One might say that we live in a culture where personal performance is a driving force in our daily lives. Doing the “right” thing, having the “right” knowledge, dressing the “right” way, handling life with the “right” solutions seemingly provides a sense of security and control. So what happens when we make a mistake? When our identity hangs on our “rightness,” who are we when we fail?
Fear of failure exists because of the risk we each perceive. At the heart of this fear lies this message, “I might not be as valuable to others as my “rightness” proves I am. I am defined and valued by what I do.”
“Doing” is valuable. There is no reason to argue this fact. However, one’s complete worth is never dependent on his/her actions. If this were true, we would all find ourselves without worth and without any need for Christ.
I don’t like to be failed against. When others let me down, I have very hurt and negative feelings. I do know, however, that my words and actions toward them can be destructive and harmful or constructive and graceful. When I am the one making the mistake, I prefer to receive the latter. With that in mind, I offer the following:
I give you permission to fail. I do not expect you to be perfect. In fact, I like that you and I have imperfection in common.
When you fail, I will not feed your fear that I will see no value in you because of this mistake. There will not be judgement against your character. I will not assume that you are the equivalent of this failure and will not define you by such a weakness. I will share with you a time that I felt as low as you do. I will give you opportunity to succeed.
In return, I ask for permission to fail. Please know that it will happen and be understanding as I attempt to correct my mistake. Help me in my belief that I am more than my failures, valuable not only for what I do, but for who I am. Be honest with me about the areas of my life where I need growth.
And in this, we are loving well.