Tag Archives: fear of failure

Numbers 3 & 4; Mark 12: 28-44

It’s weird, but the whole time I was reading Leviticus 3 and 4 this morning, I kept thinking, “What if you weren’t any good at the job your family was assigned?”  I mean, the Gershonites were basically tent makers, seamstresses, weavers, and the like, responsible for hanging the curtains and veils and tapestries, making coverings of blue and purple for the elements in the tabernacle, packing them and unpacking them as the tribes marched.  What if you couldn’t sew a straight seam to save your soul? The Kohathites were bearers of the ark, the lampstand, the altars, and other utensils in the sanctuary.  They were responsible for carrying the most holy things on poles when the tribes moved, yet they were not allowed to touch the sacred items or even look upon them casually, and death was on the line. The sons of Merari had to be wood workers and metal workers, able to carry beams, keep count of all the sockets, pegs, and cords.  What if you were scrawny or slow with numbers? What if you couldn’t perform your duties?

Recently I participated in an exercise on the difficulties faced by people with traumatic brain injuries.  Three of us at a table took turns trying to trace a star by looking at it only through a mirror.  One person took a long time, but finally traced the star with shaky lines.  The next person could not even get down one side of the star, scribbling instead in all directions.  I knew that this exercise was to demonstrate the disconnect between the brain and the fine motor skills, but when I could not force my hand to do what my brain said, my internal need to be successful left me visibly shaken.

So what if I cannot do the one job well that God gave me to do?  Not well, but perfectly…or at least better than anyone else in my immediate surroundings.  Worse, still, I feel the clock ticking on the time left to make any improvements at all to accomplishing my assigned tasks.  And what if, in the end, I do something so foolish such as Uzzah, the Kohathite who reaches out to steady the ark, but dies on the spot for touching it?

Makes a body want to pull the covers over her head and wait for the day to be over.

Fears are ancient, yet Christ said that there are only two things we need be concerned with: loving God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Getting caught up in performing for others, fearing the loss of competency or the disappointment of failure, looking for accolades from my peers or from those in authority, and worrying that there is always more that I should have done – all these thoughts and behaviors reflect the old ways. To challenge those fears, I will remember the chosen position that I now have in Christ.  I am accepted not by my works, but by his perfect sacrifice.  So I will learn to work without fear, as I have heard it said, for an audience of One.

Janet

Advertisement

5 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Numbers, Old Testament