Of all the negative thoughts and self defeating attitudes that every one of us struggle with, the fear of failure is the most dangerous. This fear is a defense mechanism. It will keep you safe. It will safeguard your comfortable lifestyle. It will protect your reputation.
The fear of failure accomplishes its task by locking you in a box. Your safety is a result of limited exposure. Your comfort is birthed from ignorance. Your reputation is shielded from attack by the maintenance of an unremarkable status quo.
What if we accepted the simple fact that our safety, comfort, and reputation are not under our control?
Wouldn’t this fear of failure then become irrational?
What Are we Afraid Of?
We’re not afraid of failing. Failing is easy.
If I started a new business next month, gave it the old college try, and fell flat on my face a year from now, that would be a pretty rough situation. I would run out of money, have to sell some things, and probably get a real job.
I’ll be really honest with you here and say that none of those things are what truly frighten me. I’ve run out of money in the past. I’ve sold some things to make my bills. I’ve worked plenty of real jobs.
The battle I fight is fear of being labeled as a failure. I’m terrified that my identity will shift from successful, intelligent entrepreneurial master-mind guy to something much less self-aggrandizing. Do I have approval issues? Probably. But I’m willing to bet that you do too.
Who are We?
Our identity does not lie in who we are. It lies in whose we are. My soul was purchased with a pretty hefty price; the sacrifice of God Himself incarnate on the cross. That’s where my identity comes from.
I’m certain that God would not doggedly pursue someone whom He considered to be a failure. He would, however, pursue someone that people consider to be a failure. Jesus spent a whole lot more time with society’s “failures” than he did with “successful” people.
The world and the men in it can label you as a failure, but what authority do they really have to make that judgement?
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Cor 1:25
So What do we Really Have to Fear?
Nothing. Seriously. Nothing.
We’ve been given complete and ultimate hope in our lives. If I can really trust in God for my salvation, then I can really trust him with my identity as well. He’s good enough to cover both. Therefore, I choose to risk failure each and every day. I will continue in reckless pursuit of God’s will for my life.
- I will start a few new businesses along the way. Some of them will fail.
- I’ll forge new relationships as I go. Several of those will fail as well.
- I’ll do some crazy stuff that make you all think that I am certifiably insane.
- I might even make a few mistakes that will cost me everything.
That’s all just fine, because that’s the only way I’m going to become exactly who God wants me to be. No matter what, I refuse to be identified as a failure.
Is failure your identity?