A people pleaser with fear can manifest into several different things. For me, I’m finding it triggers inadequacy and fear of failure. A couple of days ago I was asked what my New Year’s resolution was and as I stumbled for my answer, I was faced with something that I didn’t realize I was struggling with. Fear and inadequacy. I don’t like making resolutions, mainly because everyone does it at the new year and I don’t like doing what everyone else does. But there is also another reason that I didn’t realize until then. I fear failure (who doesn’t, I know). Specifically, being a failure rather than just failing at a task and then being inadequate.
God has called me to do something that for years I’ve run from and made excuses for, even though it’s something I enjoy. Writing. There have been many things in my life of ministry that he’s called me to or brought me into that I have felt I could handle. Experience and trust have made these things possible. That and they were always in my comfort zone; my wheelhouse of ministry.
But this is different. Several years ago, God gave me a couple of writing projects to complete. At first I was zealous and excited but after I got the first couple of steps completed I found myself at the base of a mountain that I was not ready to climb. I had to actually get started with the writing part. Thing is, it’s a type of writing I haven’t done in years and as I shared the project with people around me their excitement scared me. What if I couldn’t do it? What if I let them and their expectations down? What if I fail? What if everything I hoped this would be crashed and burned?
If there is one thing I have learned this past year it is this…I can’t do ANYTHING apart from God. The Bible is chock-full of people who were inadequate by the world’s standard and yet God used them to accomplish great things. I want to accomplish great things! I have so many dreams and desires for things but yet I look in the mirror and think, “Who am I? I’m a very passionate person and am great at planning but have always struggled with execution of things. I’m flawed, tremendously! I still have so much to learn before God can use me. I didn’t go to school to be a writer. There’s so much I don’t know.”
But there’s one thing I know do…God has overcome all my burdens! Including my fear, even if I haven’t yet. Granted, I’m facing this fear in this specific area of my life. There’s plenty of other fear that God will have to extinguish and he will in time. But right now, I can be brave in this! One of my favorite passages of scripture is Joshua 1. Moses had just died and Joshua, his assistant, was about to be used by God to lead the Israelites into the promiseland that they had just spent 40 years wandering to find. If there was someone to feel inadequate and be fearful…um…I think Joshua had good reason. But all throughout the chapter God tells him to “be strong and courageous.” I love that! Another person in the Old Testament whose story I love is Gideon. He was the original 300…and the biggest coward found in scripture (though Judas might have him tied, but you get the point). God called him out of the hole he was hiding in to lead an army of 30,000 that God then dwindled down to 300 to go against an entire city. Both men found victory by God’s grace and strength.
If God could use these men who feared to lead an entire nation and army, surely he could give me courage to write a little diddy of a story. So I guess this serves as my “new year’s resolution” blog (though I was convinced I wouldn’t write one). What are you running from that God’s calling you to this year? What are you afraid to face? What do you feel inadequate for? Don’t get me wrong, I’m still working on this one and will probably struggle with it the entirety of this project. I still have plenty of other fears/inadequacies as well…I’m too inadequate for anyone to want to date or marry, I’ll disappoint people who count on me, I’ll never accomplish success in my “tent-making” career, I’ll never see my dreams of vocational ministry come to pass…many more. But if I’m too afraid to try, if I’m too afraid to be obedient, too afraid to step out in faith then those fears might just become reality. If God calls us to things no matter how big they are, HE HAS A WAY (David and Goliath come to mind!). That’s how he works, so HE gets the glory and not us.
So a closing thought and lesson God’s spent the last two years showing me. One, we cannot do anything on our own strength which is why God is always waiting to be our strength. Two, even if we do fail it is never in vain. Sometimes worldly failure means Kingdom success…which is far more important and precious than anything we could hope for.