Does the fear of failing cause you to not take the risk?
How many times has the fear of rejection caused you not to ask the question? How many times have you sat silently through meetings or group discussions because you felt unqualified, inferior or not smart enough to answer? How many times have you had an opportunity in front of you, but you spent too much time contemplating it, so it passed you by? How many times have stress and pressure from the day-to-day caused you to miss a great thing ahead?
I know my answer… in my 30 years of life, 100’s of times.
The majority of people, for at least a few areas in their life, spend too much time worrying, stressing, overanalyzing and internalizing situations and opportunities. I know I do.
I’ve let so many different opportunities come and go because I have felt inadequate, inferior, unqualified and undeserving of them. I relied only on myself, my ability, my talents, my qualifications. From job promotions and raises, sharing my talents, asking a friend a challenging question; I didn’t take action because I was too worried about what might happen and I was only focused on ME in the situation!
How would I feel, how would I look, how would people react to ME, would I succeed, what if I failed… I…I…I…ME…ME…ME.
When we put all of our attention and focus inward, on ourselves and don’t have anything else to cling on to or put our faith in, we are easily crippled by our fear and doubt. BUT what if I told you that you didn’t have to EVER go at it alone. What if the ME turned into WE? What if all the pressure and nerves you were caring on your own, as a solo, “hot mess party-of-one” could be shared and transferred to something else. If you had someone that you - 110% ALWAYS, rain or shine - could count on to be there, to lessen the burden, to help carry the load, to be your encouragement, how would that change the way you went after opportunities, overcame challenges in life or approached risky situations.
We’ve all heard the expression, “don’t let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.” In baseball, you get 3 strikes and you’re out. But what if you only had 1 strike? One strike and “WA-BAM” you’re outta there. Would you still walk up up the plate?
As the 2nd week of this four-part series, I want to tell you about a female character in the Old Testament, whose story I love! Although she only had one chance, one strike and she was out, she took the risk anyway because she put her faith, her hope and her future in the hands of someone pretty ‘A-MAE-ZING.’ And because of that, because of her faith and confidence, she knew that any risk, no matter how HUGE, was worth it for the reward.
Her name was Rahad, she lived in the city of Jericho and she ran an inn, presumably also a brothel and she was a prostitute.
(now, now… I know what you might be thinking… “wow, what a great woman for you to look up to, Courtney, a prostitute?”, but let’s remember God uses the misfits, the mess-ups and the unexpected to do His work & set examples often.)
One night two men came to find lodging at the inn. They were spies, sent there to scope out the land to help devise a plan to destroy the city.
A quick back story and to simplify things for the sake of time, the spies were the “good guys,” and sent there by God to scope out the City of Jericho. As we touched on in the post about Moses, Israel was God’s chosen people and He vowed to lead them into the Promise Land and to take over any cities in their path. Jericho was the first city in their path. By this point in history, Moses had led the Israelites out of Egypt, he parted the Red Sea, and so much more. The word of what God was doing, had spread and Rahad, although making questionable life choices, put her faith in the God that had lead Moses and was leading the Israelites.
Soon after the men arrived in Jericho, the king was informed of the spies' arrival and immediately went to Rahad, knocked on her door and demanded she turn over the spies. (Joshua 2:3)
At that moment, she made her first very gutsy move, she lied to the king’s men,
“Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” (Joshua 2:4-5)
The men did not question her and ran off in search of the spies, when in fact she had taken the two spies up to the roof and hid them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.
Her next courageous move, Rahad went up to the two spies and asked for their favor and promise of safety. Rahab, despite her promiscuous occupation and poor decisions, was a woman of great faith and she believed in God. So knowing the spies were planning to kill and destroy the City of Jericho and all its inhabitants, she said to them,
“Please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them and deliver our lives from death.” (Joshua 2:12-13)
And they spies agreed that as long as she kept their trip to the city a secret, they would spare her life and the lives of all her family members.
