Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fear of Failure

On Sunday night Cliff was talking about fear and how it can control us. He mentioned how a lot of the time we try to cover up our fears with something: anger, throwing ourselves into another pursuit, being intellectual...etc. Fear has always been something I dealt with, but when Cliff brought it up, I honestly was having a hard time pinpointing exactly what I fear. That is, until I read my chapter in my Kairos book on Monday. The author was talking about Risk and how in order to fail we must risk. And not only that, but it is very difficult to succeed without failure (I mean, look at Edison, how many times did he fail trying to make the light bulb??).

This concept really hit home. If you know me, you know I bill myself as a perfectionist. I like things done right and preferably done right the first time. For the first time I see this as a manifestation (yeah I know, big word) of my fear of failure. If I'm perfect then I can't fail. But if I have to be perfect in everything I don't attempt anything in which I might not be perfect in. If I know I can't do it right I won't try. Why? Because I'm afraid. Afraid that others might notice that I'm not perfect, afraid I'll let someone down. Fear is controlling.

In the past few days as I've been mulling this over, I've often thought of how many opportunities I've missed because I've been afraid to fail. How many experiences have I given up because I'm afraid to take a risk? How many memories did I sacrifice to keep up my image? In all honesty, I really don't want to think about all that I have missed. Yet, it's because of what I've missed that I know I can't continue to miss it. I have to risk, I have to be willing to fail, I have to be willing to give up the image that I have tried so desperately to keep up.

So what's the remedy for this fear? Jesus. His perfect love. The confidence that comes from knowing that if I fail, He's still there. I may fall flat on my face, but he's right beside me, picking me up and dusting me off. When I begin to understand that his love is unconditional and forever, I'll start to risk it for him and his glory. Failure will happen, but I'll understand that I don't need perfection. Perfection is an impossible goal and it's one that I don't need to attain.

So this is a start for my journey of leaving fear behind, embracing failure, and loving Jesus.

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