Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fear of Failure

The fear of failure has been ruling my life.

It has to stop.

It has crept in under the guise of rationality, safety, and appearance. It has kept the ‘what-if’s’ at bay. It’s kept those ‘grounded in reality’ and ‘in the real world’ pacified. It’s kept my potential untapped, and rendered my life passionless. It has kept my dreams as just that, dreams.

So what if I try and fail. Really, will I be any worse for trying? Will those who may laugh and scorn my being ‘out of touch’ have gained anything on me? Will I be less satisfied with myself because I went for it?

Why is it assumed that those we might deem successful have something that the rest of us lack? Could it be that these ‘achievers’ really just have the guts to keep swinging after repeated misses? Is that really the secret? Does it boil down to just going for stuff without the certainty of success, aka, the ability to overcome the fear of failure?


We were not created to be timid and to live the safe life, waiting for certainty before making decision. This is the path to being Luke-warm and passion-less, which God detests. While we are to have faith that God will guide and lead us, we are not to hide behind this and excuse our fear of making the wrong decision as waiting on God to ‘open the right door’.

Jesus sent His disciples out without extra clothes or money, obvious necessities for making the trip they were about to, as a faith builder. He told them to go, and trust that He would bless them with provisions along the way. He did not lay everything out ahead of time so that His disciples understood what was going to happen. Jesus said go! Do it! I’ll take care of you. I’ll bless you along the way. I’ll help you deal with things as they come up. Jesus was showing them that stepping out in faith is just as valid as waiting on the Lord.

The Wright brothers never would have discovered flight if, instead of following their hearts, had let the fear of failure, of peers laughter, of losing money or time rule their decision making. In fact, they did endure criticism and failure. Years of tests, hypothesis, fails, and re-designs predicated their most famous achievement. What kept them going? Passion, and a refusal to let fear get in their way. Often, the best things in life come after many failures. They were ultimately successful because they dared to live.

Can we make bad decisions? Yes. Will we fail? Probably so. Can our Lord and Savior, creator of the heavens and the Earth, work in our decisions for His glory? Yes, He can! Then why do we let the fear of failure or the fear of making the wrong decision incapacitate us? This is a lack of faith.

We are called to live, really live. Merriam-Webster defines life as “an organismic state characterized by the capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction.”  Life is more that getting by, avoiding risk, and saving up for retirement. In fact, life is quite the opposite. We know we are alive by being able to deal with failure (stimuli) and grow through it.

Wake up! Don’t let another day go by anesthetizing your passions with fear. We can never have the promised ‘peace that passes understanding’ while living in fear. You were meant to live for so much more. God has called each and everyone of us to fly.