Let’s review this because I know the first time I read this story I didn’t think too much into it, but what Rahad did is pretty courageous. Here she is, a women of less than moral character, unmarried and unaccounted for, not only lying to the king of Jericho, an act punishable by death, but playing the “you owe me one” game with two men that were sent to spy on and help destroy the very city in which she lived. AND, she makes these two very courageous moves rather quickly.
She did not have time to hum and haw over the pros and the cons, or stand in front of a mirror and give herself a pep talk. She did not call all her friends and ask their opinion or even sleep on it, an opportunity presented itself and because of her faith, she walked right up to the plate and swung for the fences. I can not even imagine the fear and nerves that she would have felt in this situation had she not had faith in something incredible.
Now I am not saying that we should discredit the importance of thinking things through. There is wisdom and strength that comes from consulting others and listening to guidance when it comes to making decisions BUT sometimes we put so much emphasis and time in the process of making the decision, we miss its purpose. We spend too much time, energy, nerves or doubt consulting the wrong people or things when the ultimate reassurance should come from the Guy Upstairs.
I struggled with this a LOT in starting this charity. I was looking at everyone and everything to give me guidance or encouragement or permission or the green light to start when I had the answer inside of me. I had faith and that faith was telling me over and over and over again to get up to the plate and swing! It was not until I went all in, put all my eggs in HIS basket and allowed myself to be lead by faith that I made the gutsy move and took the risk.
As you might have guessed, because of the courage and faith Rahab had with the king and the spies when the city of Jericho was destroyed and fell, Rahad and her family were saved.
“By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed…” Hebrews 11:31
And the story gets better!! Rahab then went on to marry a man named Salmon. They had a son named Boaz, who grew up and married Ruth. Boaz and Ruth had a son named Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David…so on and so on. This lineage continues down to the birth of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-16).
Not only was Rahad and her family saved, but because of her faith, God used her. He used her in a BIG way. He placed this poor, lowly woman, a “nobody” by societies standards, right smack dab in the middle of the most incredible story EVER, the birth of Jesus!
So take some advice for yo’ girl Rahab, put your faith, your hope, your future in the hands of the only thing that will ever actually give you the confidence and reassurance that everything, NO matter what (no matter how big the risk or how it all turns out) will be ok. Stop waiting for the green light! If your faith is in the right place….what do you have to lose?
Once I finally fully understood this and allowed myself to surrender any thoughts of “ME” or “I” the peace, confidence, and assurance I felt was unbelievable. I knew as long as I was obedient, honest and leading with faith, I could not and will not fail. It is the BEST FEELING EVER!
There is authoritative, unwavering confidence that comes with putting your faith, hope and trust into the Mighty One! Things that you alone could have never accomplished or even attempted, all of a sudden don’t seem so scary, ridiculous or unobtainable.
My prayer and hope is for you to lean into this message and think about it this week!
Where do you find your encouragement?
Do you play for a team of ONE? Or do you have the best draft pick in all of forever on your team?
Does the thought of failing crush you and cripple your spirit?
What would you go after, try to accomplish or set your sights on if you knew you could not fail?
If you are a Christ-follower, ask yourself, ARE YOU ALL IN with Him. Are all your eggs in HIS basket? Is HE the #1 fan you hear and listen to in the crowd when you stet up to the plate?
If you are not there yet with this God Guy, I hope you take away the promise that there IS MORE and whatever you’re dealing with, struggling with or thinking about you don’t have to do it alone. There is someone who believes in you so much, even when you don’t believe in yourself. He is patiently and eagerly waiting on the bench for you to put in him the game!
Think about it. What is holding you back? Why are you afraid? What is stopping you? I have a good guess that the answer is…. YOU.
Look to HIM, know HE believes in you, listen to HIS voice from the crowd cheering you on and step up to the plate and swing for the fences!
A few months from now, I hope to do a series on more stories similar to Rahab, “where by faith, people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice… shut the mouth of lions, quenched the flames of fire and escaped death by the edge of a sword.” (Hebrews 11:33-34) Because let’s be honest, how awesomely cool does all that sound….!