I heard of a guy who couldn't speak English. He was terrified of trying because he did not want to fail. So he found an English teacher and asked him to teach him how to order a meal in a restaurant in perfect English. The teacher taught him how to say four words: hamburger, french fries, Coke.
Every day after that, the man went to order his hamburger, french fries and Coke. Soon he grew tired of eating the same things every day. So he asked the English teacher to teach him how to order something else to eat. The teacher taught him to say eggs, toast and juice.
So the man went happily to the restaurant to order eggs, toast and juice. But when the waiter asked, "How do you want your eggs?" the guy stared back blankly. Then the waiter asked, "What kind of toast do you want? And would you like orange juice or apple juice?" The guy stared helplessly at the waiter for a moment and then said, "Hamburger, french fries, Coke."
A lot of people live a "hamburger, french fries, Coke" life because they are not willing to do something imperfectly or try to do something new. They will not face off with their fears and risk failure. Their answer to risk-taking is to play it safe. But you cannot please God by playing it safe, and you cannot succeed in life without taking risks.
When you are so afraid of failure that you don't try, you cannot please God. I would rather try to do something for God and fail than not try to do anything. That leads to barrenness and futility of your purpose in life.
There was a tourist driving through beautiful farmland when he saw an old farmer sitting in a rocking chair on his porch. The tourist stopped to chat with him. As he approached, he saw the man's scraggly beard and noted that he was chewing on a piece of straw. Behind the old farmhouse was 75 acres of barren land.
The tourist asked the farmer, "Is that your land?"
"Yep," he replied.
"Well, what are you going to do with it? Are you thinking of growing cotton?"
"Nope, I'm afraid the boll weevils will get it."
"What about corn?"
"No. Locusts will eat the corn," the farmer responded, still chewing on the straw.
"Well, is there anything else you can do with the land? What about raising cattle?"
"I am afraid the price of beef might go down."
"So, what are you going to do with your 75 acres of prime farmland?"
"Nothing. I am going to play it safe and do nothing."
Have you ever felt that way? Just wanting to play it safe and do nothing? A lot of people do that with their life potential. If you choose just to play it safe in life, your potential for success becomes a barren wasteland. If fear rules your life, you will not dare to step out in life to fulfill your destiny in God. But the Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (see Heb. 11:6). It is better to risk failure to do what God wants you to do than to do nothing.
We have all experienced fear that makes us want to draw back and play it safe. But people who overcome that fear are those who will make it in life. You have to decide to declare your goals for life in the face of fear.
When God has asked me to do something that seems impossible for me, I have to preach three things to myself. I encourage you to make these declarations over your situation. They have become my fear fighters.
1. Jesus is with me and has all power—in His hands.
2. God is at the bottom—no matter how low it gets—God is there.
3. God has given to everyone a measure of faith—I have faith for this.
It is not God's will for your life to be ruled by fear—of any kind. The key to living by faith in a world driven by fear is to submit your life to the lordship of Christ. As you take this first step to living a life free from fear, you will discover that many of your worst fears have actually been "much ado about nothing." You will learn to live in the wonderful shelter of safety that God provides for you.
Adapted from Fear Fighters by Jentezen Franklin, copyright
2009, published by Charisma House. This book helps you identify and defeat the
very source of the fear in your life by showing you God's arsenal of
divine weapons—His fear fighters. You will learn to use these weapons in every
area of your life including faith, finances, health and relationships. To order a copy click here.