Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fear of Success

Have you ever wondered what fear of failure really means? I have spent much of my life wondering if the failures I have experienced would really make me stronger or if that was just something successful people said to make losers feel better about themselves. Often some of the encouraging/motivational things we say to one another are not uplifting or motivational. Instead they can be frustrating and can actually stunt our spiritual growth. I have spent the last four years attending a Celebrate Recovery group based on the 12 step recovery program often associated with AA. Many different hurts, habits and hang-ups are discussed and worked through while developing a relationship with Jesus Christ. During this time, I have watched Christ transform many people and grow me beyond my comfort zone, while stretching me in order to test my reliance on Him. Through all of this I have spent alot of time wondering if people rely on failure to walk into the next step in their journey of life because it is comfortable, it is familiar and if they expect failure, there will be no surprise and much less heartache than being disappointed. However, what if the fear they explain is not a fear of failure at all? What if it is the fear of success? The fear of actually being successful in what you attempt and the unknown feelings that go along with success or the unknown reactions. Maybe it is the lack of reaction from others? When a person fails, people are quick to point it out and in some circumstances, encouraging words and the 'try, try again' speech follows the failure. However, when one succeeds, people do not respond and there is often no encouragement or congratulations that result.

What if we worked hard for the glory of God? What if we all forgot about our deep desire to be successful and started living to please the Lord, rather than man? What if the work we did was in response to the sacrifices and the death suffered by Jesus? Sacrifices we can never understand and pain that we may come close to experiencing through situations in this life, but none of us will understand the complete disconnection Jesus felt at the moment He cried out to His Father and felt truly alone. As long as we know that God is our Savior, we will never understand the true feelings of being alone. Why? Because we are never alone. We may feel as if the experience we are in is something only we alone can understand, but Jesus gets it. He feels the hurt and faced the pain. When your heart aches or you are grieved by something, so is Jesus.

I have asked myself more times than I can count in the last two years, 'how can Jesus understand what it's like to lose a child?' He was not a mom and did not experience the connection I felt to Josiah and Cadyn that began to grow and deepen, only to have it taken from me with no explanation. But, as I have grown closer to Him and have begun to search out His character more in the last several months, I realize that Jesus recognizes the pain I felt in losing those precious children. He understands my heart and knows each thought I have about what could have been and what is because of His sovereign plan. One day our story will be complete and the journey through this life will come to a close. When that day comes, we will be joined as a family and we will bow before the King to forever live and serve Him. What will I ask when that time comes? What will He say to me?

Only He knows but from now until that day, I will do my very best to live my life to honor my Savior. I will do the very best for those I have around me and I will do the best I can to make my babies proud! Will I succeed? Yes. Will I fail? Yes. Through all those times, my prayer today and forever will be to allow Christ to succeed in my life and ask for His help to stay out of His way!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Happy Mother's Day everyone! It's rather windy here in central Nebraska (which is really quite normal) and it has gotten me thinking about the ways in which my mother was like the wind.

Many times wind brings change. If it weren't for my mom's determination and drive, the change that has come in my life to be a better mother would have never been as strong. Change happens as God grows us up into likeness of His Son. My mom helps me to look to the Lord and do my part to bring change to those around me and to myself even when the process is less than ideal.

Wind produces movement. As I was growing up, I always saw my mom 'moving'. Not just physically altering position, but moving toward a goal. She has shown me that perseverance and moving forward are necessary if you want to succeed. Movement to be stronger, more gracious, less critical; movement to love the unlovable, give to those less fortunate and look beyond the surface to see the person for who they are. Mom moved physically as well. She has always given up time, money, herself, order to help whoever she can. She has an unmatched work ethic and inspires me to strive to be a servant of others.

Wind builds strength. Trees grown in controlled environments without wind, cannot build root systems to resist the elements. Looking back, I am reminded of many struggles we faced and through all of them I see my mom pressing against us in support of a deeper root system. We had all the stress and torment of normal adolescent and teenage girls and when the weather threatened our standing firm, she was always there whispering like the wind to stay grounded and remember where our strength was produced.

Wind encourages growth and pushes away remnants of the old/unhealthy. As the wind blows across the fields in Nebraska, it carries the moisture across the plains in the winter, dries the soil in spring for crops to be planted and dries the crops for harvest in the fall. My mom has always striven to remove those situations and circumstances in her control that could influence my sister and I negatively. She has also given us gusts of encouragement to grow us stronger in our walk with the Lord as well as our walk through life.

Wind is refreshing. As summer inches closer, the thought of hundred degree weather and sunburns are high on my 'ugh' list. However, when those days come, when the struggles feel too hot to touch and too draining to face, a gentle breeze is soothing and calming for the soul. When the pain and heartaches of the past sting like the cherry red evidence of too much sun, the wind in the air cools my body and reminds me of the promise of healing and in some cases beauty on the other side of the burn. (Not me, I am pasty white or cherry red, but it works for my beautiful sister!)

Most people would probably take offense to being called windy, but as I listen to the wind gust outside and see the trees waving, I think of my mom and the many ways she has influenced my life and deepened my faith in God, as well as pushing me to keep moving when I felt like giving up. Thanks for always being there for me Mom, kind of the like the winds in Nebraska. Wait just a few moments and it's a guarantee the wind will be there!

I love you Mom! Happy Mother's Day!