What If I Fail?
When a task of any kind is on the horizon, an anticipatory anxiety builds and we catastrophize the outcome of failing at said task.
Fear of failure is a huge problem for me. For example, I preach each week. I have for a long time. I pray, I study, and I do all sorts of mental exercises to make sure I'm preaching for the right reasons, and still there is a little voice that says, "What if I bomb?"
This triggers all sorts of negative mental images like people getting up and leaving the service early. Negative mental images, also known as intrusive thoughts, create even more anxiety.
If we don't deal with the fear of failure we'll end up running from the tasks God has for us. We'll run from tasks that are given to us for our joy. After all, we're actually fully capable, we're built to succeed, and God is not handing us tasks to destroy us but rather to give us the glorious sense of accomplishment. Remember, God is good!
So where can we find relief from the fear of failure?
Friends and family. Specifically, friends and family who love like Jesus loves.
Proverbs 17:17 says, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
Simply put a friend loves you no matter what and a brother, or close family member, is rooting for you as you face difficulty.
See, fear of failure is typically a fear of conditional love. Will others love me if I fail? Will I be able to love me if I fail?
True friends assure us they wouldn't love us more if we succeed or less if we fail. This creates a freedom to fail and, thus, a freedom to give any task our best shot. Life becomes an adventure instead of a field of land mines.
Instead of mentally listing all the potential dangers of failing, list all the people in your life who wouldn't give a rip if you failed. My family, my wife, my kids, and a handful of others make the list for me. Who makes the list for you? Write it down. Who would love you no matter what?
I find that most everyone has at least a few people they can put on that list but let's say you're struggling to come up with some names. Then just write down Jesus' name.
He took all your sin, which includes your most grievous failures, on himself, suffering the consequences for you, burying them in his tomb, and rising without them. That's right, he succeeded for you where it mattered most! Hint: This means he loves you no matter what and, more than anybody, is now rooting you on. So, fail away.