Conquering Fear, Part 1: Fear of Failure

It happened again. That tightening in my stomach with the racing thoughts in my mind.  A number of months ago, at the suggestion and encouragement of many friends, I decided to hold an event for all of my former high school students, some 17 years worth. The title: Let Me Teach You One More Time. The target date: tomorrow, September 23! The idea was simple: tell the story of what has happened to me and teach them about God’s amazing work in the heart. 

So with that simple idea grew nearly 700 email invitations, large-scale event planning, and a million details to handle, all of which was out of my comfort zone. But as the event got closer, my gut began to tie in knots when this question loomed, Would anybody come? And underneath that was the more enduring fear, Would I appear as a failure in public?

The question of failure as haunted me all of my life. It has driven me, perplexed me, routed me, and often overwhelmed me. But so much of the last few weeks has been reflecting on my fear and then deflecting it away. What has changed? Many things. But perhaps the most important is finding myself connected as a man to something much larger than myself, something much more enduring and lasting than any of our accomplishments or successes. I speak of the great theme of the entire Bible. I speak of the kingdom of God.

God’s kingdom is simply wherever God’s will is loved and obeyed. It is written into the fabric of the Lord’s prayer when Jesus taught us to pray for God’s will to be done and his kingdom to come. But here is the stunning upshot of this prayer: God’s kingdom is the only kingdom that will not fail (Daniel 2:44). Everything else fails, all human organizations and governments, all enterprises and affairs, all of this will one day either be washed away or subsumed under this conquering kingdom.

So to live for his kingdom means that in the end we cannot fail, whatever our present struggles. To realize that I am a tagalong in this grand enterprise causes my fear to dissipate, replaced by a growing wonder and boldness. This is not about me or about anybody else. This is about his kingdom, a kingdom that can never fail.

So as that big event approaches tomorrow, I hope to rest in the truth of God’s ultimate success. I hope you can also.

Next week’s blog: Tackling the fear of rejection

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