This post is part of a series that started with this post on 2020.
I have a fear of failure.
It has stopped me from trying things so many times in my life. One of my first memories of letting fear guide me happened when I was only 8 years old. My family saved up money for a trip to Six Flags. My brother, sister, and I each got to bring a friend. I had never been on a roller coaster or any other thrill ride before and I still wasn’t tall enough for most. My friend Rebecca and I spent the day riding all the kid rides, playing games, and eating junk food. As it was getting dark, we came to a kiddie coaster. It looked huge and scary to me as a tiny 8 year old. My big sister offered to ride it with me, but I was too afraid. So she and Rebecca rode together. I remember watching them squeal happily as they rode around and around.
I looked on with regret.
I wanted to be braver.
I wanted to have that experience with my sister, but I was still too afraid.
I remember leaving the park after that and being so upset with myself for being afraid. I thought about missing out on that ride over and over again for a few years – always having a strong emotional reaction to the fact that I let irrational fear choose for me.
There have been many times, with much higher consequences, that I have let fear choose for me. I have an intense fear of missing out (FOMO) that makes me do too many things, hence the position I’m often in. But fear also causes me to freeze.
If I think I won’t be successful I quit before I fail or I never even try.
Fear was telling me that I was failing as a podcaster. Not one person ever said that to me. Not one person ever defined for me what failure was for a podcaster. I’m not even sure I have my own definition of that, but I was still afraid of failing – and I still am to a certain extent.
That is where faith has to come in. I have to believe that there are things God is doing with these stories that I may never even see. I have to remember my beginning goals – to share stories that give people hope, make them feel known, and help them know God more. I’ve never felt that wasn’t happening.
If you know anything about the enneagram, I’m a seven. I would rather just avoid all the negative feelings and get right to the fun, but we see where that tends to get me!
Scripture, again, tells me what I need to do about fear. One of my favorite scriptures is in 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
I do love love. And I think I love it because it covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
So how do I practically use love to drive out fear?
Well, when I start to feel afraid that I’m failing, I refocus on the love that motivates my decision to keep going or let something go. I keep going with this podcast because I love God and I love others. I love what God has done for me in my own life. He has greatly redeemed me and brought me closer and closer to Him and I want to share that with others.
I want you to feel the depth of love and grace and mercy in His redeeming powers. When I think about that, my passion and my tenacity is ignited and I’m ready to face the hard parts of this job with love instead of fear. When I think about His love for me and for you I cannot help but use the gifts and talents he has equipped me with to throw that love around like confetti! I want it everywhere. I heard Jennie Allen use the image of a flamethrower to describe discipleship. When you are that full of God’s love, you can’t help but shoot it as far and wide as you can. There’s no fear in that! There’s no pride in that! There’s no burn out or being “too busy” when you’re that much on fire for God and that excited about His love for people.
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When have you let fear choose for you? What’s holding you back now?