Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fear of Success/ Fear of Failure

This is an area that I want to explore and hopefully find resolution in. Its one thing to "live my life out loud", be honest about where I struggle, and honest about what I learn. There always seems to come a point though, where I just shut the whole thing down and believe that I've set myself up to fall and I'm just not willing to do that.

I think two culprits are fear and pride.
If we think little of ourselves and the potential we have to impact our world, and wonder that God will be with us through such a bold venture, we shrink back and take the safer route. To a fairly large extent, I think I've taken the safer road. Its safer, simpler to go back to shitting on myself than to stick my neck out and risk people misunderstanding my intent, or conversely, expecting too much out of me. Even as I write that down, I see the irony. People do misunderstand. And that's not my burden. My purpose in life is not to defend myself. Consistently defensive behavior in people always makes me think: "He doth protest too much"; What is it that he/she feels needs to remain hidden away from others?

Back to me, fear, and pride. Pride isn't necessarily a person puffed up with the pleasure of being himself. Pride can also be found in the act of keeping oneself small. You don't have to look far to find people who are very proud of their humility. They don't wear trendy clothes and they are right proud of their schleppy choices. They live in modest bungalows and don't associate with those "gated community types". They serve in at least two capacities at their local church, because simply loving their neighbor wouldn't count as a good service, nobody would notice, and their neighbor never mows his yard on time and his dog shits on their lawn.

Fear is a slippery one. If you keep yourself small, you always make room for people to build you up, which makes them feel useful and adequate. What if you didn't need to take so much any more? Would you intimidate your friends? Offend them? Would you run out of friends? Would they whisper about you, how special you think you are, how badly you are about to fall?

One of the humblest people I've had the pleasure of knowing is also very powerful. But he knows where his strength comes from. He doesn't depend on his amassed knowledge, although it is consistently drawn on. He has a deep love for God, and a daily dependence on that relationship. He is buried neck deep in human misery nearly every day, but he has fantastic joy and peace and is not overwhelmed.

I'd like to get me somma dat.


mmichele said...


(alternately: amen)

(word verification: feergwy. i read, fear go away...)

Roo said...

i'd like somma DAT 2.

thanks for sharing this joyce. you are gold.

Erin said...

As I sit here in my "gated community", I feel overwhelming pride at being able to say I live here...Just kidding : ) I totally get the whole fear and pride thing. I struggle with trying not to be too defensive and yet when I'm being humble I think "what if they think I'm just being a fake and not truly humble?" So, yeah,I'd love true humility and inner strength that is straight from God. Great post!

Anonymous said...

I think you already got somma dat. Don't you care for children all day? That takes a lot of patience and energy. We don't think of it as important in our society to care for children but it's one of the most important things. You're teaching them every day, how to live, how to laugh, how to deal with hurt,how to love. Can you imagine a world without children? You got Dat, already.

Heather Plett said...

I've been thinking along similar lines lately too. I get tripped up on self doubt all the time, but it's really just pride disguised as false humility.

Queenheroical said...

Hi Joyce, This put me in mind of something I read recently from Madeleine L'Engle in A Circle of Quiet:

The moment that humility becomes self-conscious, it becomes hubris. One cannot be humble and aware of oneself at the same time. ... Humility is throwing oneself away in complete concentration on something or someone else.

(it's a good book, real shake my head about good)

She goes on to talk about fear in a similar way to what you have said hear, as well.

Smart ladies.


Queenheroical said...

oops ... here would be the right word ... but hear works too.


Linda said...

How true. Pride = false humility.

Judy said...

That's how I 'see' you already, Joyce.

You got you somma dat.

And you share.

it's a gong show... said...

"Having a deep love of God" is what, at the end of the day, will pull us all through. False humility is something that can be detected after spending a very short time with someone who boasts of their meekness. True humility can be sensed by one's spirit.