It is said that fear of failure is most people’s greatest fear, especially men, but I think it is really fear of shame. Asking God to deliver and protect from shame is a prayer that is prayed often by David in the Psalms. This very strong fear is what motivates us to play it safe in life, to stay in the rut we are in, and not to do anything that would make us look bad, weak, dumb, incompetent, or a failure. From my experience in trying to get people to set personal goals in order to grow, and having so many resist or quit, I have come to the conclusion that this fear is the main reason why. Once a goal is set, in our mind the potential for looking bad has increased. What is interesting is that it seems to be as much about what we think of ourselves as what others think of us. Self-worth is a very strong human value, even a real need. Instead of building our own sense of worth proactively we tend to do it by protecting ourselves from shame, and living a life of low risk.
A super important principle to know and live by is that our sense of self-worth is what the Bible calls glory. We were created with God’s glory, and then lost it when we sinned, and we all are desperately trying to get it back. The only source of glory that satisfies our hearts is God. We try to get it from other people, from ourselves, by winning, accomplishing, bragging, owning, and from physical appearance, but the sense of worth that comes from those things is short lasting and has deminishing return.
God gives glory to those who give glory to Him, those who honor Him, He honors. There are numerous ways to glorify God with our life, and a major way is stated in the Gospel of John 15:7, “by this is My Father glorify, that you bear much fruit”. Goal setting is a great tool to bear much fruit for God.