There is a shadow that follows many of us around. A shadow that lurks in the corners of our vision. This shadow makes us react in ways that we thought we never would. The anxiety attached to this shadow make us plan our lives along paths that are not of God. This shadow is the fear of failure. Many are crippled by it without ever understanding why.
We can begin to understand the fear if we start by recognizing we are in a broken world. God never desired the world to be broken, when He created the world “it was very good” (Gen 1:31) However, through the failure of people the world and all people are broken. Since then, failure has been a daily part of life. Even though it has been around for so long we still fear it. Something that old and that influential is more than “Flesh and blood,” it is “Powers of this dark world” and “Spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12). Simply, the fear is of the devil.
From a young age we are taught right and wrong. We learn that there are benefits from doing good and consequences for doing wrong. This is a truth about life, but through the corrupting power of sin, good can be mutated into “success” and wrong into “failure.” This mutation can come through our own heart or it can be passed on from others like our parents, teachers, coaches, etc. Suddenly we are so scared to fail because we think there will be terrible consequences. Failure becomes dirty, shameful, and sinful. We need to divorce the idea that wrong and failure are the same.
When the two are separated we become free to try and fail. We also come to a deeper understanding of wrong. When “wrong” becomes separated from success and failure, the reality of our sinful world and sinful selves is more evident. We stop trying to “succeed” away our brokenness. When we turn and look dead into the face of the shadow of the fear of failure we will realize it has no power over us.
It has no power over us because of Jesus. Jesus came to, “Seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10) and He said “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mark 2:17) Jesus is understands that we have failed many times in life, He also understands that we are naturally sinful. He is not looking for the people who have it all together. He is looking for those who have tried and failed their whole lives, He is looking for those who understand that they can never be “good” without Him. Jesus is ready to break the chains that bind you to your fear of failure. When those chains are broken you will be able to see that your value is not in your successes or your failures. You will be able to see that your “wrongness” has nothing to do with that, it has everything to do with your sin nature. In that moment, you can stop trying to save yourself and let Jesus save you, and He will.
Failure controls us only because we let it. Jesus is ready to take us as we and show us a love that conquers all. We have a Father who has never failed to love us, and will never fail. Even though our record of failure and doing wrong is long and will keep growing, Jesus who never failed took that record of failure, wrong, shame, sin, doubt, and fear upon himself so that we might be with God the Father. If you are crippled by the fear of failure go to Jesus, put your trust in Him. Surrender to Him and live a life full of faith, hope, and love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)