When Your World Spins out of Control

by | Apr 24, 2020 | Bible | 0 comments

I think one of the greatest things that I have learned in the nine months that I have been on the mission field is that failing is good. I am not talking about being a quitter. I am not talking about not putting the effort or planning in, but I am talking about continuing to do what you know you should do even though you know that you will make mistakes and fail. I am learning that one of the most significant barriers to growth and success is the fear of failing and making mistakes. 

I grew up in a home with eleven siblings. Yes, that is right, including my parents, we were a family of fourteen. It was a great experience, and I enjoyed growing up in a big family. My family is very competitive, and we love playing sports. As you might guess, this instilled in me from a very early age the desire to win. We generally had a great time, although occasional games ended up in punching matches or with the monopoly board thrown across the living room. A majority of the games that ended up in fights were because of me. I would get furious if my team did not win, or if it looked like we were going to lose. I think I have learned how to control my anger much better now, although it tends to come out in a family basketball game ocassional. I am telling you this to say I have a tough time being neutral about sports or anything in life. I don’t like losing. I like winning.

We may express this in different ways, but I would guess that a majority of us would say that we like winning, and as a natural result of that, we don’t like losing or failing. We have such a love of winning that we feel sad or depressed when our football team loses even though we did not play, and we were not at the game. We are so consumed by winning that we let a game hundreds of miles away affect us. We don’t like to lose under any circumstances. It is not entirely wrong to want to win, but the biggest problem with this is that many times the fear of failure prevents us from taking the steps to winning in the long run. I have recently experienced this in my life and it is one of the things that I struggle with on a daily basis. I am currently in language school learning Spanish.

My goal as a missionary for the past nine months and the next year or so is to learn Spanish. I know that winning means that at the end of two years, I will be able to teach, preach, and speak fluent Spanish. However, every day there is a fear of failing. If I do go on this trip with only Peruvians, do you know how many times I will be corrected? If I do practice my Spanish with my friend this afternoon, I am going to make a lot of mistakes so it would be easier to study for a message. If I do preach this sermon, I am going to say some words wrong, so it would just be easier to stick with teaching the memory verse as I have been doing. If I do teach this class at Bible College, there will be times I will not be able to put into words what I want to say. It would just be easier to knock doors because I pretty much already know what I am going to tell them. However, I know that I must embrace failing in these small things to learn and win in the long run.

The tendency is to try to make ourselves look good in the short term and not put ourselves in a situation where we fail. The problem with that is that after a year or two goes by, sure maybe we haven’t had many embarrassing moments, but we are about to have the hugely embarrassing moment of not reaching our goals or growing at all. I don’t know what your fear of failure might be, but if it is necessary or helps you reach your goal, you should learn to love failure. 

Maybe there is a new skill or language that you want to learn, but you are afraid of failing, so you study on your own and never tell your friends or ask for help from someone who could really help you. You don’t practice in real-world situations because you don’t want to make mistakes, and so after two years, you can barely speak or have hardly any practical knowledge of the skill you wanted to learn. Maybe you have a desire to start a ministry or to win people to Christ, but you don’t want to fail, so you decide you will wait to see when God will open the door. Two years later, you have done nothing or very little. However, if you had decided to embrace failure, you would have started a ministry and tried many different ways to win people to Christ. You would have failed and made a lot of mistakes. Maybe people at the church would still be talking about some of the stupid stuff you did. BUT you probably would have seen someone saved and shared the Gospel with a lot of people. Learning to overcome your fear of short term failure will allow you to see long term success.

Failure is not the opposite of success; it is part of success 

I honestly do not want to publish this article right now because I know that my writing skills are not very good. Still, I have decided to try to live what I preach, so I am publishing this not so great article with the hope that one day after many failed articles, I will learn to write a good one.


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