Conquering Fear of Failure...a postscript

Teaching my former students last Tuesday night.

Teaching my former students last Tuesday night.

I had intended to move on to another common fear in this blog, but something happened last week that demanded changing that plan. That something was the very event that triggered the fear of failure I described in the last blog, the event for all of my former high school students, Let Me Teach You One More Time. Several weeks before the appointed night, I counted a grand total of 11 who had signed up. My stomach dropped. The room I had rented held 80-100, and an images flashed through my imagination of a tiny turnout with the inevitable shame I would feel. Fear clutched at me, but with the loving encouragement of my family, I pressed on.

When the event rolled around last Tuesday, it was nothing like those images. The room was packed. I first shared the journey of my heart as a teacher and then taught them from the Landmarks book about God's story and our identity. The attentiveness was beautiful. But the real fireworks came when a panel of faculty came up and shared their own story with piercing honesty, mesmerizing the listeners. One of the panel, the former headmaster, was so struck by the time that he told me it felt like a holy moment. Students stayed afterwards, almost as if they didn't want to leave.

And I am still hearing the ripple-out effects. Just today I was approached by a mom of one of those students telling me with tears how powerful the evening had been for her son. I look back now at my previous fears, and I'm startled by the contrast. What does this all mean? Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Fear distorts reality. If we listen to our the voice of fear instead of the voice of God, we will always misinterpret life.
  2. Walking with God means faith and obedience. The opposite of that is fear and passivity. Over and over in the Bible He asks men and women to take crazy risks of obedience and trust Him for the result. He is still in that business today.
  3. Taking small risks today trains us to take the bigger ones for God when they come.
  4. Finally, the kingdom of God grows in cycles of desperation and deliverance. We go out on a limb for God, find ourselves in a predicament, and then He comes to the rescue. He gets the glory, and we get the joy. That certainly was my experience here.

So, what risk do you need to take for God today?

Sharing some of their own story, the panel included Daniel Moore, Richard Anderson, and Dan Carpenter.

Sharing some of their own story, the panel included Daniel Moore, Richard Anderson, and Dan Carpenter.