FOMO PART 3 “The Fear of Failure” (THRIVE Service)

FOMO PART 3 "The Fear of Failure" (THRIVE Service)

Remember the tag line on ABC’s Wide World of Sports? “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” Hard to imagine a more agonizing defeat than French golfer Jean Vande Velde in the 1999 British Open.

Jean Van de Velde was well on his way to victory as the first Frenchman to win the Open since 1907 when he teed off on the final hole of the final round. He was in first place, solidly ahead by three strokes.

But that’s when it all fell apart. Rather than play a safe shot after his drive drifted into the rough, Van de Velde went for the green with a 2-iron. His shot sailed right, hit a grandstand, and landed in a knee-high rough.

Still ahead, he could have and probably should have played it safe. But in a decision that proved to be disastrous, he aimed for the green again, and his shot landed directly in the middle of a creek. He lost the match. The iconic photo is a painful reminder of what it feels like to fail on the biggest stage.

The fear of failure is very real. Are we up to the task? Can we do what is expected of us? Anyone who has failed, and that includes all of us, knows the pain and shame of failing. The greater the task, the higher the chance of failure. Many people choose to avoid failing by not trying. Nothing ventured, nothing lost.

Moses is called upon to do the unimaginable. He is ill prepared, unconvinced, and frankly scared to death. He comes up with every excuse he can think of to avoid doing what God is asking. In the end, Moses says, “Please, just send anyone else, anybody except me.” We know how that story ends.

We’re all going to fail. And we’re all afraid of failing. But the greater failure is to not even try; to hear the voice of God and turn away. To play it safe and never risk anything for the Gospel. To become so afraid, we stop living fully and loving deeply.

Funny thing about God. I’m sure He loves our successes and celebrates our victories. But more and more, I’m convinced He uses our failures to profoundly change us and the world.

Like Moses, God has a lot to teach us, and we have a lot to learn from our failures.


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