If there is one thing I am afraid of, its failure.
This forces me to keep my head down, ignore my ideas, or try to distribute decision making protecting my own fragile ego. Failure is something that is really hard for me to swallow, and it leaves this real level of anxiety in my life that is not very enjoyable.
I have often tried to cultivate some deeper friendships with people, but when the going gets a bit tough, when it seems like they may not be that interested in having a close relationship, when I sense a little bit of rejection I give up on the whole thing and go an sulk in a corner.
And then complain that I have no friends.
I have an idea for a play that I would like to write, and maybe even showcase at some point here in town. But I am not sure if I can write a play, or if it would be any good, or how it would be accepted by others in my life; my family, my church community, etc.
So I don’t write it.
I just don’t try.
There are many other ways that anxiety plays havoc in my life, and I do not think I am alone in this.
We worry that if we confront our spouse about the way their behaviour is making us feel, their behaviour will become worse, or they might up and leave us, so we remain quiet.
We worry that if we properly discipline our children, they might dislike us, so we abdicate our parental responsibilities and try to be their friends instead.
We worry that if we float our ideas at work, or if we take a stand at school, or if we confront our friend about their destructive behaviour we might fail.
So we do nothing.
And guarantee our failure.
The message of Christmas is that there is another way to live. A way full of hope and promise. A way that is not controlled by fear, because fear has to do with punishment, but a way of confidence.
John puts it this way.
“Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Saviour of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.” (1 John 4:14–16, The Message)
God sent his son as Saviour of the world, and everyone who confesses that truth participates in an intimate relationship with God.
“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. ” (1 John 4:17–18, The Message)
Fear is crippling, but a life fully formed in love is free of fear.
A life filled with God's love is free from worry about the judgement of others. Free from the constant anxiety. Free to do our best and trust that no matter what happens, God will never leave us.
May God’s love form a life free of fear in us, because love is greater than fear.