James is ready. He’s been ready. I, on the other hand, am so not ready. Potty training has been on our parenting radar for months now, but we keep putting it off for various reasons, some more legitimate than others.
For awhile, I thought my reluctance stemmed from the hassle of it all. The mess. The time. The energy. In reality, I don’t really mind the idea of him running around nudie for large portions of the day – that’s not much less clothing than he prefers to be in these days anyways. I don’t mind adding to his sugar intake for every successful toilet venture. I don’t even mind being sequestered in my kitchen for days on end.
The real reason I don’t want to potty train my two-year-old came to me while I was elbow deep in dish water. I am scared that I will fail. What if I try to potty train James and, after a week, I’m left with a house full of poo piles and a kid who’s still in diapers? So, I have yet to try.
Pushing suds around plates and silverware, I began thinking of all the things I don’t do because I’m afraid I’ll fail. I don’t attempt new hobbies, like dancing, because I might not be good at it (or I might not be good at first or I might look like a goof trying). I don’t pursue new friendships because I might not be someone they like. I don’t always write because I might have completely lost my ability to string words together.
As a fairly self-aware perfectionist, none of this is mind-blowing news. It may take a while for me to recognize fear as the source of my reluctance, but it’s not a surprise when I finally make the connection.
What I hadn’t processed previous to that evening, standing in front of my sink with my white rubber gloves on, was how fear of failure effects my faith. Contrary to what my subconscious tells me, my relationship with God does not come out unscathed by such a prevailing pattern in my life.
Sometimes I don’t pray because I’m afraid nothing will happen. Sometimes I don’t say anything because I’m afraid I won’t have the right words. Sometimes I don’t help because I’m afraid it won’t make a difference.
Examined out of the context of my fear, those statements show a selfish, skewed view of my Heavenly Father that I’m rather embarrassed to admit. I’m thankful that His grace covers my failings. I may still end up with poo piles, but God’s love is greater, stronger than my fears.