In the previous blog I mentioned working through some tensions earlier in the year. It has been a journey of self evaluation the past few months.
Generally speaking, some people are driven by big dreams and reaching big goals. Others may strive after money, fame or positions of authority. Others seek approval from man and God. Ahem. We approval-seeking people-pleasers must constantly monitor what drives us (or limits us) and why. As I mentioned before, self evaluation, prayer, recognition, repentance and making appropriate adjustments have all been key to becoming the person God created me to be. Work in progress, as they say.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a painfully slow learner. It took years working in my previous secular job for the lightbulb to turn on. And post 2010, now living my life for Jesus, I am still learning slowly yet steadily. If you know me IRL it should be no surprise to you that fear of failure (that is, the sin of pride) is at the root of all that hinders and causes me to stumble. There are real obstacles to growth as well as perceived ones. It takes work, but these can all be overcome.
Thankfully, sometime in the past few weeks, my lightbulb came on again.
And when it did I realized something critical.
More often than I care to admit, fear of failure causes me to wait to be told what to do, or what needs done, and even so far as how to do it. Furthermore, living in that “waiting” mindset breeds an inability (or reluctance) to take initiative. Just shift your car to neutral, hit the gas and see what happens. Nothing but a bunch of noise. Getting moving when we’re stuck in neutral like requires a shift on our part.
Unknowingly and unintentionally, “waiting to be told” places our burdens or responsibilities on someone else. There is unspoken expectation placed on another … be it your peers, leadership, boss, supervisor, elder, etc … that they don’t even know exists. It’s a total cop out that can create all sorts of chaos, frustration, misunderstanding and delay.
And worse, waiting to be told what to do can kill any creativity and innovation that might have existed. That one is still sinking in. But I do believe that in my life, the sin of pride created a fear of failure in me that eventually became so great that it killed my creativity …. and that is a real shame.
I will most likely go to my grave fighting the fear of failure, but I don’t have to live under it’s thumb. Learning how to lead myself is a skill I am working on. It doesn’t mean trying to do everything myself, or working independently of the team. It doesn’t mean going rogue, and following my own agenda. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t seek direction from leadership or tap into the wisdom of my peers. God has blessed my life with these relationships.
It does mean looking forward, identifying areas of improvement and coming up with viable solutions. It means anticipating those things that are coming, preparing for them well and taking the steps necessary to accomplish them. It means good communication, asking the right questions and being open to receiving feedback with humility. It means fostering and promoting unity. It means taking ownership of what God has entrusted to our care, and boldly making the most of every opportunity.
It means growing ever closer to Jesus, through study, worship and prayer, and living in the fullness of His promises. Fear has no place here.