The price of fear

January 1, 0001

I’ve spoken to a lot of you who are semi-interested in missions but don’t take the leap.

I often wonder what the real reason for that is. Getting to the “root cause” - asking “Five Whys” - is often a challenge. And we aren’t always honest with ourselves. Nevertheless, it seems to me most of the time the root cause is fear: fear of getting it wrong. Fear of missing out. Fear of going to the wrong place, the wrong people, and therefore being pre-destined to failure.

Truth: you will have failures along the way. No matter what road you choose, no matter what you try, you will experience failures. Everyone does. Failure is part of the learning process. We fail because we’re trying to learn what doesn’t work, and we rarely get it right the first time. Tactical failures are not strong indicators of strategic choice mistakes. “Choosing the right place” - e.g. getting the calling right - does not mean there will be no failures. Therefore, you cannot use failure as an indicator that you have chosen wrongly. Second, at least in the cause of missions, I strongly doubt you can really “choose wrongly.” I am not denying the concept of a calling, but I think it’s something we need to hold very loosely. A strong sense of calling in mission is a very important piece of inspiration that keeps you going when the night is darkest, and when the failures seem to just keep coming. But if we view this as a “spiritual war,” then no matter what part of the battle you are in, you’ll play an important part. Consider the classic example of World War II - who was more important: the presidents, the generals, the sergeants, the pilots, the soldiers, the cooks, the mechanics, the farmers at home who fed the nation? We can argue who was most “influential” but every role was important and necessary and needed. What kills us isn’t a little bit of movement in the wrong direction - that can be easily corrected. What kills us is no movement at all.