Jeanne Takenaka

Have you ever wanted something so badly you could almost taste it? But, also so badly that the thought of not attaining it—the fear of failure—kept you from even trying?

Yeah, been there. Done that. Wouldn’t wanna pay for the t-shirt.

When we are pursuing a bigger-than-us dream, our souls stretch. If you’ve read this blog for very long, you know I’m hoping to one day be published. I’ve written five books, entered countless contests. Pitched my stories to agents and editors. 

I’ve done all the things.

Too often, I’ve done them on my terms.

Surfers riding big waves. We each need to determine to overcome a fear of failure

I’ve won one contest over the years, and I’ve finaled in a few others. But honestly? It’s scary to put my work out there for possible rejection. It can be downright painful to submit my words—my heart—on the page, knowing it may come back to me shredded. 

It often seems easier to work on our craft in the background, in the shadows, because no one can see what we’re working on. No one can judge or decide if we’re good enough. The thing about shadows is their borders limit us. And though they may feel safe for a season, they shift, and even go away. 

6 Thoughts For How To Overcome A Fear Of Failure—We must choose what we trust more: the fear of failure or the God who called us #tellhisstory #fearoffailure Click To Tweet

At some point, we must come out into the sun. We must choose what we trust more: the fear of failure or the God who called us. If we’re afraid to try something, and we let fear determine our choices, we’ll miss the blessings God has for us. 

A woman standing in a cleft of rocks with large waves crashing nearby

When I put my hope in my own efforts, and I don’t win the contest, or have an agent say yes (still waiting on that one), it’s going to hurt. 

The Truth About Failure

Failing—not achieving our goals—stings like a bee against bare skin. The emotions and thoughts seep well below the surface. And, in our weaker moments, we may even believe that it was not only our work that was a failure, but that WE are a failure.

That’s wrong thinking. 

A calm creek reflecting trees in its still waters . . . how we can feel when we don't let a fear of failure dictate our mindset

Even when we’re trusting God with the whole process and the rejection, the “Thanks, but no” response comes back, it hurts. It does. But, when we know we’re walking on the path God has for us, we can rest in that. 

When we trust our Father in spite of the “No” answer, we can bounce back. If we ask for His perspective, the “No” can be used to mold us more into the image of Jesus. I know, that sounds like a platitude. But take it from a writer who’s heard the No’s, God can use it. 

Mindsets to Overcome a Fear of Failure

How we view circumstances and the things that happen in our lives will shape how we approach the possibility of failure. 

Brown grasses bordering a ripply stream

In Daily Life

  • If we know we’re following God’s calling in our lives, we need to trust Him. Learning and growing happen in the failing and in disappointments. And, because our efforts “were a failure” this time around, doesn’t mean they always will be. 
  • We need to ask God to show us who we think is in control. Often, when I don’t want to work on my story or submit it to a professional, it’s because I want control of the result. I want to shield my heart. Because in my puny little head, I think I know what’s best for me. But growth happens in the hard seasons. Intimacy with our Father can only occur when we’re deep down honest with Him about our fears.
6 Thoughts For How To Overcome A Fear Of Failure—Intimacy with our Father can only occur when we’re deep down honest with Him about our fears. #tellhisstory #beinghonest Click To Tweet
A calm creek reflecting the morning sky and bordered by brown grasses and bushes . . . sometimes a fear of failure keeps us shivering inside

In Pursuing Dreams

  • Reframe how we view our calling and our dream. When we view the fulfillment of our dream through God’s perspective, how will that help us to move past the fear of failure? When I entered writing contests in the past it was to learn and grow from others’ feedback. If my goal becomes to win, that can feel too daunting. Who knows if the judges will like my work or not? 
  • Each time we “step out in faith” we’re moving closer to the dreams God’s given us. When we trust God more than the fear of failure, we can move forward in confidence.
  • Remember we don’t fall short. When we are working toward attaining something, and our efforts fall short, we must protect our identities. We must be careful not to internalize how others perceive our efforts.
  • Whether we succeed or we fail, we can learn and grow. It all depends on how we view each step of our journey.
A meme with the words, "When we trust God more than we fear failure, that's when we are going to learn how to be brave and overcome that fear." on a backdrop of ocean waves rolling in

As much as we may hate it, failure is a part of life. The question is, will we allow it to define us, or will we allow it to teach us? When we trust God more than we fear failure, that’s when we are going to learn how to be brave and overcome that fear. 

What about you? What lessons have you learned in times when you’ve faced failure? Is there something that has helped you overcome the fear of failure?

PS—Remember next week’s Tell His Story link up will be over at Lisa Jordan’s site!

Most weeks, I link up with Grace and Truth, Anita Ojeda, Instaencouragements, and sometimes Let’s Have Coffee. Come join and read more encouraging posts!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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