Don't Let the Fear of Failure Hold You Back
“God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7, NCV)
Just three months after Kay and I got married, I had a total physical and mental breakdown and ended up in the hospital. I was filled with the fear of failure, and I thought my life was over—though I was just 21 years old. The psychiatrist at the hospital told me that I needed to take some time off.
So we went to my parents’ home in northern California, where I continued to feel like a total failure. I thought I couldn’t handle anything. Everything made me upset and nervous.
Then one night I had a dream that—because of all the tension from my feelings of failure—felt evil. I woke up in a cold sweat. As I was lying there in bed, breathing fast, I heard the phone ring. My mom picked it up. The guy on the phone said, “Is this the house where Rick Warren is? Could I talk to him?”
When I picked up the phone, the man said, “Rick, you don't know me. We've never met. How I got this number doesn't really matter. But I live in San Diego, and God told me to call you and give you this verse: ‘God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control’ [2 Timothy 1:7 NCV]. And, Rick, you have a right in Jesus Christ to a sound mind.” And then he hung up.
You don't think God uses people like that? Well, he does. It could have been an angel, but it didn't have to be. Maybe God just said to a man: “Call that guy.” And, in obedience, he did.
I held on to that verse during that year of depression when I thought I was such a failure, even though my life had barely even started. But God wasn’t done with me, and he’s done many things in my life since then.
God is not done with you either. It doesn’t matter what you've been through. I'm sorry for all the pain you may have experienced, but you cannot let fear hold you back. Push yourself to trust God in everything you do. Then live in faith and love.
Talk It Over
What dream has God given you that you would pursue wholeheartedly if you knew you wouldn’t fail?
How does 2 Timothy 1:7 apply to your fear of failure in pursuit of your dream? How can you move forward in faith?
Are you allowing a past failure to hold you back from your purpose? Ask God to help you see that he still loves you and wants you to fulfill his purpose for you.
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This devotional © 2020 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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