Fear is something that affects everyone. Some people laugh and brush it off, not realizing how deeply it affects them. Others are controlled by it, letting fear decide their course in life. No matter who you are, you’re afraid of something.

Recently I’ve been getting to the base of some of my actions and realized that there is fear deeply rooted in most of my actions (or lack of action). Fear of failing, letting people down and not meeting their expectations for me. Every choice I make, everything I do is carefully calculated so that I can’t fail. But as I was searching, I realized that there are only so many things a person can do without failing. And it doesn’t add up to very many. So all the times that I’ve been choosing “safe” activities, I’ve been missing out on something fun and adventurous. I’ve been missing out on chances to grow through failures.

An American writer, Elbert Hubbard, said, “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” This fear of failure, of messing up, severely affects your life and productivity. When I realized that I was afraid, I began to notice all the things I hadn’t done and all the opportunities I had missed because I was afraid. Even the career that I wanted, I was afraid to pursue because I didn’t know much about it. Unknown situations like that take all the control out of your hands and you don’t know if you will succeed or fail.

But the beauty in these situations is that God doesn’t want us to be afraid. In 2 Timothy 1:7 it says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” He knows that we will fail sometimes. He knows that we are human and that we aren’t perfect. But He doesn’t want us to live our lives in fear. He wants us to break out of our shells and do great things for Him, knowing that “we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.” It says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 and 10, “He said to me, ‘…my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ …Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities…: for when I am weak, then I am strong.” The times when we can’t handle everything and it seems we are going to fail, those are the times that we need God the most and He can show His strength in our situation. God’s strength can be shown when we realize that we can’t control everything and we need to rely on Someone who actually has everything under control.

This isn’t to say that we won’t ever fail. Yes, we will. But that’s because sometimes, failure can teach you more than succeeding ever could. Even if it’s just the lesson that we need to rely on God, failure is a powerful teacher. It shows us that we’re not in control. It gives us the freedom to realize that we are human and could never be perfect. It can help us strengthen relationships and learn more about ourselves.

Failure can be a good thing. It’s all in your attitude.

Someone once said, “Don’t let fears control your destiny.” Today I pray, for myself and all who need it, that we can let God take control. I pray that we can move out from under the thumb of fear and live life to our full potential. I pray that we will boldly live out God’s purpose for us while relying on His strength and wisdom to get us through. And I pray for the humility to recognize failure and to learn from it rather than let it beat me down.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13.

Author Kaitlyn Pauls is a student missionary in Thailand.