My superstar college roommate would say after breaking scoring records on the basketball team, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
We need to care less about failure, and live more care free because God cares. The social reformer and spiritual leader, Nehemiah, did this.
Nehemiah asked for time off because God cares. Nehemiah enacted bold reforms and rebuilt gates and walls because God cares. Nehemiah took risks because God cares. Nehemiah cared less about failure because, he says, “the gracious hand of my God was on me” for “what God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem” (Nehemiah 2:8,12).
When your God is gracious, then your failures aren’t failures but learning experiences and launching pads for growth. The gracious hand of God forgives and says, “Let’s try again.”
Can you walk into your fears of failure instead of being paralyzed by them?
Passion for God
Nehemiah faced fears and failure with passion for God. The king noticed his “sadness of heart” and Nehemiah admits “I was very much afraid” (Nehemiah 2:2). Whatever causes you pain and fear is a passion. As a passion for what’s important to God, it translates into courage.
And courage says, “God, because this is important to you, it’s important to me.”
Purpose from God
Nehemiah faced fears and failure with purpose from God. He told the king (his boss), “Send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it” (Nehemiah 2:5). Nehemiah’s ancestors were buried in Jerusalem because God gave that city a special purpose. It was a hub of his saving work. Eventually Jesus would die and be buried there, too.
When your purpose is from God, you say “Send me!” and “I can!”
Prayer to God
Nehemiah faced fears and failure with prayer to God. “Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king” (Nehemiah 2:4,5). How much risk should you take? Before you reach analysis paralysis, ask God in prayer. Tell him you’re scared. Tell him you want to succeed. Tell him you’re ready but you want to do it right. Then ask, “Should I do it, God?”
Through that honest, prayerful seeking from God, you will find clarity.
Trying and failing is much better than failing because you never try at all. You can take intelligent, intentional risks for God because he cares.
PRAYER: Dear gracious God, your hand is strong and gracious. You give me blessings by your hand, and direct me on your paths. Thank you for caring about me. I want to care more about what is important to you. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read Nehemiah chapter 2. Where do you see Nehemiah’s courage in his words and actions?