Monday, November 22, 2010

God wants me to fail

It's true. And it's something I've been learning lately but is really difficult for me.

I'm actually a bit of a perfectionist, if I'm honest. Let me give you a few examples. I don't play games for the fun of it. I play to win. If I don't win, it drives me crazy. I want to quickly figure out a better strategy and play again. Which means I can be pretty competitive at just about anything. It's not that I don't like you, it's just that I want to crush you in competition. Games like "Angry Birds" for example, drive me crazy. It's addictive to me because I must beat it. I can't let those little pigs win. A few years ago I picked up woodworking as a hobby. I've built a few things, but to be honest, it too drives me crazy. I want to build things with precision and yet my skills aren't there. I notice every imperfection, every slightly crooked cut. In school I used to do really well. I got pretty much all A's in high school and college - with the exception of science classes. No matter how much I studied, how hard I worked, I could never seem to get better than a B, and it's the only class I ever got a C in. And it drives me crazy to this day.

I tend to let failure rule. I could get 99 out of 100 right and all I can think about is the one I missed.

So here's my dilemma. I'm a church planter. That may or may not mean much to you, but a church planter is basically an entrepreneur on steroids. It's someone who is trying to start something from scratch without funding, people, buildings, or any existing structures. While there are some obvious guidelines (the Bible for example), there's no blueprint for how to plant the church that exists in my head. Which means there's lots of trial and error. We start things that don't work and so we tweak it and try again. Some of what we try completely fails.

Now back to what God has been showing me. I've noticed lately that with some things I would rather not do anything than to try it and fail. Fear of failure has paralyzed me. Uncertainty about the outcome has left me unable, or unwilling, to move forward. I want it to succeed the first time. And so I believe God has been confronting me on this, because here's the deal - the difference between those that see their dreams become a reality and those that don't is very small. In fact, it's a single step. Those that are willing to step into the unknown change the world. Those that aren't, don't.

The vision I have for my church is scary. It scares me. It really does. And yet it is the most exciting thing I have ever dreamed in my life. And God is showing me that between here and there will be lots of risk. Lots of failure. Lots of doing it the wrong way before we figure out the right way. So I'm beginning to see God as the One who invites me to fail. He calls me into the unknown, he challenges me to risk. It's a scary reality, but one I hope I can embrace more and more.

So I'm praying this for myself and for you today (especially those of you that are part of Story Church!):

2 Timothy 1:7 - "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."

May you and I have the courage to fail.


I notice your failures a lot, too.

Seriously though, this is one of your best blogs.

This is a good post. I'm much the same way, and I hate to fail. There are definitely advantages to occasionally being reminded that our ability to not fail is because God's working, not because we are.

Jared, thanks for noticing. And thanks for the compliment.

Trevor, thanks for stopping by. And amen to that!

good stuff, honey. perfectionism paralyzes me too. good news, we are in this together.

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