Fear and fear of failure extinguish the fires of success in our lives.
Remember when your friends in grade school would dare you or double-dare you to do something? You had a lot of courage back then and you weren’t afraid to accept a dare, no matter how difficult the challenge. But it seems the older we get and the more experiences we have, the more real our fears become.
Fear is one of the most crippling forces plaguing believers today. Like a thief, it robs us of our courage and desire to excel in life. I’ve heard many speakers say the word “fear” is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real, and it is. But more importantly, fear is the absence of faith and a tactic used to stifle our progress and cause us to give up on our dreams and aspirations.
God affords us many opportunities to fulfill our purpose and destiny, but the mere presence of fear and fear of failure extinguish the fires of success in our lives. However, failure can be beneficial if we learn how to fail forward. In other words, if we use temporary setbacks and obvious failures as opportunities to learn and grow—and avoid making the same mistakes over and over again—we will be successful.
Here are four lessons I’ve learned:
• Failure should never get a chance to take root and flourish in our lives.
• Failure is never final when we learn from past mistakes and correct them.
• Failure is simply a stepping stone to success when we fail forward and get up.
• Life’s failures become the best teachers because they help us gain invaluable experience.
There are many types of fear, but the end result is the same: a future robbed of its potential and an individual haunted by the mystery of what might have been.
So how do we overcome fear? By daring to do. Dare to do what you as an individual have been called to do. Dare to be successful. Dare to dream big and accomplish your goals. Dare to act on your faith. Dare to make a positive difference. By daring to do, we can dramatically diminish our level of fear.
One of my favorite passages of Scripture is “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Ps. 23: 4-5, NKJV). Can you imagine what it feels like to “fear no evil”? This is exactly the provision we have been given to protect and set us free from the bondage of fear.
How would you live your life without the presence of fear? How would you act if you knew you could not fail? What would you do differently if you had nothing to fear? What goals would you aspire to achieve if you knew failure was not a possibility?
Consider this: What if Mother Teresa had refused to dedicate her life to service and altruism because she feared living in poverty? What if Nelson Mandela had refused to oppose apartheid in South Africa because he feared imprisonment? What if Martin Luther King Jr. had refused to promote civil rights and preach a message of peace and nonviolence because he feared assassination?
What if Jesus had refused to accept the sins of the world and redeem mankind because He feared dying on the cross? Where would we be if some of the world’s most notable heroes had succumbed to fear?
The best way to overcome fear is to face it. Don’t allow fear of failure or fear of the unknown prevent you from pursuing your goals and fulfilling your God-given destiny in life. Go after your dreams with fervor and passion. Ask for help when you need it, and don’t stop until you receive it!
Start today. Determine in your heart and mind to leave a legacy of greatness and a life characterized by faith, not fear.
KINGSLEY FLETCHER is an international minister, educator, humanitarian and the author of Who Says You Can’t? (Charisma House), from which this column is adapted.
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