“I quit!” It’s not that I ever truly said those words out loud, but they were most certainly the end result of what fear of failure was doing to me. I quit everything! Overcoming fear of failure to me meant quitting before I could actually fail at something. After all, then it was on MY terms!
I would start projects or businesses or even relationships only, later on, to give up on them. I would just abandon them while in progress and, sometimes, even when they were thriving! You see, I never seemed to ever finish ANYTHING! And I could never understand why that was.
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I Quit Everything – Was I Really a Failure?
It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy what I was doing; in most cases I did. But no matter how much enjoyment a project gave me, it would eventually get filed in the archives with every other project I had ever started!
Why? Why could I not ever seem to complete anything?
Some people may look at someone like me and think they are lazy. Maybe they are flaky, maybe unmotivated, maybe selfish.
But it is not any of those things. It is something far deeper; something more hurtful.
You’re a Failure
When I was twenty-four I heard words spoken over the phone that would stay with me for the rest of my life to date. The words cut like a knife and caused scars just as deep as if they came from one. They were words spoken by a close family member.
There were some people at the house to do a job in the yard. This person called me on the phone and asked me to try to catch them when they were on their way out and ask them to give him a call.
My daughter, who was four at the time, was playing in her room and after a few minutes she began crying. I got up and ran in to see what had happened.
I was doing what any mother would do.
While I was in her room comforting her, the people left. It was only a few minutes but I had missed them.
I then called this relative on the phone to tell them I was sorry but my daughter fell and I had to go help her. And that is when he said the words…
“You’re a failure. You always were a failure, you’ll always be a failure”
Words DO Harm!
And it was those words that would contribute to me never finishing things in my life.
I’m a failure.
It started to seep into the core of who I was; a failure. I believed it. After all, it came from someone close to me, someone I trusted.
It wasn’t just those words by themselves, but the cutting remarks that would come from this person from that point onward. However, the words ‘you’re a failure’ were by far the most damaging because they summed up everything this person would ever make me believe about myself over the years.
I felt, without realizing it, that if I just quit something, if I just walk away from it, then I can’t fail at it. If I give up BEFORE I can fail, then this person isn’t proved right.
It was on MY terms. It was MY choice. Therefore, it wasn’t a failure if I just made my own decision to quit!
I Quit Everything – A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
What I didn’t realize was, in my attempt to protect myself from his words, to protect myself from this “prophecy” he had spoken over my life (you’ll ALWAYS be a failure), I WAS indeed proving him right. I was failing. It was just that I was choosing it rather than letting it choose me. Every time I had given up on something was a time I failed.
I had let him win by giving up out of FEAR!
False Evidence Appearing Real
We all know this acronym for FEAR. It is truly accurate.
What I was facing were these words; nothing more than words. I was giving mere human words the power to harm me and mold me into someone God never intended me to be.
You see, I had actually succeeded in life up until that point. I had always been a good student. I had friends, a beautiful daughter and I had a business that I was working from home at the time that was successful.
It was a lie!
I HADN’T always been a failure! But that lie was about to become truth.
After about a year of building a successful business, I quit.
I started college, I quit.
I was married, I quit.
I was fearing failure where I had not even experienced it just because this person labeled me!!
Now to be clear, I was not saved yet at the time. That would come later. But I firmly believe the enemy was setting me up to fail at even that!
Overcoming Fear of Failure and Rejection
After I was saved I thought I would have the victory! I thought this would all change and I would have confidence enough in Christ to be able to finish what I start! I would finally not feel like a failure because God says…
“..and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.” Colossians 2:10 NIV
“…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love…”
Ephesians 1:4 ESV
“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
1 John 4:4 ESV
“ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:13 NIV
But that wasn’t the case!
I began to feel unaccepted. In other words, I felt like somehow I had slipped under some spiritual VIP rope and snuck in but wasn’t truly supposed to be there. Like somehow I got God on a technicality but wasn’t really wanted even by Him.
I felt like somehow I had slipped under some spiritual VIP rope and snuck in but wasn’t truly supposed to be there. Like somehow I got God on a technicality but wasn’t really wanted.
I feared failure even at my salvation, even though my salvation had nothing to do with me!
I Quit Everything, Including my Faith!
So I fell away from my relationship with God. I walked away from Him. I couldn’t even accept that even HE could love me.
Now, I didn’t truly quit. Deep down I still had my faith in Jesus. But I lacked the relationship. I wouldn’t go to God. My belief in Him was there but I didn’t walk in it. I felt like an outsider. Unwanted. Unaccepted. Uninvited. Because that was how this person had made me feel.
He saw my mess. He saw my fear. And He saw my loneliness.
Oh, and there was loneliness. I didn’t even feel my Christian sisters wanted to know me. I still go through that today, like somehow they will see I snuck in! So I kept everyone at a distance and only built surface friendships. I tried to be everything to everyone so that people wouldn’t see the failure this person said I was.
So that I would be liked. So that I would be accepted.
But God is bigger than our failures, He is bigger than our mistakes and He is bigger than the lies the enemy tells (sometimes through the mouths of people who are supposed to show us love) and He breaks through those walls we put up. And He can break through your walls too!
Victory in Overcoming Fear of Failure?
I wish I could sit here and write to you and tell you I had this amazing victory and overcame fear and failure completely, but I didn’t.
I still struggle to believe what God believes about me and it is a daily exercise in the Word to keep reminding myself of who He says I am.
If someone ignores me I automatically go to a place of “I’m not good enough”. It’s a constant struggle to give these thoughts over to God and rebuke the devil and his lies!
THEY ARE ALL LIES!
He wants me to think that way so I will QUIT! He wants me to think that way so that I never live in the victory Jesus died to give me!
God is working in me to turn around the lies that someone spoke over me but I am not 100% there yet. I am FAR from where I was, but I am not there yet.
But daily I spend time in His Word and daily I remind myself what He says about me. Daily I go to verses that tell me about His love for me.
I am not perfect but I am not a failure either! I don’t blog to tell you how perfect my life is. Blogging is so I can share my struggles, my pain, my reality! I do this because I hope to be able to show even one person they are not alone!
Being a Christian and being a blogger doesn’t mean we have our stuff together. We just share our messes! It means we lean even more on a God who can fix our messes and, in time, help us to see ourselves the way He sees us, not the way the world sees us.
Overcoming fear of failure starts with replacing those old recordings with God’s Word!
I am not a failure!
I am not a quitter!
And grace by grace, God is helping me believe that!
Being a Christian and being a blogger doesn’t mean we have our stuff together. We just share our messes!
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Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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