One day I was driving in the car with my husband (then fiance), who was riding shotgun. I was lost in a deep train of thought, clearly showing it. He looked over at me and asked if everything was okay. In which I proceeded to explain what I was thinking in an unnecessarily long and drawn out answer, which I’m sure he is used to by now (thanks, babe).
“I think I just need to get over my fear of failure,” I said.
Ah, there it is. Sometimes it takes a little talking it out for me to figure out what’s really bothering me.
“Well, I’ve found the best way to get over that is to just go for it anyways,” he responded.
Isn’t it funny that the same things you’ve preached to others in the past you one day need to hear yourself? I can’t count the number of times I’m given this exact advice to many others in my life. And here I was today, getting it handed right back to me.
I’m sure I’m not alone. If you let it, the fear of failure can be a very powerful and controlling force in your life. It can guide the things you do, or in many cases, don’t do. But that’s what we need to work on—giving it that power.
Fear vs. Faith: It’s your choice.
I wish I had some profound advice to give you. But it really just comes down to this: it’s your choice. Everyone will experience fear in their lifetime, but it’s your choice what you do with that fear. Will you let fear drive you towards faith or push you away from it? Whatever it is you fear failing at- you need to just do it anyways. Don’t let fear stop you from being your best self and living out your purpose. If you do that, you could be wasting a huge chunk of your life by letting fear win.
Letting faith win is obviously the scarier choice. I mean, that’s why we avoid it in the first place. But if we choose to follow faith wherever it may lead, a life so full we can’t even imagine will be waiting for us. All in all, letting fear win may be the safe choice, but letting faith win is always worth it.
What’s the worst that can happen?
You fail. That’s the whole reason we’re fearful in the first place. But really, what’s so bad about failing? I’m sure you’ve failed sometime in your past, right? I know I have! But guess what? We got through it. We picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and if it was really worth it, we tried again. So that’s really the worst thing that could happen. We try again. Is it really worth it to not do anything at all in fear of ‘trying again’? Well, that seems silly, doesn’t it?
Then there’s the whole, “But what will people think of me?” thing. Now keep in mind, I’m writing this to help myself, too. I’ve been there. And this one can trip me up sometimes. To be honest, I don’t necessarily care all too much about what strangers think of me. But I do care what my family and friends think of me. I never want to let them down, feel judged or embarrassed, and ultimately, I don’t want them to view me as a failure either.
But can I be real with you for a second? They don’t think that. And even if you fail, they won’t think that. You’re just projecting your own self-views and assuming others feel the same about you. But I can assure you that everyone struggles with fear of failure. And most likely, they’ll respond with compassion and still keep cheering you on. And if they don’t, well you’re back to making a choice again—you either let it push you back to fear, or drive you towards faith and keep it moving.
I hope you realize the weight of the choice you will make with choosing fear or faith. You can either live small or live big. Trust yourself or trust God. Regardless of the choices you make, you’ll feel the effects. And I hope you look fear dead on and just say, “Not today. I choose faith.” It may be hard, scary, challenging, and not at all what you thought. It may force you to focus on what God can do, not necessarily what you can do. But I promise you this— choosing faith always wins.
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