US President, Barack Obama’s speech on the day he was sworn in, struck a note with people all over the world. He had them listening more attentively when he said, “Less measurable, but no less profound, is a sapping of confidence across our land; a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights.” This is sadly the case with many nations not just America. Almost every nation is torn apart with a loss of confidence in its people due to either an attack of an enemy or the internal failure of its people and government. In some countries violence strangles development, in others corruption raises a huge hurdle for good plans to take strides, in some, natural calamities leave cities helpless and distraught and last but not the least financial calamities have now started effecting even once strong economies.
This is true not just for nations, but individually for people too. The fear of failure becomes evident when there is a lack of confidence. In some it affects just a few areas of their lives, for others it looms large over their entire life.
It is reflected purely when you see a child who has failed for the first time in his or her exam, the way he/she retreats into a shell or becomes difficult to handle. It is also seen in those who have been hurt when they refuse to trust anyone else out of fear that they have will hurt them too and deepen their wounds. In the spiritual sense we see those who have not been able to keep God’s commands move away from Him because they are not able to keep His commands.
The reasons why we could fear failure could be :
1. We believe that when we fail at one thing, we are incapable of being successful in anything else
2. We value other’s opinion more than we value God’s.
3. We don’t really know what we are doing.
4. We have failed previously and don’t like that feeling
5. A pride problem : It is difficult for us to accept that we have not been able to do something.
Why and how should we face this fear? We should face it because, this fear can steal us of our joy in life. Preoccupation with fear will make us blind to the good that is happening in our lives right now and hampers our potential in other areas of our life too.
We learn about how to handle failure through King David. When God anointed David as a king, He did not immediately give him the throne. David had to go through many trials that made him one of the favorite kings of Israel. Imagine if King David had given up when King Saul was planning on killing him and he had to go into hiding. We would not have known anything about this man who was known as ‘One after God’s own heart’, we would not have had Psalm 23 as our comfort all our lives.
What men usually see as failure, God sees as training ground and a small part of a bigger picture. It is during these times of tough reality and crippling fear that we experience His comfort and power and PRESENCE in a very tangible way.
Jesus gives us good guidelines to handle this fear in John 16:33. “He says I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” In Jesus we have no such thing as failure, just peace through any tribulation. When you face despair remember God had also gone through it and He knows how to help you. Depend on Him for everything and recognize that through Him alone you can overcome anything in the world.
Seek God’s direction; if you are in the wrong path, you need to change lanes. You can’t keep going in the same path and expect things to change. You need to take a U – turn. The word that represents this act is called ‘repentance’. Repent of your sins and be led by God into a victorious journey.
In case you have an unpleasant experience of failure in the past remember God’s word in Jer 1:19 “ They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.”
In the words of a famous counselor / speaker “In the will of God there is no such thing as failure. Outside the will of God there is no such thing as success.”