Monday, September 10, 2007

Overcoming Fear of Failure

Saturday, my October issue of The Writer landed in my mailbox. I glanced through the articles and the Breakthrough column caught my attention: “Children’s Book Author Overcame Fear of Failure.” Since this is a fear that slows me down often, I thought I’d read it to see if there was anything of value for me.

It seems that this author always had the dream to write but because she was afraid of failing, she never started writing . . . until her father died. She says, “Amid my grief there was a thought I couldn’t shake: If I died tomorrow, my biggest regret would be never trying to become a writer.”

Her statement got me to thinking. If I died tomorrow, what would be my biggest regret? Not having a book published wasn’t the first thing that popped into my mind. Maybe because of my biblical worldview. Instead the only way I could put it into words when I was discussing this thought last night with my husband was to recall the words from an old hymn: “Have I Done My Best for Jesus?”

I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
Who died upon the cruel tree?
To think of His great sacrifice at Calv’ry!
I know my Lord expects the best from me.

The hours that I have wasted are no many,
The hours I’ve spent for Christ so few;
Because of all my lack of love for Jesus,
I wonder if His heart is breaking too.

I wonder, have I cared enough for others,
Or have I let them die alone?
I might have helped a wand’rer to the Savior,
The seed of precious Life I might have sown.

No longer will I stay within the valley—
I’ll climb to mountain heights above;
The world is dying now for want of someone
To tell them of the Savior’s matchless love.

How many are the lost that I have lifted?
How many are the chained I’ve helped to free?
I wonder have I done my best for Jesus,
When He has done so much for me?

The thought of disappointing my Savior and not hearing the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” is the thing that keeps me fighting the fear of failure—in every area of my life, not just writing. Because He has called me to be obedient, surrendered totally, to His purpose and plan for me. And that includes so much more than writing and editing.

I believe He has tasked me with this method of getting His message of salvation and love to a world that is seeking for meaning in life. And my fear of failing the God who loves me so much to sacrifice His Son for my sin is stronger than my desire to have a book published. I will continue to live my life in a way that brings glory to Him, whether I write, teach, or edit, whether I am ever published or not.

Psalm 116:12 says, “What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits toward me?” Therein lies the key to overcoming the fear of failure.


D. Gudger said...

Margie, it's good to hear this twice: once at the meeting Monday, and again through the blog.

Failure is a longtime, unwanted companion of mine. I've allowed myself to become paralyzed by the fear of it.

Your words put it all into perspective. By the world's standards I've been steeped in failure. But, I'm learning I'm not a failure to God. Pleasing Him is what matters most.

Thanks for the perspective.

robert said...

Thanks for posting the words of the gospel song "Have I Done My Best for Jesus?". There's an interesting story behind the writing of it that I've posted on my daily blog about hymns, Wordwise Hymns for today (May 8).