When the Fear of Failure Paralyzes You

As a bit of a perfectionist, I have a tendency to shy away from commitments or challenges I may not excel at.

Failure is not a pretty option for me.  

My husband took on his first senior pastor job about a year ago. Not wanting to take on too much too soon, I’ve waited to settle into our country church before attempting to dig into ministry right away. Yet as I began to work my way into a groove of ministry in this rural setting, I feel stuck. I have a million tools in my ministry tool belt but no clue which one to use and the fear of failure paralyzes me from doing much of anything. 

Doubts creep in and I wonder . . .

. . . what if this idea flops?

. . . what if the older ladies hate it or the younger ladies think it is lame?

. . . what if no one shows up?

Maybe you can relate?

Yet the Lord is faithful to encourage and move me past paralysis. I still don’t know how best to contextualize all my awesome suburbanite ideas for this rural community, but my tools, training, and ministry experience mean nothing without faith in a very capable God. And my very capable God is working in this rural town and He may choose to not incorporate me into His plan for these women if I choose to stay stuck in the fear of failure

Ladies, we’re missing out when we choose to do nothing.

Even if we are not sure what to do or how to do it, we must set our minds to trying. You and I must be willing to chance failure for the sake of God’s Kingdom coming — ’cause it’s coming — and sometimes the very vessel God wants to use for His glory is an imperfect pastor’s wife.  

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 1 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

Are you afraid of attempting to minister in a certain area? Do you feel inadequate and ill-equipped? Will you trust Him to use even your failures to show His glory to those around you? How have you see God use your failures in the past? Let’s chat in the comments.

Published May 19, 2014