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(Presented by Lisa Bishop)
What do you do in the face of failure?
All of us will face varying degrees of failure throughout our lifetime and when we do, it takes courage to get up and go again; to give something another shot, and as the saying goes “if at first you don’t succeed, ….to try, try, again.” When you experience failure, how do you respond? Do you give up and throw in the towel? Maybe you’re tempted not to even take on that daunting challenge because the fear of disappointing, not measuring up, being made fun of, or looking like a fool, holds you back.
Whether it’s speaking up in a meeting, going for that promotion, or pursuing the dream God put on your heart, fear can stop you dead in your tracks. So in the face of fear, what you need is courage. I recently heard a definition of courage that resonated with me.
“Courage is the ability to face and overcome fear while prioritizing a greater objective. It is not the absence of fear but rather the determination to act despite its presence, guided by a strong sense of purpose and a commitment to achieving a higher good.”
Courage is the determination to act in spite of fear because there is something greater at stake.
It reminds me of the well-known story of Peter in Matthew 14:22-31. It’s the scene where Jesus walks on water as he makes his way towards the disciples who are in a boat a considerably far distance from land. The waves are crashing, the wind is blowing furiously, and the disciples, thinking they are seeing a ghost, cry out in terror and fear.
“But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:27-31).
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink. Fear will try to sink you. Don’t let fear of failure keep you from stepping out of the boat. When you hear that voice telling you to back off and shrink back, be determined to act anyway. And when you find yourself failing at something (because you will) your first instinct may be to give up but resist the urge and instead press on! Push through the fear for the greater objective. Don’t let fear define you. You may fail from time to time but you are not a failure.
Is there something you have been avoiding doing up until now because of fear? What fear is gripping and controlling your decision making? Instead of letting fear pin you down, take that first step, press on, persevere, and learn to put fear in its proper place. And if you fumble, get back up and try again. Jesus will reach out his hand and help you get up and go again.