by Dan Daase, Clearwater New Life Assembly
In our society today there is such a pressure for people to succeed. We hear the saying, “It’s a doggy dog world out there!” Those who don’t succeed, who don’t make it to the top of the ladder, are often looked down upon, or feel inferior.
This drive to succeed, to get ahead, is good in some ways. What it does is helps a person stay up with the latest technologies, or to stay educated with whatever is new in their field. But the drive, the constant striving, to stay ahead, or more so, to be ahead of the next guy, is not good. It puts so much pressure and stress on the individual, that for some, is too much. It affects their health negatively, at the least, or for some, causes them to snap, and as they say, “Go off the deep end.”
On this topic, the late Pastor Selwyn Hughes, who was best known for writing the daily devotional “Every Day with Jesus,” addressing other pastors, wrote this:
“I remember addressing a group of ministers in Atlanta, Georgia, on ‘Pitfalls in the Ministry.’ I told them the story of my own failures, which at that time amounted to a great many, and I said, ‘The lesson I have learned from my failures is that I don’t have to succeed. I have to do the right thing under God’s guidance, and leave success or failure in His hands.’ One of the ministers came to me afterwards and said, ‘I am a pastor of one of the largest churches in this area, and regarded by my peers as one of the most successful ministers in my denomination. But today you have helped me overcome the greatest pressure in my life – the pressure to succeed.’
In the early years of my ministry, I was extremely success-oriented; when I succeeded, I felt good, and when I failed, I felt devastated. Then God said to me quite bluntly one day, ‘Are you willing to be a failure?’ The question shook me rigid. It was a whole week later before I found sufficient grace to answer that question with a, ‘Yes,’ and when I did, I was instantly released from the two things that had crippled my life and ministry – the pressure to succeed and the fear of failure. Now, what matters is not succeeding or failing, but being true to Him. Success and failure are in His hands. I am not on the way to success, I am on the Way. What a difference!” (Selwyn Hughes: “Everyday Light” Crosswalk.com)
Hughes may have been addressing pastors in this comment, but it is no less true for all of us. When the pressure to succeed and the fear of failure are not there in our lives, we can go on to do our job with excellence, no matter what that job is. Yes, we want to succeed, and to do that may mean additional training, studying, learning, etc, but we no longer feel the drive, the pressure to succeed, at all costs. No we don’t want to fail at what we are doing, but again, when we know we are doing what we are doing to the best of our ability, and striving for excellence, then the pressures of possibly failing are no longer there.
No doubt all of face enough in our daily lives, without having the additional pressures of succeeding, and the fear of failing. As Christians we have the wonderful privilege of coming to God and asking for His help. Jesus says that He gives us His peace, peace that will help us through times of pressures. Peter encourages us to cast our cares upon God, for He cares about us.
The next time you feel the pressures of life, whether it is to succeed, or the fear of failing, or some other pressures that threaten to overwhelm you, go to Jesus. As Him for help so that you can make it through, no matter what pressures you may be facing.