Chapter 2: Fear of Being Wrong
We’ve all been afraid at some point in our lives. I’m afraid of releasing this book and I’m writing it! Fear can keep us from moving, creating and ultimately living. It terrorizes us into adopting a lifestyle that binds us and imprison us within a state of constant misery and despair.
Whether we were terrorized by the neighborhood dog, the monsters under the bed or the spider on the wall at the end of it all, we were able to find a way to cope with our fears. Of course, for some of us coping meant sending in a loved one to kill the spider on the wall, check for monsters under the bed and just muzzling that dog who just couldn’t stop barking. Either way the fear was dealt with. However, we didn’t face our fear we just found a coping mechanism for our fears.
The good news is that if you have been able to practice facing your fears, then you have all the tools you need to face all of your fears, including the fear of being wrong. But for most of us, we have been conditioned to send in someone to rescue us from our fears, so when it’s time for us to make that leap of faith and fear sets in, we are subject to undergo a different process, one that we must learn to face all by ourselves.
What if you’re wrong?
Everybody wants to be right. I don’t think I’ve ever met one person who really didn’t care whether they were right or wrong. In fact, most people I know love to boast about how right they are in every single argument. It’s like a competition we find ourselves in. Being right, gives us notoriety and a platform that allows us to guide and influence others into making decisions and some of them being life changing decisions. Being right gives us a certain control because we are now reliable. But what happens when you don’t know? What happens when the possibility of being wrong is as real as being right? Better yet what happens if you’re wrong? The risk of losing that notoriety, respect and the ability to be called reliable also goes with it. Being wrong exposes our vulnerability and our imperfection. It gives room for shame to present itself in a very real way. Suddenly, we are faced with that moment where humility becomes the pill we have to swallow for our enlarged ego and pride.
The English poet, Alexander Pope, is quoted, “to err is human.” In fact, I find that this scripture, Romans 3 verse 23 says it best, “We all fallen short of the glory of God.” Not one person is perfect and not one person ever will be. At some point you will be wrong, and you will make a mistake. Don’t let the fear of being wrong keep you from moving. In fact, show up and do it afraid. Show up, be vulnerable and move forward. You may be waiting for your big moment, but how will you recognize it if you’re so afraid of being wrong that you mistake it for another “waste of time”?
Your “moment” will most likely not present itself in a pretty little box. It will most likely not present itself as “Your Big Moment”. You will not hear a deep bass-infused voice from Heaven saying “This is your big moment!” Believe me, I know. In fact, I can remember a time when I mistook my moment for a waste of time and missed out on an opportunity to truly do what I always wanted to do.
My missed opportunity
I was offered an opportunity to minister at an event. They were willing to pay for my travel expenses, my accommodations and pay me as a minister. I was going to get paid doing what I loved most. I was offered the opportunity to live out my destiny and I wasn’t even known. You know what I did? I turned it down. The event was the same day as another church event. I was afraid of what my church leaders would say. I dreaded the thought of being rebuked for “leaving” my ministerial post to minister elsewhere. I was terrified that I would be considered unfaithful, selfish and disloyal. I didn’t even bother praying about it. I was just so afraid of being wrong.
It’s been at least two years since the incident, I haven’t received any other offers. No one has called asking for me to lead in worship or to minister. I stopped moving because I was afraid of being wrong.
In 2 Kings 7 verse 3 through 20 we meet four lepers who just want to survive. Their big moment is in their ability to live another day. The city is under siege, or so they believe. In their minds, the Syrians are right outside the door. They are afraid. At some point, they were so hungry that they realized that they can either stay in the city and starve to death or leave and die by the Syrians.
They make up their minds and leave. They took a chance. They didn’t receive a word from God. They didn’t seek out a priest, mind you they wouldn’t have been able to even if they wanted to. They just had a need to survive. Their ego/pride/righteousness was no longer the focus. They were completely vulnerable and exposed to death and embarrassment.
What’s amazing about this story is that in their humble state they became the messengers of good news. They changed the mood of the country because of this moment. The country could eat again. The nation could ultimately live again. They were no longer under siege and they now knew this. All because these leprous men took a chance. They faced their fears without sending in someone else. They did this on their own. Their ability to act despite their fear was crucial to Israel’s deliverance. Ultimately, their personal testimony of God’s faithfulness was shared and resonated on a national level.
The fear of being wrong can kill you and your destiny. Personally, I am still waiting for my moment. Fear has robbed me once. Fear did not rob these men. They lived. They thrived.
Now is the time to walk in the direction of your passion.