Last week I started this summer’s round of basketball camps here in North Carolina. I started with the younger kids, and even at the young ages I notice a common characteristic in people – pride! I am not talking about the pride that is evidenced by a cocky outward demeanor; but instead that is evidenced by a fear of failure and that someone may be watching.
As I introduce new disciplines in the game or ask the players to use their “weak-hand” to attempt a drill, I immediately see the wheels start turning in their minds and the fear that they will mess up. In response often I see the “paralysis of analysis” take place: the mind goes through all the possible outcomes and as a result the body stays paralyzed doing nothing.
I often quote John Wooden on this subject. He regularly talked about the fact that the “doer makes mistakes.” He talked of the fact that if you are unwilling to mess up you will never taste success.
This morning I read another great quote on this subject of how we view failure. It was given by Fedor Emelianenko, a mixed martial arts fighter from Russia. Fedor has been considered by many to be the greatest fighter in the history of MMA. He has gone 10 years (28 straight fights) without being defeated. This is so amazing because in this particular sport it simply takes one small mistake to be in a bad position and allow your opponent to strike.
Saturday night this happened to Fedor. He was dominating his fight but then made just enough of a mistake to allow his opponent to put a submission hold on him. It was a huge upset in MMA and one would think that it would be a huge blow to Fedor. Yet his response was worthy of note: “The one who doesn’t fall never stands up,”
I run into many Christians that do not attempt great things for God because they feel unworthy or fear failure. Through their analyzing of self-worth and abilities, they forget a simple fact that God is the one that empowers us. I love the old quote that says, “The only ability God is concerned with in us is our ‘avail”-ability.
Yesterday our worship pastor at our church gave a great reminder from Isaiah (6:1-8) about this very thing. When we see the awesome, almighty God we are humbled and recognize our weakness and imperfection. Yet then we also see his cleansing power and hear His request of “Whom shall I send?”
Our continual response should be “Here am I! Send me.”
But what if you mess up? 1 John 1:9 tells us of God’s continual forgiveness that is available to us!
Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—