A familiar fear

It creeps up on me again.

‘You’ve really done it This Time’. 

Whispers close.

Breathing and hissing out its venom.

A voice I know too well and cannot ignore.

Did I think I could break the habits of a lifetime?

When life is littered with a trail of:
Unfinished projects 

Dreams unfulfilled
Tasks to be done
A heavy weight of expectancy burying all hopes of finally achieving my goals

This year I had a dream. I went public with it. Shared it openly. Making the humiliation complete. When failure seems to be a default position for a person with perfectionism allied with chronic physical illness and weakness.


over it all
A word 
that marks us out
Gives away 
our inner state

Overshadows hope
Brings grief 
and gloom
and sadness
Bleeds despair

Awful in 
its familiarity
Pinned on a board
Marked on a card
Stamped on a form
Spoken over us

Engraved on 
our hearts
Fresh wound to add 
to all the rest
Yet another
Did I really expect it to be any different This Time?
Don’t these patterns repeat themselves ad infinitum?
No. No. And Thrice No. It needn’t be that way. We can step off that treadmill!

” I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” ~ Thomas Eddison

Too often, our ideas of failure stem from a heightened expectation of the perceived outcome, rather than genuine slip-ups or mistakes. We can be our own worst enemies in many respects.

In writing about my fear of failure in following my God-sized dream, I am looking to follow Holley’s encouragement to also seek the truth that’s bigger than that fear.

I am discovering there is freedom in learning to let go of:

The pretence of having-it-all-together

Perfectionist tendencies

People approval issues

Memories of past failures

Unrealistic expectations

Low self-esteem

Instead, I am learning to embrace:

The truth of who I am in Christ

Knowing that God’s perfect love casts out fear

Being a ‘work in progress’

Making mistakes as a way of growth

Falling down only to get up again

Resilience rather than defeatism
Failure needn’t mean stopping something. It doesn’t have to signal an end. Rather, it is an open door of opportunity for growth, for learning, and developing the fruit of patience, wisdom, endurance and  perseverance

The truth is that God’s word and His grace are far bigger than any fear

As we allow His word to invade our hearts and minds, absorb its message and let it penetrate our understanding, it gradually fills the space where fear and dread once lived.

Freedom comes from surrendering fear and substituting it with faith

Despite the way it may feel, failure can be a stepping-stone to success as we yield to the lessons it teaches us. All it takes is a recognition of our need and courage to want to overcome the paralysing affects fear has on our everyday lives.

This may be one of those times for you too. Whatever your particular fear might be, will you join me as we ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’? 

We are not alone. God has gone ahead of us to prepare the way we will walk in and we have the reassurance of His word:

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7 (Amplified)

Let’s aim to:
Heed His voice more than our feelings.

Rest our restless hearts in His Presence.
Immerse ourselves in His word.

Trust that God is changing us little by little.

Take tentative steps of faith that will grow with practise.

Believe we can be Overcomers in this area too.

Seek support and encouragement from others.

Pause to ponder:

What fears are holding you back from realising your dreams?
How do you plan to conquer them?

In this post I am linking up with Holley Gerth and the rest of the God-sized Dream team. We’d love you to join us on the journey. More to come next week!

You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter

14 thoughts on “A familiar fear”

  1. I used that feel the fear and do it anyway quote today also (heard it on biggest loser last night!) I talked about how you can let fear hold on to you or you can hold on to faith- perfectly in sync with what you have said here. Keep dreaming!

    1. Thank you, Tami, for the synchronised 'feel the fear and do it anyway'activity! It spoke to me years ago when I read a self-help book on this topic and it still does as a Christian practising walking by faith. Keep dreaming and stepping out too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Oh yes – again, you too?
    And how the enemy likes to be a little voice telling us "You aren't any good; you never WERE any good and you never will be any good."
    So I have to learn to say words of Scripture to confront his satanic majesty, as Christ did.
    "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me… His power is made perfect in my weakness …."
    As George Elliot said, it's never too late to be who you were meant to be (in Christ)

    1. 'Fraid so! Yes, we can counter those hateful and discouraging words from the enemy with the positive, faith-filled ones from Scripture. It is a lifetime process learning to be Christ-like, but we are being changed little by little and gradually becoming who we are meant to be in Him. Thank you, Penelope, for this lovely, encouraging comment. Blessings ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Joy, once again we're on the same page of this book we're reading. I read the first half of this post nodding because I know exactly what you mean. You step out in faith and leave yourself so vulnerable out in the open where everyone can see you. It's very, very scary. You say, 'I can do this!' and invite someone to sneer, 'Really?! Can you?'
    I so want to learn to hear his voice rather than my feelings but my feelings are loud and powerful enough to knock me over. I so want to be secure in who I am (and I know who I am in Him – I do!) but when I hear ( or even, more often) imagine other people telling me what I'm not, and why I shouldn't try, then I am crushed. I have so much to learn from the second half of your post!
    I am convinced more than ever that vulnerability is powerful and this post is raw and heartfelt. We're called to stick our heads above the parapet and reach out to each other. I reckon there are more people than will admit it reading this and saying 'Me too' today.
    Thank you.

    1. Exactly so, Helen, same page again! I am very much a 'work in progress' as well. Courage can fail us and attacks knock us sideways. But we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down, and start again, by God's grace. My hope is to reach out and connect, to give others a "You too" moment where they realise it's OK to admit their weaknesses and then to glory in God's saving love to strengthen and redeem us. Thanks for your insightful comments. Be bold as He gives you the ability to stick your head above the parapet too. Bless you ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. We're on the same page too, Jedidja! Look forward to hearing about your post in the near future. Thank you for your comments. Be blessed in being brave and bold in Him. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi joy, thanks for this. Failure isn't fatal unless we fail to learn from it. Also perceived failures, on our part, may just be what God is looking/ waiting for so that we can come closer to them and to trust them more.

    1. Absolutely, Barry. I agree on both counts. Failure (actual or perceived) serves to draw us closer to God's side as we seek consolation and understanding. Then He meets with us right where we are and provides the resources to learn and grow through it all. Thank you for your perceptive comment. Blessings ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Thanks JOY for this wonderful Post.

    there are so many things i dream of doing, so many desires…God sized desires and i know beyond doubt that if God doesn't do them, it won't happen.

    will they all ever be accomplished? i don't know.

    i do know that as He enables me, i'll do it. as HE directs, I'll go and as He provides, I'll give.

    sometimes that is all we can do.

    One thing i love to tweet is – failure is never final..it's just a detour – enjoy the new scenery.

    thank you for your sweet heart!!



    1. Thank you, Marie, for this insightful comment. It serves us well to remember that "failure is never final..it's just a detour – enjoy the new scenery". Too often we want to revisit the old scenery and try again, even though God may be asking us to learn from it and move on. I really appreciate your words of wisdom and encouragement. xx

  6. I really identified with this post Joy. You describe so well how fear affects us and how stepping out is so scary. I am always reminded of Peter stepping out of the boat onto the water and how many times I have told God…I couldn't walk on water…quite forgetting that HE can! Lynn

    1. Hello Lynn. Thank you very much for leaving a lovely comment here! The example of Peter is a great one to heed. We walk confidently only because Jesus has already paved the way before us and accompanies us on the journey. Bless you :)xx

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