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What Are You Afraid Of?

Ever heard of Syngenesophobia? It’s a fear of relatives – perhaps something you experienced over the festive period. 

Chances are you’ve never heard of this more obscure phobia. However, you’re probably quite familiar with Kakorrhaphiophobia – the fear of failure or defeat.

It’s pretty difficult to say and perhaps it’s even harder to overcome.

But how ambitious are you being?

January is a natural junction when we review what we’re doing and make plans for the year ahead.

Perhaps you’ve set your own personal New Year’s resolutions. You might even be setting out a vision for your church or ministry for the next 12 months.

But are you really stepping out in faith for 2020, or are you worried that by setting your goals too high you’ll fail?

Scientists tell us that we are born with just two innate fears – a fear of loud sounds and a fear of falling. Every other fear, including a fear of failure, we learn on the way.

And because we learn these fears, we can also ‘unlearn’ them. 

Failure is inevitable. None of us are perfect. So as we journey through life, even the best laid plans often go awry. And that shouldn’t hold you back.

If you need more evidence, then take a look at the Bible – it’s full of failures!

 

The Bible – a book of failures

Chances are the mistakes you’ve and will make in your life pale into insignificance when compared to some of these characters.

Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David and Peter all made catastrophically bad choices.

  • When the going got tough for Abraham in the Promised Land, rather than trusting in God, he upped sticks and headed for Egypt.
  • Then you have David, who commits adultery with Bathsheba and sees that her husband is killed in battle.
  • And what about Peter? Despite boasting of his love for Jesus, Peter denied Jesus not once, not twice, but three times!

It’s important to remember that, in spite of their shortcomings, their lack of judgement and their many faults, God used these men powerfully.

God doesn’t set us up to fail but He can use our failures for His purposes. If we let him, that is.

Prepare to fail

Did you know that the water dispersing solution WD40 was so named because it took its creators 40 attempts to come up with the right solution?

Each time they’d alter the ingredients slightly, change the ratios and tweak the processes until they found the perfect combination.

In short, they used their failures to build success. But how many of us would have given up at WD20?

Do not be afraid

The devil loves it when we write ourselves off. But God uses imperfect people who fail in their attempts to serve Him all the time.

So as you look ahead to 2020, chances are that you won’t smash your goals first time.

Don’t let a fear of failure hold you back. There are hundreds – yes, hundreds – of verses in the Bible that tell us not to be afraid.

Where we fall short, God steps into the breach with His Grace, dusts us off, builds us up and sends us out to do even greater things.

As Theodore Roosevelt said, “The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.”

Don’t be that man or woman.

As you prepare to step into 2020, take this verse to heart:

“He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8.