Fear of Success

[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]I[/mk_dropcaps]t is understandable the stresses that come with a season of intense turmoil, chaos, or pain.  But what about when things are good and you are experiencing a measure of success? Is your response to embrace it and cherish it?  If so then you are further along than many. If not then this is for you. What do you do when you are afraid of success?  Well first off lets clarify what that can look like.   Do you ever find yourself thinking or asking yourself things like this: -   Do I really deserve to be successful here?

-   Things are finally starting to go good, that must mean something bad is coming right?!

-   I better not get too used to this, good things never last.

-   When is the other shoe going to drop and I find out this is too good to be true?

-   I can not let him/her get too close because if I do I will just get hurt.

All of the above statements and questions circle around one toxic pattern of thought which is fear of success. We see that expressed in a behavior that Dr. Brune Brown calls foreboding joy.  This is the inability to fully embrace the good out of fear of what bad things may lie on the other side.  She defines it as the sense that pain and joy go in cycles that when you are experiencing great joy that means that pain is on the way.  Dr. Brown even goes on to describe that "What we do in moments of joyfulness is, we try to beat vulnerability to the punch.”

I hope you see in the above statements while there are fragments of truth in them, that is all they are: fragments. The enemy would love to get you to doubt and question the goodness of God and begin to fully believe these partial truths.  Today, I make a case for you to push back and refuse to live a life of compromised joy.  Remember, as you submit to the power of the truth and promises of God then you resist the devil, he must flee (James 4:7).

First thing is first, submitting to God your heart to trust Him both in the valley and on the mountain top. If you are experiencing fear of success in the expression of foreboding joy then it is time for a submission check.  Are you willing to trust God enough to:

1) Assume responsibility of your power to chose

2)   Chose to remain vulnerable

2)   Chose to be grateful daily

These three things are  keys to break out of the thought trap of foreboding joy. As Dr. Brown describes truly joyful people, "Do not say, ‘That’s a shudder of terror about feeling joyful. I’m going to dress-rehearse tragedy.  Instead, they say,  'I am going to practice gratitude… Gratitude is a practice. It is tangible.’”

To back up Dr. Brown's point with scripture look at the reminder Paul gives us:

[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.- 2 Timothy 1:7[/mk_blockquote]

We are not to give into fear but rather exercise our authority and power.  Love and self discipline are not weak or lesser than qualities but the most powerful and potent ones we have.  What separates those who breakdown in times of trial and joy from those who do walk through with grace is not based on the magnitude of the situation rather what choices are made. Do you choose to cling to your emotions and fear in the moment or choose to grasp the love and promises of an unfailing God?

In the struggles during my father’s season of failing health, I know both how destructive or life giving our thoughts can be.  Before I began my relationship with the Lord, I could not see the hope in the midst of the struggle for I had built myself a prison out of my thoughts.  After I encountered the power and presence of the Holy Spirit however, His peace came to rest on my heart and mind.  Daily I had a choice to make though: seek more of God or allow the enemy to keep me bound in old patterns. God gave me a sound mind. Would I put my faith to work and put action behind my choices? That is where we assume the responsibility for our freedom of choice.  We make decisions and then must pay the price for them, both in good and bad ways. The good news is our God is with us to guide us every step of the way.

Together friend let us choose to cast out all fear of success.  That means we combat it with the choice to operate with a grateful and appropriately vulnerable heart.  As we resist the enemy will flee.  Place God at center stage in our heart. Then we should give Him room to lead and direct us in our choices regardless of if we are in a season of joy or pain.  It is no simple thing to remain vulnerable, but that is part of what it takes to truly love. Vulnerability is part of the price we pay to live a life of obedience to our personal destiny. Love is not about us, but requires all of us, and vulnerability in God is not being reckless or flippant with our hearts.  Quite the opposite, when you can be vulnerable you are open to be all about Jesus and people.  Yes we will be betrayed and disappointed at times.  But as Jesus led by example, He did not let foreboding joy corner Him into a cage even with this truth.  He chose to be vulnerable anyway.  He chose to be grateful in the midst of the highest highs and the lowest lows.  As Jesus faced the cross in Hebrews 12:2 it says:

[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]for the joy set before him he endured the cross[/mk_blockquote]

If our Lord loved us enough to willingly endured undue torture with a gratefulness and joy of what it was to bring, we can open up our hearts to let others in.  Why not drive out all fear by submitting your heart to choose fullness of joy in the seasons of victory?  Yes trials will come, but be grateful for the blessings in their due season. Wring them dry for every drop of joy, love and encouragement they have.  They are hard earned.  By you. By your Heavenly Father. Now fully enjoy!