How can I flee the fear of failure?
Some fear failure to the point of not trying. Safe zones are sought, we crawl inside them and determine the best we can do is hunker down and settle for less. Christ, however, has better plans.
We ought not fear failure. Rather, we should view our unsuccesses as moments of learning, not loathing. This is the view taken by Edison who famously said regarding his countless unsuccessful attempts at inventing the lightbulb, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Edison saw that in his initial failures at inventing the light bulb he had learned a vast amount of approaches to avoid in the future. Though he had one loss (a working lightbulb), he had uncovered innumerable gains, not only for himself but for all inventors.
Failure is frustrating when we measure it by the one outcome we are endeavoring to achieve. We may cry out to God asking for intervention, or help, or power to succeed. But God may have other outcomes in mind. Paul cried out for freedom from his thorn but God meant it to help him to humility. Joseph hoped for freedom from the pit, but God had in mind the salvation of a nation. Samson sought deliverance from the Philistines, but God made his captivity the rebuilding of his strength to their destruction.
Paul recognized this need to change focus. He wrote: “For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:17-18)
James tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3).
Keep pursuing those objects of frequent failings, but do not despair if you fail. God has other things in mind — and wastes nothing. As Solomon advises: “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” (Eccl. 11:6).
And so I say…
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