This week, I’m continuing my series on overcoming fear for the new year. Fear will often appear to be bold, maybe even brash or pushy. But, the underlying motivation can be fear. One of the biggest fears I had to overcome in my life was my fear of failing because it was one of the biggest issues controlling my life. The root behind fear of failure is attaching success to worth. So, we need to constantly find ways to succeed so we feel value. When we don’t know what love is or we’ve not experienced unconditional love we learn how to get love by doing things. We learn that when we do things people around us are pleased and they return this pleasure with things that resemble love. For many of us this is the closest thing to love that we experience and this sets our aim towards performance and success. Failure reinforces what I already believe about myself and that is I am worthless.
Success Can Be Rooted in Fear
The problem is its rooted in fear, but we don’t realize it because we are highly motivated to succeed and we are very good at getting things done. So, what is the problem if we are successful? The problem is that we usually feel awful. When I was younger when things didn’t go my way, I had tantrums and I’ve seen plenty of adults have tantrums when things don’t turn out the way they want. The tantrums may all look different but the same reason, while everyone else had moved on to something else I was still fuming about losing or not getting my way. It was important to me, because my self-worth was attached to the success. If I didn’t succeed I felt worthless, so if I knew there was little opportunity for me to succeed in something there was a good chance I wouldn’t bother to even try it. Remember, in my mind failure was a person and it was me. So, the only way to not feel like a failure was to succeed in something so that I could receive a reward, which then made me feel better, but it was only for a short time and then the cycle would begin again.
This is important because for a lot of people they are looking for love in all the wrong ways. I see the signs of people who are living with the fear of failure over them and they are stepping on whoever and whatever it takes to succeed. People can be in the fight of their lives not to accomplish their jobs, but to fight the feelings of failure they are trying to overcome. One of the biggest challenges is recognizing this is what we are really doing.
Unconditional Love Provides the Value We Seek
The good news is there is a solution for failure and its love, true unconditional love. What we are looking for is value, but what we have settled for instead is success because it brings a false sense of value and this is still better than nothing, but God offers us the true value that we are really looking to receive. Value is not going to church and hearing another sermon or even being told because many were told they were loved, the problem is we didn’t feel loved or valued because there was little meat behind the words.
I believe there are people reading this who understand exactly what I am saying. I have met women who moved from relationship to relationship because they kept thinking they would find the value they desired their whole lives. I have sat with businessmen changing companies one more time because they believe they will finally achieve the pinnacle of their success. I have also sat with suicidal teens who couldn’t figure out why no one cared about them.
Failure Is an Event Not A Person
God taught me that failure is an event not a person and that value can never be measured by what someone accomplishes. He showed me that its actually the reverse. My failures are His opportunities to teach me how to overcome and grow deeper than I could ever grow through success and those who are unable to do for themselves often have a greater value and is why babies and especially unborn babies are so precious and worthy of protecting.
1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” The word torment means to punish someone by cutting off. It implies the person is not in relationship, but treated like a criminal. They are not worthy. People who have fear of failure don’t feel worthy. They are cut off from whole relationships. They don’t feel connected. They have not been made complete by genuine love. It took me quite a bit of time to receive God’s genuine love. I didn’t know how to respond to something given freely. I felt like I needed to do something for what I was receiving, but today I am fully secure in what God has given me, but I did have to learn how to give away what I was receiving and that may have been even more difficult.
Authentic Love Provides Freedom to Live with Joy
Today, if you are struggling with needing to succeed to feel value or if you don’t know what genuine love looks like. Maybe you are a high achiever or maybe you don’t even bother trying because no one cares. My message to you is that God does care and provides His authentic love to you. Accepting His love will start you down the path of living for all the right reasons and enjoying life regardless of others opinions. You can be free to find out who you really were created to be and that is the love that beats all failure.