I’ve been thinking about one of the sections of my book lately… because it’s really hitting me hard at the moment.
Chapter 15: Bow Lower As You Climb Higher
Beware, the Fear of Success
As we learn to appreciate the hidden value of deep humiliation, we tend to feel safe in our brokenness. If we are not very careful, we may find ourselves preferring a life of continual suffering. We may shun success through the fear of pride. This is the anti-biblical belief that says: As long as we are always in some kind of unbearable conflict and so messed up that nobody else will have us, then we will always be perfectly united with Christ. Believe it or not, many people fear success more than they fear failure.
Give a person a huge success—challenge the person with power and decorate him or her with honor—then we shall see what that person is really made of! I think everyone knows this and it is a very big reason too many good-hearted people settle with a safe and manageable dream. We are not really afraid that God might think too little of us, but that He may be counting on us to step up and save the world. We hope that we are called to be legends, and we spend years dreaming about the possibility of a legend’s future—but when God says “now,” we run away and hide.
A few years ago, when I was about halfway through this book, I went through several months of hating myself for the filthy sins of my dark past life. I glanced forward with prophetic eyes and sensed that I was racing forward too fast to stop. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I heard God say to me, “Chuck, this is going to happen! Your future is not a far-fetched dream anymore. That future is now! Over the next few years, I am going point you out—and the whole world is going to feel the warmth of your light.”
Instead of being excited with this reality, I fell into a miserable depression. I stopped writing, toned down my preaching gift, and stopped doing anything powerful that might further expand my influence. I told God I had changed my mind because I no longer felt worthy of His high calling. I asked Him to remove His power from my heart and leave me to an average future. I told Him that I would certainly fail, so He better give my dream to someone else.
God was gracious to me during that terrible, frightening season. He gave me plenty of time to pray and meditate on His Word and rest. Then, finally, when I was in a position to hear from Him again, I received a mysterious phone call from an old real estate partner and friend—Robert Michon. He asked me what I was doing those days, and he said he wanted the whole truth; so I held nothing back.
Thank God, Rob listened to me cry for an hour or more and then he spoke. His brilliant words and persuasive attitude rescued my dying dream that day. He said to me, “Chuck, God has given you a gift—a wonderful, beautiful gift! The Big Guy has chosen you to rescue people out of this suffering world. You cannot hide your light under a bushel just because you’re scared of all that power. People are right now crying out for your book and everything else you’re called to give them. I know you’re afraid of what might happen, and you’re afraid of failing, but those people deserve your blessing. So get back in the race, run as fast as you can, and don’t look back again!” Rob will never know how much that one phone call changed my life. Still, the fear of success creeps up every now and then. When it does, I think back to that conversation, and I stare fear in the face—and I lay everything on the line again for my dream of a better tomorrow. You can do the same!
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.2
Until you overcome this “deepest fear,” you will always unconsciously assassinate your God-sized dream in the hopes of preserving your humility. You will keep shunning high success and wishing instead for a lowly life of poverty and rejection. I call this the trap of playing it safe!
Do You Fear Success?
Everyone roots for the underdog. People usually have compassion for the struggler. But, as soon as the dreamer start to rise, the knives come out! It’s human nature.
I’ve been a struggler for the past several years, and I’ve become way to accustomed to the sympathy of friends and family… even the sympathy of my enemies. Now that everything is beginning to change, I fear that haters will rise… that jealousy, bitterness, and insecurities will consume the souls of people who will have no idea what’s going on in my deepest thoughts. I might not be able to call somebody back as quickly as I will try to… but I will be perceived as an elitist.
This fear is trying to force me down. There is a huge temptation blazing in my heart… to bury my book and deny my heavenly calling to change the WORLD… and live as little as I can so that everyone will be comfortable with me.
Yet, the calling is clear and the time is NOW. I cannot say no to God when He calls my name! I cannot do this, and neither can you!
Think About What I’m Saying Today!
If you are really going to become the person you’ve dreamed of becoming, you’ll have to overcome your fear of success!
Stop assassinating your God-sized dream in the hopes of preserving your humility… and the fear of being misunderstood! Dare to SHINE!
This blog was written with real tears… for myself and for every other person in this generation who is standing on the threshold between great and legendary… for every person who is petrified about standing out. When your time comes, you have to take a deep breath and RISE TO THE OCCASION!
I just finished praying for you, mighty hero. With much love…
Dream Big, Live Bold, and Make A Difference!