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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Are You Afraid to Fail?

The dream woke me. My heart was beating rapidly. I was now awake. “Where did that come from?” I thought.

Have you ever had a dream or recollection trigger something from the past? I don’t claim to understand dream therapy. It’s easy for me to shrug off dreams or those random, out-of-nowhere memories.

But this one has stayed with me.

I was eleven years old, sitting in a classroom. My teacher, Mr. Richerts, asked me for an answer to a question. I was confident I knew the correct answer. However, I softly replied: “I don’t know.”

The reality was I did know, but my fear of failure overpowered me.

It’s been many years since that classroom experience. I’ve learned that it’s OK not to have to have all the answers. However, in one out-of-nowhere dream, I was reminded that fear of failure can be debilitating.

For each of us who follow Jesus, responding to God’s call on our life requires courage. The truth is that there may be times when we have the right answer and times when we don’t. We won’t always get it right.

But following Jesus isn’t about perfection. It’s about faithfulness and trust.

To faithfully follow our Savior will frequently require us to take risks. When we follow Jesus, we are regularly reminded of our insecurities. Even the great ones who followed God were people who struggled with timidity!

Jeremiah is one example. Here’s what God said about Jeremiah:

And the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you came out from the womb I consecrated you; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord Yahweh! Look, I do not know how to speak, for I am a youth.” (Jeremiah 1:4-6)

The issue at the heart of Jeremiah’s hesitancy is doubt. He’s not sure how it will all play out.

What Jeremiah needs – what I need – is a simple reframing of his (my) calling.

“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares Yahweh. (Jeremiah 1:8)

Fear of “them” can take many forms. It may be others, who intimidate us, or a sense of inadequacy.

Whatever your “them is,” God reminds you (and me) before we were born: He knew us, consecrated us, and appointed us. And, when – even in a dream or memory – we recall how strong our uncertainty is, God reassures us that we can trust Him who has called us.

What’s your fear? How is God reassuring you?

Praying for each of us this week!


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