Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has not worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV
Do you have a fear of failure? It’s hard to admit, but the older I get the more I realize how much of my life has been ruled by a fear of failure. Growing up, it wasn’t as if I was ruled by parents, who only recognized success. My life just evolved from the pressures of everyday life into an unhealthy drive for success. I became obsessed with making sure that everything I did was perfect. Failure was not an option. I did not like, nor would I accept, the word “no”. It just wasn’t in my vocabulary.
The problem with this ideology is that no one is perfect. At some point, the perfect little glass house you’ve built begins to crack and shatter around you. You eventually find yourself surrounded by imperfect broken pieces and it’s impossible to put them back together.
How do you respond in times of trouble or failure? Well, there are two options: the first is to try to force the pieces to fit back together, but more often than not we find that we aren’t equipped with the skills to accomplish this since we are unaccustomed to having to deal with failure. So we begin to wallow in our own self-pity, blaming our situation and those around us instead of admitting that we need help. This would be admitting that we had failed. The second option is to seek out answers. The answers you are searching are not worldly answers but a search for the truth from the One who knows us best. Jeremiah 17:7-8 says, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” When we strive for perfection, we are only setting ourselves up for failure. Who are we trying to impress? Who is going to receive the glory for our efforts? Those are the questions we should be asking anytime we set out to accomplish anything.
Are we like the tree planted by the water, sending out our roots to be nourished by God or are our roots stunted from growth because of our own stubbornness and fear of failure? Do we seek success for selfish ambition or are we looking to God to grow our character? When we seek success for ourselves we are destined for a life lived in worry and fear. What motivates us is an unhealthy fear of failure. This is no way to live. We need to drop the act, shatter that glass house and allow God to plant our roots by the streams of life. We need to allow him to nourish and fulfill us and stop seeking a life that is filled with an idea of perfection that can never be attained.
It’s taken me a long time to realize this, but success only comes from failure. It’s instinctual. We didn’t talk the first time we opened our mouths. We didn’t pick up a spoon the first time we tried to eat. And, we didn’t learn to crawl or walk the first time we tried. We failed, over and over again. As babies, we didn’t care. We didn’t lean on our own understanding; we trusted in those around us to guide us. Do you fear failure? Are you seeking perfection in every aspect of your life, or are you placing your trust in the One who wants to help guide you in your journey.
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Action Item |
Examine your life and determine if you are ruled by a fear of failure. If you are, recognizing that fact is a good first step. The second is to work towards being ok with failing and ask God to help you overcome your fear.
Dear God, it is so hard to accept when things don’t go as we want. Help me to accept help from You in my life and not try and do everything on my own. Help me to stop putting pressure on myself and instead allow You to take on the burdens I bear. Help me to recognize that failure is only a stepping stone to building my character. AMEN.
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