Scared You Will Fail? Good!

By Doug Armey

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”  Robert F. Kennedy

I’ve spent sleepless nights staring at the ceiling in the dark worrying if we would survive failure.

We’ve built five businesses and helped turnaround a dying church.  People have sabotaged and threatened me.  We’ve come close to bankruptcy once and failure countless times.  I’ve been scared.  Yet, would I go back and do it all over the easy way?  Not take on the challenges?  Sometimes I dream about that.  But no.

We all have dreams.  Dreams to accomplish great and meaningful things.  Dreams to be successful beyond the ordinary.

But when we set out to accomplish them it’s scary.  We could fail.  And the greater the dream the more spectacular the failure.

It’s so easy to run away.  To think, “What am I doing?  I can’t accomplish that.  If I try and fail what will everyone say?”

So we can settle back into the ordinary where most others safely exist.  And at times wonder “What if?”

Jack Canfield writes, “Successful people are willing to take a leap of faith, even if they are afraid. . . . I also truly believe that if a goal isn’t a little bit scary, or if it doesn’t create a bit of fear within you, it’s probably not worth doing. . . . I say, feel that feeling, and get excited because feeling that fear means you are on to something good!”

I like that.  Embrace the fear and get excited.  Then take the leap of faith even while you’re afraid.

The writer of Hebrews says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, NASB95)

Faith isn’t seeing.  It’s having confidence in what you hope for but don’t see yet.  It’s believing in what you dream about but is beyond your power to produce.  You need God’s power or you’ll fail.  That’s scary.

There’s a scene in the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade , that pictures it well.  Indy is in a mountain fortress trying to get to the treasure room on the other side of a bottomless cavern.  His clues direct him to cross the cavern but he sees no bridge.  As he rereads the riddle he realizes it’s implying he needs to step out into the abyss.  Finally, he decides it’s the only way.  So with his heart racing in fear he steps out into nothing and suddenly the bridge appears as his foot touches it.

At times, to achieve our dreams, we need to step out into the abyss.

Trust God is the bridge and he will appear when we need him.

What are your dreams?  What would you love to accomplish?  If you couldn’t fail what would you do?

Does the potential for failure scare you?  Good.  Probably means you’re on to something great.

But analyze your dreams.

  • Are they good?
  • Do they honor God?
  • Will they bless the ones I love?
  • Do they flow out of my gifts, abilities and experiences?
  • Will they help others?

Analyzing our dreams gets us thinking about possibilities.  Opens up new horizons.

But then we need to step out.

It’s one thing to dream.  It’s something else to act.  I’m not saying give up your day job and launch off into something you’ve no idea about.  But I am saying take one step to get started.  Feel the fear mixed with excitement and launch anyway.

  • Research the next step
  • Set an appointment to meet with someone who can help you
  • Take a class or read books to develop your skills
  • Ask someone to mentor you who has walked that path

Take the first step then look for the second.  It’s amazing how when we start walking the path begins to appear one step at a time.

I love the story of Peter walking on the water.  Yes swimming too.

Jesus disciples were sailing across the Sea of Galilee at night when a ferocious storm suddenly swooped down through the valley.  The waves swamped their boat.  They were terrified.  Being fisherman they had lost friends in similar circumstances.

Jesus suddenly appears walking on the water towards them.  Peter cries out, “Lord call me so I can come to you.”

Jesus responds, “Come.”

So Peter scrambles out of the boat and begins walking on the water.  Suddenly he looks around, sees the waves, gets scared and starts to sink.

So often I’ve heard preachers criticize Peter for doubting.  Yet, Peter was the only one who got out of the boat.

The rest of the story gives me assurance to step out of the boat as well.

It says when Peter was sinking Jesus reached out his hand and lifted him up.  When Peter’s faith wasn’t enough Jesus’ power was.  And they walked back to the boat together.

This gives me confidence that when I step out in faith risking failure and when I stumble God is there.  He lifts me up and walks with me through the storm.

His power, not my power, is what makes up the difference.

Resting in that assurance is what helps me embrace the fear of failure and step out anyway.

What do you dream of?  What great things would you like to accomplish?

Are you scared?  Good!

Let me know what fear you’ve overcome.

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Categories : Spirituality, Success

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