Fear of Failure

[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]I[/mk_dropcaps]n its most extreme case fear of failure is known as “atychiphobia.”  Those who suffer from this will not take steps wherever there is even a risk of failure.  Subconsciously when you fear failure you will undermine your own efforts in order to no longer have to try. This type of behavior over time will hold you back from living a life of meaning and significance.  Why do we fear failure?  Often it has to do with a situation where failure occurred and an undue amount of shame or guilt was experienced in that situation. The response was so strong we figured there was only one choice: to decided to take that failure and place it on ourselves as an identifier or label. First off lets clarify what shame and guilt really are.  Simply put

Guilt- the feeling of knowing you did something bad.

Shame- the feeling that you are bad when you did something wrong

Both shame and guilt are powerful in how they shape the perceptions of ourselves.  To defeat the opponent within us, that inner critic, it is required that we face the fear of failing. We have to confront our failures so that we do not fall prey to the internal critic’s manipulation of events luring us to believe that one failure is actually who we are. When left uncontested the inner critic will convince us to not even try as the fear builds and we get paralysis by analysis.  No one is immune to believing something if it is heard frequently enough.  My friend, today we are taking back the ground the enemy has taken through those moments of mistakes. No matter how many times you have heard to the contrary, even though you have failed at times you are NOT a failure. It is the sum total of your choices and behaviors that have made you into who you are at this moment.  If you do not like it you can change it. How?  Change how you define failure and thus your response to it.  In other words it is time to make a better choice when failure comes. Instead of  accepting it as your identity, see it as space created to develop and strengthen your character.

[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]What does God have to say about this?[/mk_blockquote]

First off, the Lord has forgiven you (Acts 13:38)!  Secondly, nowhere in the Bible does it say when you make mistakes are you somehow disqualified from the future God made you for. In fact it says the sin is removed as far from us as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).  Jesus came to restore our relationship with Him by redeeming us from sin.  Sin is wherever we have “missed the mark.” His sacrifice paid for in full all of our sin we have ever committed, are committing and will commit.  Holding onto guilt and shame means we trust what we can see more than what He has promised for us.  It is misplaced our strengths and talents from being used for the benefit of God, others, and as a result ourselves.  In other words shame and guilt when held onto become a waste of resource.

If you struggle with taking steps of faith out of fear you will make a mistake or that you are unworthy of any successes because of some old shame and guilt, enough is enough!  The Lord has forgiven you, it is time you forgive yourself. Rip off that label of failure! Begin to see failure not as part of your identity but as opportunity to strengthen your faith muscles.  Failures are like workouts.  They are an opportunity and an environment where our character is broken down with the purpose of being built back up stronger.  The future failures you will make are unavoidable.  Just like working out is unavoidable if you want to be at your healthiest. Change your perspective by changing how you think about failures and begin to see how God cares more that you trust him enough to take a step of faith than trying to never fail. God is not concerned with perfection.  Only Jesus could do that anyway.  He is more concerned with our heart relying on Him in faith through love. Now punch fear in the face and give it a go!