It is much harder to live with regret then to live with excuses. Excuses can often disguise themselves as wisdom but in the end they are usually fear-based reasons for not fulfilling our purpose.
Even more dangerous is intentionally holding back from completely giving all to protect ourselves from feeling like a failure if things somehow don’t quite work out. Strange isn’t it, but true! This can happen in any area of life.
I first realized this when I was playing basketball for Bethany Bible College. I found myself intentionally not giving my all on the court so I would stay protected from feeling like a failure if I was not successful on it. I hid my fear behind my lack of effort.
I have seen this in many people (especially men) over the years. It’s not that they don’t participate, it’s that they don’t take part FULLY, leaving enough space to reason that something was not done successfully because their “all” was not given.
If we don’t break out of this mindset, we will have lived life giving less then 100%. Worse yet, we will have been unfaithful with the talents the Lord has entrusted to us. If we stay in this pattern we will ultimately look at the years we wasted and regret what could have been.
Here is a few simple things I have learned in making sure I don’t fall into this trap.
1. Pray. It is surprising how many people need to be reminded of this. Be convinced that God wants you to do whatever it is in front of you. This needs to be a fairly rock-solid conviction.
2. Put yourself at the end of your life. Ask this, “Will I regret not putting in the full effort in taking on this assignment?” Maybe this is a strange question, but I do think it needs to be asked. Do not, I repeat, do not disqualify yourself based on not feeling adequate? Never let the fear of failure weaken the voice of the Lord and the direction He wants to take you in.
3. If you are struggling, honestly look inside and ask what it is that is really holding you back. Don’t negotiate with fear. Don’t partner with your feeling of lack. Don’t let pride get the best of you. Don’t let the cost overwhelm you. Refuse to let these things keep you from FULLY engaging.
4. Activate faith and picture yourself being successful in whatever you are deciding on doing. You have God’s blessing and power! Look into the Word and study men like, Joshua, Moses, Paul, Peter, Abraham and the Apostles. In the natural, they did not have what it took, they just had God. These guys will encourage you!
5. Do it at 110%. Refuse to hold back. Put yourself out there. Bury your pride and squash your fears. Depend on the Lord. Watch how He will empower you. Refuse to hide any fear with a lack of effort.
6. You will be pleasantly surprised at the results and the number of times you will succeed! Really!
7. If it doesn’t pan out like you wanted it to, focus on what you have learned about yourself, God and the assignment given. Learn, grow and keep going. God loves this and He is waiting to give you another assignment based on what you have just learned in the previous one.
God is with you. And if God is with you who can be against you (Romans 8:31). Refuse to let YOU be against you. Put your all in ALL you do.