What is something that NO ONE likes, but is a necessary part of life?
Cleaning your child’s urine off the bathroom floors and walls at 3:00 a.m.?
Good guesses, but all wrong... I’m talking about FAILURE. It’s not exactly a fun topic to discuss, but we all know it as an inescapable part of life. Maybe you have had a failed relationship, or you didn’t get the promotion at work. Or you feel like you’re failing as a parent or spouse. Maybe you were rejected, or you tried something new and fell flat on your face. Or maybe you didn’t fall, but your pants did (come find me if you’d like to hear about that one).
I’ve had my fair share of failings over the years, and I’ve learned to view [most of] them with a sense of gratitude for their role as a catalyst for spiritual growth in my life. To be honest, though, despite having that attitude most of the time, there are other times my failures bring feelings of shame, embarrassment, or self-criticism. Our natural response to shame is to try to “play it safe” and avoid more failure. The thing is, as Christians, we aren’t called to avoid failure, but to follow and obey Christ regardless of the outcome. In fact, often what we label as a “failure,” God simply sees as a small part of His bigger plan.
God may be calling you to reach out to someone you don’t know, pursue a passion that is unchartered, use a gift He has given you, or to give generously and extravagantly. He may be asking you to give up something and trust him in the ordinary and seemingly insignificant. Whatever it is, we know that we have been “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). The question is, will we obey.... even if there is a risk of failing?
How can we overcome the fear of failure and instead pursue God’s purpose for our lives with abandon?
4 Suggestions For Overcoming Fear of Failure and Pursuing God's Purpose:
1. Understand that our lives are really just a small part of God’s bigger story.
We were created for God’s glory (Isaiah 43:7) and God uses our lives and our failures to accomplish His sovereign plan. The Bible is a collection of stories about man’s failures and God’s goodness and sovereignty. We can’t see it now, but one day we will get to see the BIG picture.
2. Lighten up! We shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.
God doesn’t NEED us, but allows us to be a part of His work of redemption. Give yourself grace, and remember that His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). We are to be people of joy!
3. Find some friends who are bold, godly risk-takers.
Risk-takers inspire others to pursue God regardless of the cost or outcome. They can help pour courage into you and spur you on to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). Then, be that kind of encourager to someone else!
4. Look to Jesus and His life.
Many people didn’t welcome and accept Him. Some flat-out rejected Him. Even His closest friends doubted and betrayed Him. If He were looking at the temporal, He could have been tempted to think He was a failure. But Jesus understood that what was unseen was far more important than what is seen. His adversaries thought that final breath on the cross was their confirmation of failure.... but instead it led to the ultimate victory over sin and death.
What failures do you need to put in your past so you can move forward? What will you risk to love others extravagantly and make Jesus’ name known? Who will you encourage to come along with you as you pursue Christ with abandon!?
Meet the Author!
Taylor is the wife of Council Road's Groups Pastor, Micah White, and mother to Navy and Foster. She works as a PA in Oklahoma City, and is also passionate about serving and edifying the local Church. She most enjoys time with her family, but can also be found reading, teaching, making music, hand-lettering, and hosting gatherings. She loves a friendly debate and a good laugh.