An area of struggle that periodically pops up for me is my fear of making mistakes.
There has been, and sometimes still is, this sense of inadequacy within me that propels me towards perfectionism. Perhaps it’s the agreement I made with myself long ago that I was lacking somehow, not good enough, and perhaps to some degree, falsely inflated to levels I felt I couldn’t meet.
So, in order to not let anyone down, and to somehow get my insecurities inflated through conquests, I convinced myself, I had to be self-reliant, self-proficient, and self-protected in order to survive a “dog-eat-dog” world filled with judgments, rejections, ridicules, and losses.
Harsh viewpoint, I know – and thankfully, God is healing me in this area too, as I have been untethering from this falsehood.
Some might argue this “fear of failure” was a driving force for improvements personally, relationally, financially, emotionally, professionally, and spiritually. And indeed, it did provide a constant push to always strive for better.
But it was at a great cost internally, and I have come to realize the idolatry and pitfall of this perfectionistic pursuit. The narcissistic and plain out self-consuming nature of it.
Why? Because it means I don’t like making mistakes, which means I don’t like my humanity, because people make mistakes – which means I desire to be perfect – and to be perfect means I want to be like God. But if I’m perfect, what need would I have for God? If I’m completely self-sufficient what reliance would I have in Him? This is a subtle, and yet, a very slippery and slimy slope.
Therefore, by accepting my humanity means I recognize and acknowledge that means I make mistakes. It doesn’t mean I have to like it, but mistakes are a part of every human’s journey. By making mistakes, we learn, and through grace, we grow closer to God as we place our hope in Him, not ourselves and our best deeds.
There is a freedom, a kindness, a mercy, and grace found in those who have squared off with their humanity. Those who strive not for perfection, but to try, and to give what they can to the tasks at hand. It’s to be good stewards – not perfect ones.
It’s true that fearing failure can be a great motivator, but it also creates tremendous anxiety, distress, unnecessary worry, and robs us of any joy we might have in taking on a task. For we spend our time worrying about making a mistake, and missing the mark.
Instead, when we approach all things in faith, realizing we might fail, and make a mistake, we accept the invitation to also learn and grow.
Faith in God’s providence empowers us to face each encounter with a sense of adventure, and wonder. And to allow ourselves to take on the tasks before us in a healthy way – knowing we can learn from any situation, and that perfectionism is an impossible quest.
God isn’t screaming and shouting at us every time we try and fail at something. He’s most concerned with our hearts and character and often times, these are grown and nurtured through our failures.
Some may not struggle with this issue and aren’t afraid to fail – I aspire for this, and bless you.
I’m not their yet, but I do see it kind of like “surfing” – which is something else I aspire for.
With surfing, you take a wave, and may fall, but you get back up and try again, and after all is said and done, you’re still out there in the water, enjoying the surf. It’s a good day – you’re enjoying the waves you get to catch, as well as appreciating the thrill of anticipating the next wave of opportunity to flow your way.
Life is like that – there are always opportunities coming our way, and whether we fail, or fall, we move forward with each opportunity, as we learn, grow, and enjoy what it means to be human.
It’s being kinder to ourselves and less judgmental, which in turn allows us to be kinder and less judgmental towards others’ shortcomings and failures.
Being alive in Christ, helps us to see each opportunity as an invitation from God, to trust Him, to rely upon Him, and to move forward with Him in faith – no matter the outcome.
Thank God for the failures He allows, as well as the successes, because He is in all our days – in all our winnings, and in all our failures. He’s cheering us on either way, and calling us closer in deeper fellowship, sanctification, and reliance on Him.
There is no good running from our humanity and seeking godlike perfection. It is a futile circle of frustration, fear and anxiety – none of which are positives to embrace.
Rather, the spirit of God offers, grace, mercy, hope, joy, peace, and so much more – and these are always there for every believer whether we fail or not.
Ultimately, there is beauty in imperfection. In fact, often times, it’s those blemishes in life that make us most the beautiful, relatable, and humble.