I realized recently that when I am afraid to fail, or look foolish, or simply embarrass myself, I don't risk anything at all. The result is I get stagnant in whatever aspect of life that is concerned. It could be my faith, my marriage, or my career. The bottom line is: if I don't risk anything, I might not fail, but I certainly won't grow.
This has become all too apparent in my personal relationship with God and my commitment to a life of discipline. I am ashamed to admit that I don't read my Bible, memorize scripture, meditate on scripture, or even pray as often or as fervently as I should. I'm afraid of trying so hard and falling that much more on my face. Perhaps that is where I should be, though ... on my face before the Holy and Living God, Creator of the Universe, Lord of Lords, and King of Kings. Even if it takes tripping to get there.
In other parts of my life, I would rather give in to feelings of discouragement or an attitude of lackadaisical defeat. Yet it is in those very parts that I most long to grow and gain respect. It's just the fear that holds me back. Fear of being "found out", and of "not being good enough." Who am I kidding? Nobody is ever "good enough," and I don't mean just spiritually. I've found myself constantly falling back on these old, familiar fears as an excuse to not pursue things. I'll never eat healthy all the time. I'll never lose the weight I gained in college. I'll never excel at this or be recognized for that or overcome this other thing. So ... I don't try.
Well, I'm finally moving past that, little by little. A conversation with my husband last night about the correlation between the fear of failure and the limitations of personal growth lit a spark in my mind and it must have caught fire, because I did something risky today. Something scary. Something I didn't know I would even try to do until the opportunity presented itself. Something that could potentially lead to a lot of growth in one area of my life in which I have always had an aptitude. Something that could blow up in my face, melt into nothingness, or even ... God willing ... open a door I thought had closed long ago.
I admit it: I'm a bit afraid. I took a risk; I made some mistakes, but I also reached out of my comfort zone toward a goal. It was a pretty big risk, for me, and as a result the growth pangs have already begun to burn into my subconscious.
Here's to risk. And fear. And to growing pains.
And here's to God's will. And searching and praying and waiting for it to be made clear.
Here's ... to life.