Last week I shared a post on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) that said…
Yes, I have been living in recovery and survival mode for the past 2 1/2 years. Yes, things are beginning to change and I’m ready to start moving forward into the future rather than still just trying to recover from the past and survive the moment. Yes, I have hopes and dreams again, and it’s exciting!
And yes, it is also very scary.
It’s scary because what if….WHAT IF…I have to deal with a major hurt again, or I fail miserably with regards to what my new hopes and dreams are. I’ve experienced my life falling apart, things not working out like I had thought, and being hurt beyond what I could have imagined, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid of that happening again.
What if I put myself out there and I am rejected again?
What if I step out in faith and it feels like the bottom falls out from underneath me?
What if I want something and go for it, and I don’t get it?
What if I have a dream or hope or desire, and I can’t obtain it like I want to?
What if I get hurt?
What if I fail?
Fear is a very powerful force. It will cause us to freeze in moments where we know we need to move. It will keep us from trying something new, from dreaming again after experiencing a failed dream, from loving again after being rejected, or from imagining a better life than present circumstances because we can’t see what it might look like.
We don’t want to fail. We don’t like to fail. So we easily become afraid of failure. And we begin to develop a fear of failure.
The ironic thing about the fear of failure is that it becomes its own prophecy.
When we allow our self to be afraid of failure, we often end up not trying at all. And thus we end up failing…failing to accomplish something new, of gaining something better, seeing something greater, and moving into a future that is different from the present.
We end up avoiding any kind of success or blessing in our life, and we remain stuck in the moment. We actually end up failing to succeed or move into something better. We fail to get what we want or even need because we were too afraid to try.
God uses moments that hurt us and times that we fail to grow us and prepare us for what is coming next. He uses what seems bad to bring about something good. Yes, pain and failure are not fun, but it’s not something to fear.
If God uses moments that hurt us and times that we fail to grow us and prepare us for what is coming next, then we can begin to replace our fears with faith and trust. We can trust that God has a plan that is bigger than our current pain and failure, and we can have faith that as we continue to move forward, God will guide and direct us.
“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) (click here for a very good/challenging brief message about this verse)
Instead of asking “What if” questions about how we could get hurt again or fail again, we should ask ourselves what we may be missing out on if we allow our fear to dictate our actions.
What if I miss out on some amazing blessing the Lord has for me?
What if I miss out on an incredible experience?
What if God leads me into something so much better than I even expected?
What if joy and peace and comfort could be mine, but I don’t obtain them because I was afraid to take the necessary steps?
What if God wants to teach me something and I miss the lesson?
What if I succeed?
May we learn to be brave when facing the possibility of pain and failure…and may we not allow fear to keep us from still trusting God and living by faith. May we understand that being brave doesn’t mean there will always be an absence of fear, but rather it means being willing to still move forward even in the presence of fear. May we realize that God is using our pain and failure for our good, so we don’t need to fear. And may we choose to not allow fear to cause us to miss out on the successes and blessings we can experience.