Fear Of Failure
What is your greatest fear? Are you afraid of the dark? Are you afraid of being alone? Are your fears preventing you from moving full steam ahead?
Let's explore this topic together in today's devotional:
“And I was afraid, went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.”
Many people do not truly experience God’s love and grace because they are afraid to fail. It is unfortunate that even entrepreneurs, who because of the risk inherent in business, sometimes do not grow to their fullest potential in business because they are still “playing it safe” and they are afraid to fail when they should be growing in greater intimacy and greater reliance on the Lord.
Two things are certain in life: we all must face death and we all must face failure at some point in our lives. If you have never failed at anything, then you truly have not lived nor have you exerted your full potential. All successful entrepreneurs have failed at one time in their journey. Failure is simply a way to eliminate the option that will not work so you can quickly get to the options that will work. The quicker you fail, the quicker you will get to your success. It was Thomas Edison, the great inventor and entrepreneur, who said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work." Here is how the Bible puts it, “For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again. But the wicked shall fall by calamity” - Proverbs 24:16 (NKJV). Are you righteous or wicked? If you are righteous, you will rise again so go ahead and embrace your failure; pursue that opportunity and take that calculated risk because even if you fail, you will rise again.
In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:25, the servant who receives the one talent states that because of fear he hid the master’s talent in the ground. What have you been hiding due to fear? Fear causes us to operate beneath our potential because we “play it safe”. This servant, due to fear, preserves the talent the Master gave him so he could return it to the Master safely. What he did not realize is the Master gave him the talents not to preserve but to invest, not for safekeeping but to be released into the marketplace. Doing that requires that the servant trust the Master which leads to greater intimacy between the Master and servant. The Master was less concerned about returns and more concerned with his relationship with his servant. It is during challenging circumstances and moments of disappointment that we grow closer to those who are close to us. Although the servant was afraid to lose the talents, the Master endowed him with certain abilities which ensured that he would not lose the talent but he would be able to invest it properly and, should he lose it, it would be an opportunity for the servant to experience the Master’s love and grace.
The fear of failure is an internal distressing emotion due to a real or imagined inability to overcome challenges, difficulties or setbacks. It creates in us an unwillingness to take risks no matter how safe the path or how sure the return.
In reviewing the story of the talents in Matthew 25, it is clear that the servants’ paths were safe because the Master called the servants and gave them the talents. We know the Master is God Himself. God will not give us more than we can bear and if He does, Scripture promises that He will make for us a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). We also know that the return was certain since the Master gave the talents according to the servants’ abilities. The fact that the servants with the five and the two talents had a good return is evidence that the Master’s judgment can be trusted. The servant with the one talent did not trust the Master’s judgment and therefore did not receive his guaranteed return.
What has God asked you to do that the fear of failure is hindering you from pursuing? Remember, your real issue is not that you are concerned about failing but that you really do not trust God. You don’t trust that He gave you the ability to succeed or that if you fail, He will be there to carry you.
I began to teach my older daughter to swim when she was about seven years old. After teaching her in the three feet area of the pool, I would ask her to swim towards me passing the five feet area. She would hesitate and ask, “But daddy what if I drown, will you catch me?” I would assure her that I would. After careful consideration, my little girl would proceed to trust me with her life and swim towards me, passed the five feet, and to her surprise, she would make it most times. When she did not, I would catch her. What caused her to overcome her fear of failure? Was it her ability? No, she did not trust her own abilities. It was her trust in her father. She trusted me enough to overcome her fear and unleash her potential to swim based on the abilities I knew she had. Eventually, she began to trust in her own abilities and no longer needed my reassurance until she was ready to take on a tougher challenge.
How deep is the water that God is asking you to swim in? Make sure you truly heard from God. Make sure you are prepared. Go ahead and swim to the other side knowing that even if you do not make it, your Daddy will catch you. This will allow you to experience greater intimacy with Him.
My prayer for you this week is that you will overcome your fear of failure and act on what the Lord has instructed you to do, trusting Him with the total outcome because even if you fail, your failure will bring you closer to him.
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