My biggest fear is to be alone--alone in the sense of relationally alone, not in the sense of being by myself. My second biggest fear is failure. It is this second fear that plagues me currently, and the fear of failure often begets the fear of being alone.
I am afraid that I have failed. I have not shared this on my blog or indeed with some of my closest friends because I am afraid they too will think I have failed. How have I failed? Or how have I possibly failed? I quit my job. I am officially sitting with two weeks left of work at the B&N and no job lined up after those two weeks.
Why did I quit my job? I quit on principle. I quit because my integrity and character were being called into question. I quit because of slander and false rumors that defamed my character and in the defamation of me, defamed God. I quit because I had been put in a threatening and borderline abusive position by upper management.
I do not regret quitting my job for these reasons. I believe that I made the best decision--ethically, morally, and spiritually. But now I am without employment, and I fear that means I have failed and moreover means I am a failure.
Fear is a strange thing. It can be the thing that keeps us motionless or the impetus for change. It can be the thing that holds us to weakness or the thing that encourages strength. Paul told Timothy that "God did not give us a spirit of timidity [fear], but a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:10). I've got to be honest that the Spirit of God in me may lead to power, love, and self-discipline, but I'm afraid that my fleshly fear may often hinder that. That fear of waking up one day and finding myself completely alone possibly as a result of my failure is a powerful fear. And days come when I know and believe that the spirit of power, love and self-discipline God has anointed me with is so much stronger than the spirit of fear. But there are other days when my fleshly side wins out.
I know that my mother is reading this thinking that I put too much pressure on myself, and I do. Even here I am afraid of failure. I am afraid of really letting you see the deeper well-spring in me, and I am afraid of not doing justice to my current subject matter. I am my best and often my worst critic. And part of me wants to end this post by telling you that I know, trust, and believe in a God who is bigger than my fear and who can and does cast that fear out of me. And I do. But I'm also a messy human. And thank the Lord that He does provide that perfect love that casts out fear (1 John 4:18). And thank the Lord that He so graciously forgives me when I succumb to fear--even the same fear over and over again. So I won't end with a great profession of faith, but rather I'll tell you this: that I'm afraid that I have failed--which I recognize to be a lie--and I am afraid of what the future holds. So when you think on it, say a prayer for me, and hopefully I'll say a prayer for you sometime soon, too.