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07 December 2010

My Greatest Fear

I'll tell you my biggest fear if you'll tell me yours.

Of course, I have a feeling that the great majority of internet users (billions, I suppose) won't post a response, so as I go ahead and tell you, I think I'll be getting the short end of the stick.

To get straight to the point, I am afraid of failure. This fear easily trumps all the others. It's abstract, which unfortunately means that it will plug neatly into almost every situation.

Golf? Ha ha ha! I'm not even going to comment. Cooking a pork roast? Who could mess that up? My point exactly, so when that's a fail it's one of the worst. Mario Kart? Ugh. The thing is, my fear of failure drives me to do my best, and sometimes (with the exceptions of golf and bowling) I see improvement from the last time.

One of the most major fears of failure -- one that actually has significant consequences as opposed to losing at a video game or something -- comes to mind when I read Jesus' prayer in John 17:11-12: "Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name;now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold."

Now, before you tell me that Jesus was God, I'm well aware of that. Bear in mind that Jesus' words here imply that He could've made the decision not to fulfill His mission; that He could've failed. But He didn't. He lived life in communion with His Father, diligently aware of that relationship moment by moment, and staying and in harmony with God.

Read what Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: "For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. So I urge you to imitate me." (1 Corinthians 4:15-16, NLT)

We are responsible to teach, encourage, and train those we lead to Jesus Christ. That's not the responsibility of a pastor or a wise old teacher or some other "really religious" person. We're called to be witnesses, to make disciples, and to teach those people who become disciples of Jesus Christ.

While I admit to some fear in this area -- dropping the ball in discipleship and in my own walk with Christ -- it's not the fear of failure that drives me on this one. It's my love for the Lord and my desire to obey Him.

I'm interested in your thoughts. In the interest of space I couldn't cover every point here, so feel free to chime in with whatever strikes you. Of course 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 comes to mind when I'm tempted to beat myself up. I just want to make sure I'm doing what is required of me; that's something at which I must not fail.


Tony M said...

Hmm... this sounds vaguely familiar. Have we talked about this before? I must admit: that (fear of failure) is probably one of my biggest fears, too; unfortunately, it has more of a stifling effect for me: often times I'll choose not to attempt - thus, no chance of failure (then again, there is failing to attempt, and obviously not attempting means a 0% chance of succeeding).

And, maybe, fear of failure could be all tied up in the sin of pride (and here I'm talking "personal pride" - not the typical, arrogant pride, or even showy pride, but the pride that keeps us from admitting our weaknesses, from attempting things out of fear of failure, who knows what else).

I guess I'm also fearful of thievery, as I'm constantly checking that my wallet's in my pocket. Or maybe that's just some obsessive-compulsive behavior...

Stephanie said...

I am NOT afraid of failure! We all fail, on every different level, and for some reason it does not scare me. I am human...I think thru big decisions and try to make them wisely. After all, Jesus was the only person who did not fail while on earth, right? My biggest fear? Of course all the "normal" ones that every woman, wife, mother shares. But I would have to say not being able to disciple my children the way I should. I never want them to look at me and see a hypocrite, or someone who did not walk the way she talked. I never want them to look back on their childhood and remember things differently from the way they learning a lesson and remembering it as more harsh than it was. But I want them to love, appreciate, respect me and I fear that I will not disciple them the way I should. I want them to see a mom who loves God with every part of her being. And I want them to remember that.

I share the wallet OCD thing. Takes half a second for me to break into a sweat if I can't locate my wallet, debit card, license, etc. Or identity theft....that thought REALLY puts fear into me! :)

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