Many people fear failure, but what we should really fear is the result of not trying. Why? Because if we do not move out of our comfort zone, we will not improve and grow. And when we improve and grow we are better able to help and encourage others. Staying in our comfort zones, does not help us overcome obstacles. It does not lead to progress.
A surprising and welcome discovery of the Bible is that God uses failures. The Bible is full of people with weaknesses who made mistakes but God’s strength is shown as He used these people for good. Moses was afraid to talk in front of people. Peter denied knowing Christ. Jonah ran from God’s will. God continued to work on these people and continues to work on us as well. None of us is perfect and we all have weaknesses. But empowered by God, we can move past fear to follow God’s will for our lives.
Pushing ourselves to improve is something that is effortful. Many people need to be motivated and receive positive feedback to continue working on it. Too often we want to seek comfort instead of letting ourselves feel vulnerable as we try something we may feel inadequate at first doing.
Noah probably felt uncomfortable and overwhelmed building an ark in the desert. Esther was willing to face possible death by speaking up to save others. David looked foolish attacking Goliath with a slingshot. All of these people moved past fear though, and responded with faith.
When God calls us to move outside of our comfort zones, His strength will be on display. Our best moments in life are not the days when we had nothing to do, but often when we face great challenges and are willing to persevere to overcome them. Journalist, George Lorimer, has an excellent quote about how to approach each day. “You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.” When we are willing to stretch our capabilities during the day, we will sleep better at night. God has made us to serve Him, and it is natural to feel good when we serve Him faithfully.
When we are willing to grow it enables us to grow others. The Christian community is strengthened when we move past fears of failure. Pastor and author, Norman Vincent Peale, provides a short but powerful prayer request we can make to God. “Ask the God who made you to keep remaking you.” Colossians 2:6-7 reinforces this. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. When fear comes knocking on your door, send faith to answer! God will provide what we need to overcome fear!
Christian, author, and professor of mathematics education.