This morning, I had a conversation with a lady about how her daughter was suffering in her heart… because she qualified for a team that her friends did not make.
This is a time when she should be upside down with happiness, yet she’s terrified about this promotion… in the fear of how it could make everyone else feel.
This conversation reminds me of a section from my book…
From Chapter 15: Bow Lower As You Climb Higher
Beware, the Fear of Success…
As we learn to appreciate 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 goodhearted people settle with a safe and manageable dream.
We are not 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 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 speaking 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 breakdown. He gave me plenty of time to pray, meditate on His Word, and rest. Then, finally, when I was in a position to hear from Him again, I received a 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!”
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. (Our Deepest Fear, by Marianne Williamson)
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.
There is so much to risk—and yet, you and I are stuck with this tameless passion in our sacred hearts.
We want to run away to the safety of a no-challenge life and yet we are driven with a dream that matters!
We are positive there is a way to change the world and not lose ourselves doing it.
There has to be a way of holding on to love. There has to be a way of catapulting today’s humble posture forward—even into the most prominent earthly arenas.
Heck yeah, we can succeed without becoming the biggest jerk in town! We can head our billion-dollar companies, sit in high political seats, and even run for president or prime minister—all without having to forfeit our values.
I just know there is a way to shrug off the bloodthirsty mobs and every lurking temptation. There is a way to manage millions of dollars without making it lord. I honestly believe that we can change the world.
Either we stay right here try our best to play it safe, and we hurry up and burn this book and turn down our beauty so we never have to worry about standing out.
Or, we can take a holy risk—and if we fall, then at least we will never be like the “man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.”
We will know that:
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena (and we will be that person in the arena), whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at worse, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. (Theodore Roosevelt)
As for me, I cannot bear the thought of living little when I was born to stand out!
We should not think up a run-of-the-mill dream for ourselves, because we fear potential failure!
If you and I were created for something big, then we should never duck away from God when He smiles in our direction.
Instead, we should do everything we can to run our best race with honor, endurance, and a very impressive finish!
We must never forget that even at our very best, we are still just a men or women. Yes, we definitely want to feel the pressure of accountability to God for the way we represent Him.
We just have to keep on reminding ourselves that we are not God, and we will never be big enough to shoulder His Kingdom.
We are mortal. We are weak. But still, we are called for big things!
Knowing this frees us to try and fail, and try and fail again—as people stepping out for God.
I hope this message encourages you today!
God has given YOU a gift—a wonderful, beautiful gift! The Big Guy is asking YOU to help someone (many someones) in this suffering world. I know you’re terrified about the haters, and you’re afraid of falling flat on your face, but people need YOU. They pray for YOU to rise. They long for YOUR rescue. So get back in the race, run as fast as you can, and don’t look back again!
If you haven’t read Make Me A Legend, you can order your signed copy today. If you can’t afford it, we will mail you a free copy.