21 October 2011

fighting the fear of failure, part 1 - seeing the problem

I want to bury my head in the sand and not have to come up and face some of life's challenges. There is in me quite the fighter's spirit and I do not like to take everything just lying down, however in my work life I have had to deal with a lot of failure and starting over because of my lack of belief in myself and my abilities. Although I slaved away 4 years in the university I did not achieve what I had so longed for, a degree. Somehow I believed that very expensive piece of paper would validate me as a smart person, make me acceptable to a certain peer group and give my life value and meaning and in some sense there is truth to that, although not absolute. The problem really comes when you consider the converse side of that belief if I don't have that piece of paper I am not smart, I am not accepted and I have no value. Mind you let me be clear, I do not harbor such ill thinking toward others, no I save all that for myself.

As a result of this, I have not believed much for myself in the way of a career, I mean after all what am I? I can't looked at that lovely piece of paper framed on a wall and it tell me who I am. I worked so hard in college yet my dream of becoming an architect did not come true. I also had aspirations of ministry when I was younger, but by the time I came out of college I was doing good to still believe that I was saved AND I did not have formal training for ministry and remember according to my thinking I don't have a piece of paper that speaks on my behalf to tell others how amazing I am in some area. How am I to establish a firm foundation for a career when the currency of what those that are hiring deal in is something I lack?

So far I'm sure you can see a lot of the problem here, I've got a real problem with me and I had a bone to pick with God about my dream not coming true. After all I felt as though I had given so much up for the Kingdom. The school I went to was not my first choice but because of of the ministry I was involved in I was "encouraged" to attend the school I did. It turned out to be an excellent choice but I did not leave the way I wanted to. By the time I came out of school, I was barely hanging on to a relationship with God and was ready to give up on everything. I was fired for the first time and that also did not help my view of self, not only was I leaving school, I was leaving having been fired from a job. What good was I? How was I to do anything when now I had no idea who I was or what I did? Even writing this, it is hard to review that time in my life. It was so dark and I was incredibly scared and at that time I distinctly remember beginning to daily eat, sleep and breath the lie that to this day, if I am not careful I get entangled with: I am a failure!

I have thought and said this so many times that it became the truth to me. I did not perform up to the standard that I thought I should and instead of dealing with it, learning from it and moving on, I got stuck. I could no longer believe in myself and I became a serious doubter of God. After all why would all of this be happening if I were in "good standing" as it were with God, surely I must have done something wrong. I was caught in a serious performance trap. I thought that everything that I did, changed God's mind about me to one side or another. Some of that was improper teaching on who God is but MOST of it was and is simply deception, one of the biggest weapons employed by the enemy.

... to be continued
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