Are you afraid of failing? No? Are you sure?

basketballMy family and I spent last Saturday at my grandparents’ house. They are two of the most hospitable people I have ever known…makes me wonder why I did not get those genes! As such, they give up space in their home to keep toys for my boys when they come to visit. One favorite is the “age appropriate” basketball goal, which is about 5′ tall…even I can dunk on that one! Aside from being called for goal-tending quite a bit, I have a blast playing horse, one-on-one, around the world, etc with my two oldest, ages 8 and 7. Well, on Saturday my oldest quit the game in a fit once he felt like he could not win the game. This is not the first time we’ve had issues like this with the two of them; they are both very competitive and would rather not play the game than risk losing. Their joy of winning and hatred of losing exceeds the joy of playing the game. The lesson is obvious right? I thought so, and we had the appropriate discussions…again. But, maybe the lesson for us is not as obvious as we think.

Here’s the question for the day…do you love to win and hate to lose so much that your joy of playing the game is forgotten? Said another way, are you so addicted to success and fearful of failure that these drive your day-to-day decisions more than a commitment to doing the “right” thing? If your initial answer is “hmm, not really” (as mine was) please read on a little further before drawing a conclusion. Not everyone shares this struggle, but I think many of us do without knowing it.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, then you know what SeqHim is basically about. The vision is significant, and the mission is seemingly impossible given the state of the world and the church today. You’ll also know that while this is a full-time passion, it’s a less than part-time job…I already have a full-time job and a full-time family. Back in January, before I started the blog, I “wrestled” with the Lord trying to get Him to tell me what His specific will was for this project. I’m thankful for His answer at the time, “I’m not going to tell you where this is going; just take one step at a time according to the vision you have”. The blog was the first step, and I’ve been taking steps ever since. It was all pretty easy…I enjoyed it and was “successful” taking these steps. There was really no risk of failure…I could not lose. But that is now changing.

I’m now at a place where the next step seems impossible, and I went back to “wresting” with the Lord again begging him to reveal where this was going. He’s silent, except for one nugget of truth which is the answer to this question: why do I need to know where all of this is going before I take the next step? The answer is, because I am afraid I might fail and/or experience pain. I had a 100% chance of success starting a blog; I have a very small percent chance that this next step will be successful, IMO. I too, if I’m being honest, have the same problem that my son had…I don’t want to play the game if I don’t think I will win.

If you are willing, I’d like you to do something. In all things, seek the Lord’s will through prayer and Scripture. But if you find yourself struggling to know what His will is, ask yourself why you really need to know His will on this matter. Could it be that you want to know because you are afraid of failing and want some assurance that your path will be successful, as you define success? His silence may indicate that you do not need to know what you are asking for and that this is a test. Here’s a suggestion: rather than seeking guidance on a large goal or plan, seek guidance on the ‘right’ next step. In many cases, I’ve found that the next step, if it is small enough, is pretty obvious. Scripture is full of the phrase, “do not be afraid”. In some cases, there is an assurance of ‘success’; e.g. check out 2 Kings 6:16-17. In other cases, there is not; e.g. see Esther’s dilemma, climaxing in Esther 4:13-16. Either way, focus your faith not on an outcome, but on a person…Jesus Christ. Do not be afraid, because God is with us and will support us and will protect us through the unpredictable ups and downs of life. (See Isaiah 41:10). Trust Him to use you how He wishes, in success and failure, rather than using Him as a crystal ball you can use to stay on a “success” path at all cost to righteousness.

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