thought process. It changed me internally. On my journey, I am being stretched out of my comfort zone. Being stretched is very uncomfortable. I now realize that being uncomfortable is a good thing and this is where your growth occurs. All of my growth is happening on the climb to reach my highest self. I already know what it feels like to fall, to fail, to give up on myself. I want to know what it feels like to bet on myself and to have a consistent positive and growth mindset. That is why I choose to focus on my personal development so I can continue to grow and go through my journey and discover what is waiting for me on the other side of my comfort zone.

12. Being vulnerable can be very difficult for people. What does it mean to you to be able to share parts of you that are so personal with the world now?

This is another great question. As I mentioned, much of my writing has been me writing about my trials and obstacles during my journey through journaling and poetry. Although I was going to open mics to share my writing pieces/poems I wasn’t posting about the experience on social media. It terrified me to think about someone recording me and being able to go back and listen to or read over my words at some point.  I was fearful of truly being seen. And if I am being completely honest, at the time I didn’t truly believe in the things that I was writing and speaking back in 2013-2016. But fast forward to the present, and I have been feeling a pull to go back on stage to share my poetry again  – not relying on and reading from a paper copy that always felt safer to have, in this new space of growth I am in, and this time from the heart.   My spirit said to me if I call myself a “poet” and “author” then how am I going to reach an audience if I continue to operate privately.  Being vulnerable has required me to own and step into my gift of being a writer and author.

I was so terrified to publish my faith-based self-help book Walk Confidently into Your New Season because it is so personal, but I did it anyway. And I still find myself dancing with fear from time to time, but I no longer allow it to paralyze me. Now when I am struggling with fear, I look to the acronym F.E.A.R. – Face Everything And Rise.  I choose to move forward despite my fear of the unknown and fear of being judged by others. It’s all about shifting my mindset as I continue on this journey. People have been receptive to my story. The more I share in spaces such as a book interview I participated in and now here on Healing Is The New Sexy, the more I am receiving feedback from other women about how relatable my story truly is.  My prayer is that my story will continue to resonate with more people and inspire them  to use their voice to share theirs.

So often I felt alone on this journey, but now I realize I am no longer alone and there are more women out there who relate and want to connect and support each other.

13. How has your journey influenced your present state of being and what you are looking forward to in the future?

During my journey, I have developed a strong faith. It’s helped me to  move with intention and an expectation of greatness for my life. When the ego-mind wants me to be distracted, unfocused and feeding into the lies, my heart/spirit feeds me with the truth. My faith is the reason I refuse to quit; I don’t want to live my life with what-ifs. What if I had listened and followed my spirit or God’s direction, then where would I be? I have fully surrendered and am allowing God to be the architect of my dreams. He’s rebuilding me one brick at a time.

I make the choice to move forward in my life with gratitude each day even if I don’t have all the answers because my spirit will guide me. I no longer stress myself out and overthink what steps I need to take. Everything I need to know is within me.

One of the spirit-led things I’m working on now that have been inspired by my journey and passion for education is a quarterly writer’s workshop entitled, Write it Out: Mind and Soul Therapeutic Expressions Workshop where I teach women how to use creative writing to promote healing, peace and personal well-being.

14. Before you go, what is one piece of soul guidance you’d like to share with any woman trying to navigate her own self-discovery and healing journey? 

Here is an excerpt from my book, Walk Confidently Into Your New Season: A Guide to Build your Spiritual and Mental Muscles:

“Walk into the light – there is life after the storm, there is life after the trials, and there is life after the obstacle. What you went through did not kill you, but it did change you. It changed your perspective, your thought process. It changed you internally.

After the storm, the sun does come out again. The sun does shine again. The grieving process is over, and you can dry your tears. You can now be at peace. You went through what you had to go through to GROW! I know that it did not feel like you were growing while you were going through it. But you did grow.

We need to remove layers, remove barriers, remove uncertainties, remove self-doubt, remove areas of our lives that no longer serve us so that God can make us new.

Ephesians 4:23- to be made new in the attitude of your minds.”


Become An Insider

Weekly wisdom for our tribe of self-explorers
Sign up to receive exclusive content, special offers, & soul guidance for your inner journey.
Get our guided self-reflection e-workbook + be part of our private accountability group.​

Healing Is The New Sexy® EXPERIENCES

Discover yourself through intentional recreation

Share Your Story

Be a guiding light for those navigating their own inner journeys

Share Your Wisdom

Contribute your perspective to share your wisdom with our community

Her Vibe – Miatta Harris

  • Three words to describe myself are… driven, ambitious, confident
  • I feel free when… I am part of a community in which we share similar interests, beliefs and values
  • To me joy means… internal happiness, peace, a feeling that only can come from within
  • My wellness interests are… activating my self-love, spending time with God, engaging in activities aligned towards where I am going 
  • Book that helped me on my journey… The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without Fear by Joyce Meyer
  • Podcast that helped me on my journey… Joel Osteen

Keep up with Miatta:
Instagram: @miasoulspeaks
Facebook: @miattazharris
Website: www.miattaharris.com

Want to share your story? We are looking for brave, courageous women to step up and connect with our readers to share your truth. Click here to get in touch and help push the conversation forward in our mission to support women in finding healing, wholeness and lifelong well-being.



Mentioned in this interview

The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without Fear

Joel Osteen Daily Podcast

Joel Osteen Daily Podcast

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your Journey Back To Yourself Starts Now

Receive weekly soul guidance, personal growth tips, & inspiration straight to your inbox.

By clicking ‘Sign Up’, I agree to Healing Is The New Sexy’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use


Are you a business? Start Here

Partner With Us

There are several ways you can get involved and partner with us to join this movement to help women of color live whole + well. Fill out the form to learn more about the unique and mutually beneficial opportunities we offer to work with us.

We are actively seeking the following partners: