“You want to know the difference between a master and a beginner? The master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried.” – Yoda
Fear of failure is the greatest inhibitor to live into the fullness God is calling us to. Time and time again, at the core of what keeps us feeling “stuck,” is the anxiety that we may not get it right and therefore be considered a failure both to ourselves and to others. I would suggest however, that failure and being a failure are not the same thing. One is stepping out into a new place and not meeting the expectations we had hoped for. The other is frankly doing nothing at all. The former is actually nothing more than a first attempt, which provides important feedback on trying again. The latter is attempting nothing, which in the end will lead to no solution, no new possibility, or no potential creative outcome.
When I hear Jesus saying to Bartimaeus (Mk 10:51) or the woman suffering from a hemorrhage for 12 years (Mt 9:22, Mk 5:34, Lk 8:48), “Your faith has made you well,” it makes it clear that moving from a place of fear to a place of faithfulness opens us to incredible new life. Both of these individuals had to move beyond their own fear of how those around would perceive them, and move beyond the fear of being rejected by Jesus. But Jesus immediately saw in both Bartimaeus and the woman a deep sense of faith that was stronger than any fear they may have had. And that faith made them well.
We are called to live a life of faith – to not allow our fears to cripple us or hold us back. Recognizing as theologian Richard Rohr writes, “I’m convinced that is the very meaning of faith. Faith is agreeing to live without full resolution. Both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Scriptures make that very clear. We are often called to walk in darkness, where God leads us to that next step which is usually not clear, predictable, or controllable by the rational mind.” Yet, when we do step out in faith, God will lead us to that new place, new possibility, new life.