Some days I blame it on my daddy issues, and some days I blame it on being a firstborn, and every day I blame it on my nature. It is in my nature to work hard and be successful. Not the best, but successful. I will finish, and I will finish strong. It is in my nature to please people and make them proud of me. I will not make them regret choosing me for ____. None of those desires are wrong, but somewhere along the way growing up, I placed them a little too high on my priority list. Like, higher than people and their feelings and my emotional and spiritual well being.
I’ve spent the last couple of decades living in fear of failure, and the last couple of years doing something about it. First things first, I acknowledged it on a counselor’s couch. He’s the one who slid that sheet across the desk and showed me the power I had allowed that fear in my life. Next, I began speaking about it to my husband. I brought it up all of the time, in all of the little examples that flew by without him noticing. This is why I don’t want to work out with you or sing with you. This is why I overreact when dinner is late, or when a homework assignment gets missed. This is why I’m so easily embarrassed when you and the boys pick on me. Being scared of being a bad wife, a bad mom, a bad friend, a bad leader… it paralyzed me. And then it made me bitter.
But over the last year or so, I’ve begun to heal and accept things for what they are. Regardless of the path my life takes, there will be failures along the way. It sounds silly to say that I had to practice acknowledging that, but it’s true. I’ve spent a lot of my life so far compensating, which is quite hilarious when you think about the work that Jesus did for me. Nothing I could ever do would be great enough to earn my way into a “right standing” with Him and the Father. Jesus took care of that on the cross. He paid for my salvation and then he gave it to me freely. So I’m not sure why I’ve tended to lean that way, feeling like I can overcome the negatives with a whole lot of positives. I will let my husband and kids down. I will screw up at work and in friendships. And every single time I do, I get to plead the blood of Jesus. I get to confess, repent, and move on. With this perspective, there is total freedom.
From now on, I want to really learn what it means to walk by the Spirit. I know that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And I know from experience that where freedom is found, there is hope and there is joy. I am free to live a life without fear because I know the truth and the hope and the joy that lies on the other side of failure, thanks to Jesus.