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Free from the Fear of Failing

Attention! All who are afraid of failure, please gather round. Those who have no fear of failing, you go jump a few buildings with single bounds while the rest of us talk.

Now that the golden guys are gone and I’m among friends, I can be honest. I hate to fail! I’m terrified of looking bad. I despise being embarrassed. You would think I’d be used to it by now – so much experience, and all. But I cannot stand to fail. And that fear limits me terribly.

I want to do new things. Like play guitar. I tried, but it was embarrassing for anyone to hear me. (My teacher wore ear plugs!) So, I did what I often do when it feels like I’m failing. I quit. Which, of course, eliminates any possibility of success.

And there are things I want to say, praise that people deserve to hear, love that ought to be expressed. But my words might be misinterpreted. I might say it wrong, so I often just say nothing.

Sound familiar? Do you try to protect yourself by limiting exposure? The fewer risky things I try, the less I fail. Or, so I think. Yet, it was the cautious one in Jesus’ parable of the talents who actually failed. He buried money he’d been given so he wouldn’t lose it. Yet, because he gained nothing, his master took everything. The only one in that story who failed was the one who was afraid of failing.

Jesus’ point in that parable is that, with him, risk isn’t really risky. The master in the story told the guy, “you could have” (Matthew 25:27). His promise is that “everyone who has will be given more” (25:29). Success is guaranteed if there is enough faith to dare the danger.

Sounds great! But, what all is covered by that guarantee? How widespread is this warranty?

It’s as wide as the world! And then some! Part of the purpose of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead was to offer us a life-long, world-wide safety net. Peter wrote that Jesus’ resurrection offers his followers a living hope, an indestructible inheritance, and a promise to be “shielded by God's power” (1 Peter 1:3-5). Because Jesus was raised, we can be, too!

That doesn’t mean we’ll get everything right. But, it does mean that we’ll be alright.

If even death can’t stop us, how can we fail? That’s why Paul could say, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). He couldn’t lose!

Isn’t that true for all who trust in God’s resurrection? Let’s go leap some tall buildings! Even if we trip and fall, there is one who will raise us up again!


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