Afraid of Success

In the beginning of the summer, I started my career as a freelance writer and editor. I didn’t sign a contract, nor did I get any sort of salary or benefits. My husband and I made the decision to start my business up from the ground.

Over these last couple of months, I’ve had plenty of doubts. What if my book never gets published? What if no one ever gives me business? What if people hear my pitch, see my passion, and still reject me? What if I never make another dime in my life?

As Sophie writes in Letters to Juliet: “‘What’ and ‘If’ are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life: What… if? What, if? What if…?”

To be honest with you, I’m not pursuing this career path for the money. I’m doing this because I love to write, and you can’t put a price tag on what you love. On a laborious commute home about a year ago, I heard a sermon from Craig Groeschel, during his series “Divine Direction.” His intro wasn’t related to his sermon (it was more of an announcement), but what he said stuck with me. He asked the congregation if they would be willing to keep their current jobs if they were guaranteed $10,000 more. Then he asked if they were guaranteed $20,000, then $100,000, then $1 million. Some people would violently nod their heads in agreement, but to me, the money isn’t worth it if you don’t like what you do. Time is also a valuable resource, and if you spend 40+ hours a week doing something you don’t like (in addition to the hours you spend thinking and talking about your job), you’re wasting your time. I thank God for the opportunity to do what I love, without looking at my salary.

Although my fear of failure is slowly dissipating, these last couple of weeks, I’ve realized that I have a fear even deeper than my fear of failure. I have a fear of success.

I’ve dreamed of staying at home as a writer since I was six years old, before I even knew it was possible. All I knew was that I loved sitting on my computer all day and typing stories. I loved to write, and as God came into my life and changed my heart, I started to love encouraging the hopeless with my writing as well. Given all the enemy threw at me to make me unsuccessful, here I am, in the battle arena, waiting to mount onto the victor’s pedestal.

What if all the hopes and dreams that I’ve wanted to see come to fruition, aren’t as great as I think they’re going to be?

Despite what Shia LaBeouf may say, it often is better for your dreams to be dreams. Dreams can be whatever you want them to be, with no interruptions. Once your dream is voiced, it suddenly clashes with reality, and now you have to deal with the rubber meeting the road, the flying car crashing onto the paved road on the ground.

That is the same for my writing. My dream is to be a published author with tons of books, traveling and spreading hope to my adoring readers, for the glory of God. I want to make a living as a writer. I totally believe that’s possible, but what if it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be? What if my dream isn’t as beautiful and wonderful as I had always hoped?

The joy in this message is that our success is never going to be as satisfying as we expect. God has given us a passion for Him and for His kingdom, for Heaven. While we can enjoy a taste of the blessings He has for us in the next life, nothing on Earth is ever going to satisfy us apart from God. All we can do is work as hard as we can for God, and to pursue the dreams that He has birthed in us. Through prayer and wise counsel, you can find that dream job, and you can be successful, no matter what you do. And you don’t have to be afraid of success or failure.


Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

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1 thought on “Afraid of Success

  1. Amen! When we do to give God the glory, the emphasis isn’t to receive earthly reward, but so that the name of God be glorified. God in His faithful rewards this attitude with good things

    Liked by 1 person

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