Someone once said that people are like icebergs; most of who we are is hidden below the surface. Nowhere is that more true than when thinking about the topic of fear and failure.
Consider this: In a typical day, how many of the people you interact with mention their greatest fear or something they’re struggling with? I would guess the answer, at least for most of us, is “not many” or “none.”
Most of us try, to some extent, to present a brave face to the world. When we pass somebody in the hall at work and they ask “how’s it going?” we usually respond “good, how about you?” If you strike up a conversation with somebody in the car pool or at a chance encounter at the mall, they’ll most often leave you with the impression that everything is rolling along pretty smoothly.
In fact, it requires pretty dire circumstances for most of us to admit to anybody that we are dealing with something bad or that we are fearful about the future.
We take the same approach on social media, posting the best picture of our wife and kids when really we just had a big blowup and slept on the couch last night. Or we put filter after filter on the picture of the salad we ate this afternoon (the first salad in months…) so we look like health nuts or foodies.
This, often times, leads us to conclude, during our times of anxiety and difficulty, that we must be weird, messed up, or otherwise unusual. After all, everybody else is doing well— they told you so! But the fact is that many— if not most— of the people around you are keeping their own problems, fears, and anxieties hidden below the surface, which allows us to inaccurately assume that we are the only ones experiencing conflict or adversity.
Does that seem odd to you?
It’s so easy for us to assume everyone else has their life together, but when we think of our own situations, we see them in the form of worst-case scenarios.
I have two pieces of good news for you:
- You are not the only one who slept on the couch last night! And I can guarantee your college roommate’s life isn’t as perfect as the Instagram-filtered version.
- Whatever is going on in your life, you can choose, right now, to focus on God. You can remember that your help comes from God, not from you. And God is bigger than any fear you are facing right now, no matter what it is.