Sometimes I am asked this question: "Are you not afraid that you will fail and not be able to achieve the goal you set for yourself?"
The answer is: “All the time”.
A number of years ago, I had an experience that put my "fear of failure" into a new perspective for me. I was only 5 days into an
18-day fundraising ride from Inuvik, the furthest point north in Canada to Point Pelee, the furthest point south, when a number of factors contributed to me abandoning my ride.
I was devastated and answering media questions was one of the hardest things I have ever done.
The drive home in the Leisure Van from Fort Nelson in northern BC to Winnipeg was very long, and the anticipation of meeting friends and family was gut-wrenching. I had failed to do what I had set out to do. My perception however changed when I listened to a message on our answering machine that evening. It was from someone who had followed our journey. I had to listen to the message three times before I could understand what he was saying, because his voice was quivering and unclear with all the emotion. I will paraphrase the message he left me.
"Arvid, thank you for the example you set in showing me how to cope with disappointment. It meant a lot more to me than if you would have accomplished your goal.” It took me a while to understand that what I viewed as failure, God used to speak to the circumstances in this individual's life.
Charles Mulli is the founder of Mully Children’s Family. He was abandoned by his family at age 6. After being shuffled from one relative to the next, mostly living on the street, Charles got a job. Eventually, he became a multi-millionaire. Then one day God prompted his heart to sell all of his businesses and take street kids into his home. Today Charles and his wife Esther care for over 4000 formerly orphaned or abandoned children.
When God called Charles to give up his businesses, he too was afraid. He was afraid of what his family and friends would say. He was afraid of being ineffective and becoming the laughingstock in the community. He was afraid to risk everything he had for the sake of those he did not even know.
Just imagine what would have happened to thousands of kids, if he had given in to the fear of failure?
I sometimes wonder what opportunities we are missing, because we are too afraid to step outside of our safe comfort zone. It is not about what we can do, but rather what God can do through us when we make ourselves available. Does our fear of failure prevent us from being available for God?
I am convinced that God can turn a 'failed' 10,000km GWR attempt into the most successful fundraising platform ever and help Charles & Esther feed thousands of destitute children and adults.
The things we do for ourselves will be forgotten when we are gone. Only the things we do for others will live on.
- Grandpa Arvid