I recently finished a book called #iAmWorthIt: The Wishful Thinking of an Ignorant Man-child by Matt Luecht. Amazon describes it as an “…honest look at one man’s heart-journey in pursuit of an infinite and profound God. It is a transparent account of revelation and humble acknowledgment of whose we are in spite of how we are.” Since I knew the author (sort of), I purchased the book when it was first released, and it has been sitting, dormant and unopened, on my kindle app since 2015. As I read it this past week, I uncovered something that I didn’t realize was affecting how I live.
Embedded in my heart and hidden under the mask of busyness in the form of ministry has been a deep-seated fear of failure. You might think that leading worship teams and speaking truth and love into peoples’ lives week after week would suffocate a spirit of fear, but my fear continued to grow. There was a fear that I would misrepresent God in some way and lead people in the wrong direction. I was afraid of messing up and not meeting the expectations of my job. As I built teams to lead the church, that spirit of fear fed on self-inflicted pressure. I felt that if the teams I poured into failed in any way, it would be as if I failed in an exponentially worse way.
My Fears Are Unfounded
I can understand where this kind of fear has originated in some people. I’ve heard stories of parents who never showed appreciation or love to their children. That’s the kind of story that Luecht shared in his book. When nothing is ever good enough or failures are the only actions ever recognized, the seed of disappointment quickly grows into a thorn bush of fear.
I have messed up and failed more times than I can count over the course of nearly 37 years, but I’ve been blessed to have always experienced grace in those situations. There were still consequences to deal with, but I was surrounded by the love of family, friends, and godly employers. This culmination of life experience has led me to believe that there will be grace in every situation I find myself in. Belief will only get you so far.
Belief does not drive out fear. It doesn’t even expose it. The belief I operated under was based on the grace and love I experienced from others. The thing about love from others is that we can find its limit if we push hard and far enough. I may not have pushed beyond the limits of my parents’ love, but there are other parents who would have disowned their children under the same circumstances. The knowledge of what other people have experienced played into my fear. If fears were only based on our own firsthand experience, then most of our fears would be nonexistent.
Perfect love is the only thing that drives out fear (1 John 4:18). We have to go beyond believing that Jesus loves us, and trust in His perfect love.
Something changes when you are forced to trust Jesus and not just believe Him, when He stops being teacher and starts being Master. When life no longer [lets] you just believe what He said but instead begin to trust who He is. You see, belief leaves room for escape, an open back door just in case. Trust is all-in and allows the potential for disappointment. Belief is safe. Trust, uncertain. Belief always stops short at the first twinge of discomfort. Trust increases capacity to endure rough seas.Luecht, Matt. #iAmWorthIt: The Wishful Thinking Of An Ignorant Man-Child (p. 58). Kindle Edition.
When we give fear a place to camp in our lives, we become ineffective players in a cycle of impotence. Thoughts of “I can’t do that; what if I fail?” turn into feelings of incompetence and lead to inaction.
It’s time that we trust in the promises of God and drive fear out with His perfect love. We cannot allow the spirit of fear to affect our thoughts, feelings, or actions. Let’s take to heart the words that Paul wrote to Timothy:
I’m writing to encourage you to fan into a flame and rekindle the fire of the spiritual gift God imparted to you when I laid my hands upon you. For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control.2 Timothy 1:6-7 (TPT)
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