Why Am I So Afraid of Success?

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Teresa Shields Parker

Many of us have a fear of success, which keeps us stuck. We are afraid of moving forward because we might succeed and then have to continue the hard work that we think success will take.

We are afraid of what success might do to us and how it will change us.

I have been coaching since 2014, and in that time, literally thousands have come through my coaching groups, courses and free programs. Many have lost weight and kept it off. Others, though, have left because they finally understood the level of commitment required to lose weight and keep it off.

Most of us want a quick fix. We don’t want to put in the time and effort it takes to change our ingrown habits. It’s true that any kind of success is going to take hard work to maintain. However, it will be made easier by surrendering completely to God. Still, we also make excuses for why we won’t surrender.

Control Issues

Many people have control issues. They don’t want to turn over the control of their food to God. They see it as the last thing they have control of. My kind of control gave me carte blanche to eat whatever I wanted. I was in control of pigging out.

In reality, it got to the place where I was not in control of food. The foods I loved were in control of me. Surrendering control of what I eat to God was the best thing I ever did.

When God called me to coach, He gifted me with the missing ingredient I didn’t even know I needed. He told me I needed compassion and patience and then gave them both to me.

Compassion and Patience

I knew I didn’t have the compassion and patience that God had. I admitted that to Him, and He said, “You have it now.” Why did He give it to me then? Because He knew I would need it for the next leg of my journey.

One of my favorite verses about the compassion of God is Isaiah 54:10 (NIV), which says, “’Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”

It was when God showed me 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 that I understood why I needed compassion: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Blessings and Problems

God gives us compassion so that we can pass it on to others. It’s one of my favorite things to do. One way I show compassion in my coaching group is by helping individuals through a process where we work with God to discover the core issues that are holding them back.

Those times are always highlights for me; however, my compassion also becomes a deep pain when people just don’t get it. God modeled His compassion to me by letting me continue doing what I wanted to do until I finally came to the end of my resources.

I realize I have to allow others to do that too. I can’t force anyone to do something they don’t want to do. If they don’t want to surrender to God, I can’t make them. I can only share with them the extreme difference that surrendering to God has made in my life. They have their excuses as to why they can’t surrender, and I just have to wait them out. That’s where patience comes in.


What is so great to me is when someone who has been in my coaching group for a long time finally gets over his or her fear of success and starts down the right path. I don’t know why it takes some longer than others, but I am so happy that God gave me the patience to wait, knowing that the breakthrough is just around the corner.

When I first started coaching, there was a woman in my group who was extremely overweight and said she wanted to break the control food had over her. However, she didn’t want to reveal anything about her problem. It was like she felt if she never reached for success, she could stay sad, lonely and depressed. Her issue was fear of success and fear of what change might do to her.

For her, getting free wasn’t an easy process, but it was oh so rewarding when she finally overcame her fear of success and started on her journey to transformation and change.

Freedom, success and transformation are what God wants for each of us. {eoa}

Teresa Shields Parker is the author of six books and two study guides, including her number one bestseller, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor. Her sixth book, Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholdsis live on Amazon. She blogs at teresashieldsparker.comShe is also a Christian weight loss coach (check out her coaching group at Overcomers Academy) and speaker. Don’t miss her podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, available on the Charisma Podcast Network. This article first appeared on teresashieldsparker.com. Check out Sweet Grace for Your Journey episode 141: “Fear of Success.”

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