So, what is your greatest fear? Take a moment to think about it. And I’m not talking about the easy stuff like acrophobia (heights) or claustrophobia (confined spaces) or arachnophobia (spiders) or hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (long words)—all perfectly legitimate fears, in my opinion. 😉 I’m talking about the intangible ones like fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of letting people down, fear of change, fear of loneliness, fear of abandonment, fear of intimacy—those things. Which one of those fears grips your heart? Why do I ask? Because that’s the thing God wants you to face—and not only face but get over. 🤨 As in overcome.
And so . . . be advised that one day . . . probably sooner than later . . . God will give you an opportunity to conquer that fear. Meaning, you will fail. You will be rejected. You will let people down. You will face change, etc. What? 😯 Why would God do that to you? Very good question. And here’s the answer.
In order to conquer something, you must be defeated by it first. The defeat is where you learn your weakness. And identifying your weakness is the first step in overcoming it. Here’s the thing though. You will probably not conquer it the first time or the second time, or even the third. But if failing is your fear, then God will give you an opportunity to fail. And when you do—fail, that is—he will be there to catch you, to walk with you through the agony of it, to offer his strength to endure it, to embrace you with his compassion to soften the blow of it.
And when you have another chance to fail, you will remember that God carried you through it. Of course, you will still fear the failure that second time. But there is a chance you will not fear it as much, knowing you did survive the first time with God’s help. And as you continue to have opportunities to fail, your fear decreases because you are so familiar with failing that it is no big deal anymore. 😁 And one day you will overcome the fear of failure and merely look upon it as an opportunity to grow stronger. But make sure you’re catching the meat of this lesson. The result is not that you become more successful and your chances of failing decrease. No. The result is that the fear of failing decreases. 🙂
However. If failure is your greatest fear, there is a chance that you will always fear failure. That you will never overcome it. Wait. 😕 What? Yeah, sorry about that. Why would I say such a thing? Because this fear just might be your thorn—the thorn that God wants you to have. God wants us to have a thorn? 😦 Maybe. He gave one to Paul. Paul didn’t want it. He prayed God would take it away. But God did not! Why not? Paul concluded it was to keep him “from becoming conceited.” (1) Paul’s thorn kept him humble.
And so, I think, perhaps that your greatest fear can do the same thing. Now, I firmly believe that it is possible to conquer fears. I have conquered some myself with God’s help. And I hope you conquer your greatest fear. But I also know, from personal experience, that my greatest fear—even with countless opportunities to overcome it—is still my greatest fear. And recently I have concluded that it will always be with me because it keeps me humble and very dependent on God. It is where I have learned the same lesson God was teaching Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2)
And so. My weakness, my greatest fear, is also where I experience God’s grace and God’s power and God’s presence. And although I hate my greatest fear, I love experiencing God on that level. And as I continue to have the opportunity to face my greatest fear, I am now in the habit of reciting this verse aloud: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (3)
And God’s presence and God’s promise relieves my fear. Every time.
Until the next time. 😬
I’m a work in progress. 😏
(1) 2 Corinthians 12:7 (2) 2 Corinthians 12:9 (3) Deuteronomy 31:8