What is your greatest fear?
The great philosopher Jerry Seinfeld once said, “According to most studies, people’s No. 1 fear is public speaking. No. 2 is death. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
Did you know more than 2,000 fears or phobias have been identified in the human experience? Equally interesting is nearly all phobias or fears are learned.
One fear that seems to be universal is the fear of failure.
You weren’t born with the fear of failure. In fact, you spent most of your early years trying and failing many things such as walking, running or riding a bike.
Failure is listed among the worst human fears along with public speaking, rejection and death. These “learned” fears can be so paralyzing they keep many people from ever reaching for their dreams.
I believe you must become a “fear fighter” if you expect to walk in the success God has for you. This fear can keep you from trying because you are scared you might look foolish, or maybe even rejected.
God does not want you to be paralyzed by fear. Did you know the Bible says “Fear not” or “Be not afraid” 365 times? There is one “Fear not” for every day of the year.
I have used those “fear not” promises from God’s word to give me courage time and time again. When I was young, I was shy and backward and the least likely candidate to stand in front of thousands of people and preach. I can still remember the terror I felt the day I preached my first sermon. But I know I would not be in ministry today if God had not helped me overcome my fear of failure. I have learned my scariest moments have also given me my greatest opportunities.
Thomas Edison, hardly a failure by anyone’s definition, failed thousands of times in his attempt to make a light bulb.
When asked how he felt about failing so many times, he simply and defiantly said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Raymond Kroc had numerous business ventures fail before stumbling on a little family-run business called McDonald Brothers Hamburger Restaurants. The rest is history and we see those golden arches everywhere we go.
Abraham Lincoln failed numerous times when running for political office. And Albert Einstein was told to abandon his futile attempts to study physics.
Most of life’s successes are based on the principle of trial and error. Failure is not falling short of your goal. Failure is simply not making the effort, not taking the risk or not believing the best about yourself and your God.
Stay encouraged and be a fear-fighter instead of carrying fear.
Jentezen Franklin is the senior pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville. He can be contacted at 678-677-8300 or visit www.freechapel.org.