Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Working Through the Fear of Failure

The fear of failing can be crippling.  It's what keeps a guy from asking a girl out on a date.  It's what keeps a person from chasing down a dream they've had for years.  It's what deflates our passions and defeats our goals.  And, what's really interesting is the fear of failing is often worse than the actual failure itself.

The past 2 months I have had to talk to myself more than listen to myself.  I have the opportunity to lead a week-long outreach at our church geared toward seeing people come to know Jesus (the above picture is from one of the scenes from this interactive drama)  We've prayed.  We've prepared.  We've planned.  We've practiced.  We've invested lots of time and money ... and yet there remains the very real possibility that it could "fail."  What if people don't show up?  What if people hate it?  What if it completely bombs and people begin to think that I'm incompetent and have no clue how to lead something?  What if?  What if?  What if?

When given the freedom, the "what if's" can take over and become an idol of safety in our lives. Here are a couple of key concepts I have tried to focus on in order to keep moving forward with this event even when there is the real possibility of failing:

  • All throughout the Bible people were given a work to do by God that seemed much bigger than anything they could do on their own.  God never encouraged them by telling them how great they were and talking to them about the amazing abilities they have.  He encouraged them with 5 simple words:  "I will be with you."  Those 5 words are more powerful than any of my abilities.
  • Even if a "task" fails  ... God is still happy with the faith I showed in trying to make it happen.  Years ago, I once bought my wife a blender for her birthday ... not because I'm a jerk but because 2 weeks earlier she had expressed a desire to have a blender.  So, I bought her the blender ... an AWFUL birthday gift!  But, my wife didn't say that.  She saw the thought behind the gift and the thought was trying to do something that was going to make her happy.  She was pleased that I was listening to her desires.  Was the birthday gift a "failure?"  It was a blender.  Enough said.  But, the action was a total success.  Faith always pleases God.
  • When you're trying to make a difference, there are times that you are going to fail.  It's a reality.  But, the failure doesn't define who you are.  I am a son of the living God!  My identity is found in Him ... never in my accomplishments, whether amazing successes or devastating failures.  When I fully understand that, the "what if's" don't define me.  The "I AM" defines me.
  • This is an opportunity for me to trust God to do what only He can do.  Proverbs 21:31 says "The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord."  To me that means we can do our part to the best of our ability ... but there are certain things that ONLY God is going to make happen.  Our goal and desire for this event is to see people start a relationship with Jesus.  Only God can make that happen.  Now, I can partner with Him and do my part ... but there should always be a measure of things that are completely out of our control, because that way we are trusting God and we NEED Him to show up.  If I can accomplish something on my own, I'm not really showing much faith.  
  • The more we try something and see God come through, the more faith we'll have to try again.  The Bible is filled with stories of God coming through for His people.  I could share story after story of how God has come through for me personally.  The more I exercise my faith, the stronger it becomes.  

The picture above is everyone involved in this event crying out to God and praying for Him to come through.  It was such a special time of prayer and such a time of humility for us all realizing that we have the opportunity to partner with God to see people come to know Him.    

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