Thursday, August 27, 2009

Of Spiders and Failure

I have a confession to make: I'm afraid of spiders. To me, a spider's appearance is threatening, and seeing them makes me anxious. They have a habit of falling on me in the middle of the night, when it's dark, and I can't see what's coming next.

Lately, God has shown me that failure is a lot like those spiders. Its appearance is threatening, and seeing it makes me anxious, it's something that I want to avoid at all costs. It also has a habit of dropping on me, when I can't see what's coming next.

But there's another similarity. I may be so afraid of what might happen that I become paralyzed with the fear. Instead of getting up and removing the spider, I stay in bed, staring at the ceiling, and instead of going out of my comfort zone, I freeze, afraid that I will fail. That's something that the enemy loves. When I'm so scared that I don't do anything, I'm not living for God. He says to be strong and courageous, and he says it multiple times. He says to not worry, and not to be anxious about anything. He says that he'll be with me, always.

There's something else that I've learned too. When that spider finally does fall, it's scary and uncomfortable for a little, but then I brush it off and go on with my life. It's the same with failure. In the end, it doesn't matter that I've failed, it's more important that I did. That I wasn't paralyzed with the fear, that I attempted to do something, and risked failure. I love the way Theodore Roosevelt said it:

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

At the end of my life, I'd much rather say "God, I've risked failure so many times, and failed many, but I've lived every day for you" than "I never failed, God" And, spiders have helped me to realize this.

Original picture of spiderweb, cc, via flickr BodHack, modified via picnik