Three Taverns Church

My Fear Of Success


Lying in bed last night I was beset with the fear I might actually go through with this church-in-a-bar idea. It wasn’t the social stigma that frightened me, but rather the idea that I would follow through and accomplish something. It’s so strange! Lying there I was tempted to let the moment pass, to wake up today and jump on the PS3 and do nothing to pursue my goal.

Securing the location of the church plant was a big moment. Without a bar to meet at, there can be no church. With the location secured I don’t have any major barriers left: We’ve already sold or given away most of our possessions, moved more than 3,000 miles across the country, and put down new roots in the city God called us to. And now we have a place to meet. There are no excuses left.

Part of this may be a fear of failure. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m taking my best shot. Some people have already expressed their disdain for me and this idea. God only knows what people will think the day we launch.

But a bigger part of me is hoping to quit before I get the chance to fail. I think it’s the reason I couldn’t fall asleep last night, terrified at the thought of going through with this church plant. Because then I would have accomplished something special simply by trying, and there’s a part of me that is afraid of being special, of being a success. I think I’ve sabotaged my career in the past for the same reasons; it’s probably why I try to destroy myself with pornography. I’m afraid of succeeding because part of my malformed ego refuses to believe that I’m worthy of success.

So a part of me wants to let this moment pass me by. It wants people to forget all the noise I’ve been making about the church plant. It wants to go back to being normal, which means back to being a self-defeating failure. You can’t believe how strong that temptation is for me this very second.

Because if I do something about this church plant idea, even if the church itself doesn’t explode with success like it does in my dreams, I will be a success because I dared to fail and actually tried to create something. We all know in our hearts that failing doesn’t make us failures; only failing to try makes us so. So if I dare to fail, regardless of the outcome of the church plant, I will have to acknowledge my success in daring something great.

And then I’d have to challenge that sick, poisoned part of me that refuses to believe I deserve anything good.

God is exorcising my demons through this process. Please keep my family and I in your prayers; we need encouragement and wisdom now more than ever!

And I wonder, have you let crucial moments pass you by for the same reasons?


6 thoughts on “My Fear Of Success

  1. It’s not about you; it’s all about God! Luke 17:10 covers it well.

  2. Mary, i was just wondering what this scripture has to do with RM’s fear of personal success and overcoming them? RM, i have felt this way before. When I started to lose weight, i started with the thought, “if it doesn’t work, i’ll have lost only a month.” i didn’t actually think i could succeed. only with God’s help did i succeed.

  3. The key is : how does one measure success!

    • I’m sorry Mary, but I believe your answer is overly simplistic and fails to acknowledge the psychological and theological struggles I was trying to capture in my post. Not all of life’s troubles can be assuaged with a simple verse or three easy steps.

  4. It seems my response does not fit your criteria for the right or appropriate response; however that is my response. There is no scripture that is “simple”. One must plumb the length, width, breadth, and depth of a scripture verse to gain the Wisdom in it. This verse is offered as a starting point to your post; it is like stepping through the backside of the wardrobe in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Each scripture verse is only the threshold into the mind of Christ.

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