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The summer before my freshman year I played in my high school’s summer basketball league. My goal was to learn to play and make the team the next year, but instead I learned how far I was from being good enough to play on the team. I handled that realization by quitting on my goal and never attempted to play organized basketball again.

Fear of failure affected me then and still affects me today. How has fear of failure affected your life? How can we conquer our fear of failure so we can be free to pursue our goals and dreams?

Here are 6 simple tips that can help us conquer fear of failure.

Understand God’s Definition of Failure

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. [11] Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.

Deuteronomy 8:10-18 NIV

God doesn’t see the same things we do as failure. I look at failure as not accomplishing what I set out to or looking bad to people around me. However, in this scripture it says that to God, not considering him in your life is what he considers to be failure. How much do you think about God and what God wants as you go through your day and make decisions? How much do you remember God when you are stressed and need help? To God, this is success.

When you live by God’s definition of success and failure, you will be more confident in pursuing your goals. You won’t take everything you do wrong so hard. What’s your definition of failure? How would your attitude change if you decided to live by God’s definition of success instead of your own?

Pursue Friendship with God

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” [15] “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family. ” [16] The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

Judges 6:14-16 NIV

God did not tell Gideon that he could succeed because he is awesome. That is usually what I want someone to tell me when I doubt myself. Instead, God tells him that he can do it because God will be with him. When you are afraid, it probably means you are going it alone and not asking for God’s help or believing he is with you.

I find that I’m much more confident when I have someone with me in what I’m doing, because the pressure isn’t all on me to come through. And although people can’t always be with you, God always can. This can give you the confidence and courage to try new things because God promises to be with us.

Seek Advice

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

Proverbs 15:22 NIV

The Bible says that sometimes our plans can fail when we don’t get enough advice. When you seek advice from people you are more prepared and confident about your plans succeeding. Your friends may have a different angle you hadn’t thought about or a perspective that will help shape your decisions. Your friendships will actually grow as well because you are including others in your life and pursuits. Having an arsenal of advice with you helps you not be afraid to fail because others know what is going on and it helps you think through all possible angles.

How do you feel about seeking advice? How open to advice would your friends around you say you are?

Search God’s Word

For no word from God will ever fail.

Luke 1:37 NIV

If you knew there was something you could hold on to that would ensure that you could overcome your fear would you want it? This scripture says that you can count on God’s Word to not fail. When you make plans or goals, how often do you stop to make sure they fit in with God’s Word? Do you have scriptures that guide you through decisions you make at work or at home? Make a practical decision to find a scripture that helps you in an area you feel afraid. Relying on God’s Word will help you be courageous and conquer fear.

Ask Friends to Pray For You

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. [32] But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Luke 22:31-32 NIV

Jesus prayed for Simon’s faith not to fail. We can do the same and ask our friends to pray as well as pray for our friends, because sometimes other people have more faith for us than we have for ourselves.

When was the last time you asked someone else to pray for you? Do you try to handle and overcome fear by yourself? Enlist the help of a couple spiritual friends and write down a few things to pray about for each other. Prayer leads to having courage during times when we are being “sifted” or tested. Seeing prayers answered will also help us strengthen those around us who may be trapped by their fears.

Be Motivated by Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. [5] It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. [6] Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. [7] It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. [8] Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8b

Love is very powerful. It is a decision to be all those things listed above like patient and kind. When you are motivated by love and choose to love people, you will not fail. Love never fails. Evaluate your motivations for your goals or plan to see if you are loving people along the way.

Don’t continue to be paralyzed by fear of failure. Pursue God, get advice from friends and ask them to pray for you. Take action on one of these things every day and see how you are more freed up to take risks and not controlled by your fear of failure.

Written by

Sean Kiluk

In addition to working in ministry at the Bay Area Christian Church, Sean is our webmaster and general tech guru.