When I say that fear is “funny”, I’m not talking “ha ha” funny, merely commenting that fear is a rather intriguing human phenomenon. Some fears are completely rational like being afraid of snakes or the dark, but where does the fear of long words come from? Or what about the fear of the color yellow? I don’t have an answer to those questions, but if you do, I would sure love to hear it! Possibly more interesting than fears themselves, is how people respond to fear. There are motivational quotes galore all with the goal of helping people to get over their fears and into succeeding in their desired area of life. But until those words take residence within us and push us to action, the words are meaningless.
Conquering your fears is scary.
Most of my actions are decided in light of my overwhelming fear of failure. I’m afraid of failing, but I don’t just stop there, I also fear success because inevitably I will fall off the pedestal of success, so often I don’t even try. Fear leads me to inactivity. I fear change, I fear the opinions of others (and letting them down), I fear that I’ll never measure up, I fear the future, and the list of my fears just goes on and on.
Fear of failure, in particular, is fairly ridiculous and a vicious lie from the enemy. We all fail, it’s just a part of human nature. We are imperfect beings which means that we will fail and it will happen often. These might be minor or major failures, but every day is filled with varying degrees of mistakes, failures, and let downs. And, while we might long for perfection and to never experience the sting of failure, there are certain lessons that can only be gleaned from failing.
I can identify two good things about failure: it’s an opportunity to be humbled and to learn, both of which are beneficial, though, at the time, it might not seem that way.
There are tons of verses in the Bible about the concept of humility, a subject I personally hate. But God favors the humble and opposes the proud (James 4:6). This is always a hard verse for me to accept because I would much rather be proud than humble. I’m good at being proud, I have to work at being humble.
While I hate failing, I love the learning opportunity it provides. When something goes wrong, we are able to assess where it went wrong and come up with a plan of action to do better next time. It’s so strategic! Yet, it takes me quite a while to get to that point because I often sit in my failure as if it’s a permanent state of being, instead of recognizing it for what it is: an event. But, day by day, I’m learning to not let fear of failure or the failure itself keep me stuck. I’m discovering that I can trust God enough to take risks and I can continue to worship him in the midst of my failure. In fact, when I fail, it’s a perfect opportunity for me to draw even nearer to him, relying on his strength instead of my own.
What are you afraid of?
I encourage you to list some of your fears out and then begin to trace them back. What’s at the center of your fear? What lie are you believing because of your fear? More than that, what truth can you use to replace that lie? How can you fight fear and move forward in faith?
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…” Psalm 46:1-2a