The Fear of Failure
I’m about to start my second term as a student. Before I arrived at university I was constantly asked how I was feeling about this next stage of my life. I’d established that the buzzwords for any pre-university discussion are independence, experience and freedom. Those three words which should’ve been full of so much promise and excitement, instead filled my heart with dread. My friends were desperate to leave home and start uni. I didn’t want the summer to end. I’d even considered declining the place at university I had worked so hard for.
Why? Because I’d heard time and time again that my experience at university would make or break me as a Christian. Before leaving home my life was so sheltered that I rarely felt pressure to do anything I was uncomfortable with. I was terrified that I’d arrive at university with my newfound independence only to make the wrong decisions, mess up, and fail.
It wasn't until half-way through fresher’s week that I realised it was this fear, as much as anything else, that would hinder my growth as a Christian. I finally stopped just telling God how I was feeling, handed my situation over to Him and listened. I picked up my Bible and read from John 8.
’So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’
I was reminded that when we have a relationship with Jesus, we are completely set free from the things which had a hold over us without Him. We are able to give over all of our fear and guilt to Him and be free from it.
The Beauty of Grace
I had been desperate to avoid the anguish that would inevitably come with my guilt of failure. I was so caught up with the idea of resolving to be a ‘good christian’ that I’d forgotten the real gift that comes through relationship with Jesus: grace. We will make countless mistakes as we go through life, but we can be free to live in the knowledge that He loves us anyway. He fixed the relationship that we broke. He gave everything for us despite our failures, because we are of such immeasurable value to Him. It is this understanding which should shape our lives, drive us to seek holiness and grow our desire to know God more. Not a fear of failure.
It is in Jesus that I find my identity, and in pursuing him that I find my purpose. We have been released from all fear and are no longer bound by guilt because when Jesus set us free, we became free indeed.
Elle Prichard is a psychology student, studying at Bath University. She spends most of her time singing and is often likened to disney characters. Her dream is to practice as a psychologist with deprived and vulnerable women.