Saturday, February 23, 2013

Don't Allow Fear of Failure Steal Your Life

There's light at the end of the darkness...
Why are we so afraid of failing? Why do we allow our fears to hold us back and limit our potential? When will we finally realize that only true failure happens when we never even try?

At times, I am fearless. I’m proud to be a unique individual, and I thrive in my distinctiveness. I take pleasure in being me, no matter how silly, goofy, or weird I may get at times. Life wouldn’t be nearly as much fun if I tried to be more ‘normal’!

Yet, for some odd reason, I’m a lot less bold when it comes to my talents and dreams. Fibromyalgia has made me even more so. The daily headaches and frequent fibro fog have left my mind in turmoil. Once upon a time, I was able to do complex math problems in my head. Now, I forget things left and right.

The pain and fatigue (not to mention the multitude of other symptoms affecting my body) have robbed me of a lot of my strength, stamina, and endurance. Years ago, I could hike over 14 miles and feel tired but exhilarated. These days, though, I have moments when I struggle to do the simplest tasks and just the idea of leaving home can be tiring.

When you are reduced to something smaller than you used to be it’s so easy to feel discouraged and to wonder if you are still useful. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t struggle with this, too. In fact, I fight it on a daily basis.

There’s always that annoying voice that loves to spout negative thoughts and fear. If you don’t learn to confront it regularly, that obnoxious, whiny little voice eventually won’t be so little anymore and will slowly take over the rest of your thoughts. I know because when my fibro flare first hit, I was bedridden for days at a time and was stuck listening to the Gloomy Gus lurking in my head.

Oh, he’s still in there, trying to needle his way into my every thought. Over time, though, I’ve learned to drown him out a lot.  And when he decides to throw a little temper tantrum to make his ideas known I’m not above looking myself in the eye in the mirror and telling him out loud what a liar he is. Yes, folks, I’m a strong advocate of talking to yourself.  It can be very good for your health.  Sometimes the negative thoughts and feelings get so loud that only a verbal confrontation will do!

If you are struggling with questions about your self-worth or wondering if you are a complete failure, please know that you are not alone. Those of us dealing with chronic illness have been here on quite a few occasions. It's important to remember that no matter how long we’ve been in this sad place or how many times we return here, we are NOT failures! God loves each and every one of us and has a special purpose in mind for our lives. We must have faith that our struggle is not in vain and that God is constantly working behind the scenes.

The truth is we may never know why God is allowing chronic illness into our lives or what good he will bring out of our pain. But we must put our fears of failure and worthlessness aside and live the best we can every day. We cannot live our lives hiding. That won’t get us anywhere. We will still be stuck in the hole that our chronic illness has dug for us, and it will eventually become our graves…if we allow it.

Please, NEVER allow it! Rather, join me today and press on bravely into the unknown. We may inch along slower than a snail’s pace, but at least we will always know that we stood up to our health problems and refused to surrender or bow down. We are the masters of our bodies—of our life’s journey-- and chronic illness never will win!

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