The Fear of Failure

faith-family-food…a place for daily devotionals, recipes, and Bible journaling

Welcome  How many of you have let the fear of failure impact your decisions?  Has the fear of failure ever held you back from being your best self?  Do you begin to anticipate all the things that could go wrong before you even begin a new project?  Do you hold back in your faith and service for fear you are doing it wrong?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone!  I’ve been there, and so has most anyone that will answer honestly.  We live in a world that celebrates and rewards success, yet points out mistakes and brings them to the public light, eagerly watching the resulting fallout.  Don’t believe me?  Then you don’t spend much time on social, or other, media forums.  With everyone in our society waiting to pounce on the next big fiasco of someone’s mistake, it’s no wonder some of us our shrinking back to avoid the spotlight on our potential failures.

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Food For Thought  I started writing a book at the beginning of 2018.  I’m only about a quarter of the way through, and that’s being optimistic that what I have so far is even any good.  I want to make this writing thing happen, but have struggled on a lot of days to even pull up the document.  So what’s holding me back?  I fear failure…plain and simple!

In the past I’ve tried to run away or hide from failures because I hate feeling embarrassed or “stupid.”  I like to look, feel, and appear as if I know what I’m doing, like I’ve got everything under control.  And these feelings have held me back from being my best self, and not just from my own personal success.  Being afraid to step out in faith has held me back in my servanthood and sharing my faith with others.

On the upside, though, I have learned to pray about my failures, asking God to show me the lessons I can learn from the mistakes…a purpose in the pain.  This approach has helped me deal with my perfectionism, anxiety, and depression, as well.  Even the most embarrassing and heartbreaking mistakes I’ve walked through have held valuable spiritual lessons and positive outcomes on the other side.  If I had not let God walk me through these failures, I might not even be here today.  Even right now, as I feel the tug of criticisms in my gut, God has listened to my prayers and sent me a couple of reassuring messages I needed to hear in this moment.

It’s hard when we make mistakes, especially when we’re trying so hard to do it all right.  But none of us are perfect.  We’re all going to make mistakes, whether we like it or not.  But we have the opportunity to truly learn and grow from the experience, or we can allow the fear of those failures to keep us from walking the best faith walk of our life.  I don’t want to let those fears to hold me back from my God-calling!

I’m going to get that book written.  I’m going to do my best to get it published.  I’m going to try my hardest to use it to reach, inspire, and encourage others.  And when I face a failure along the way, I’ll look for the lesson, make some adjustments, and get right back on track.  What goals are you going to accomplish, when you push away that fear of failure?

Today’s Scripture  Mistakes can very humbling.  Sometimes the lesson in the failure is humility.  I have experienced this myself, and while uncomfortable, it is still necessary so that I can live my best spiritual life.  I must trust God, and the words of this verse, knowing He will lift me back up in the right time.

Today’s Recipe  I used to let my fear of failure hold me back from serving others with my cooking and recipes.  I was afraid that if people didn’t like what I fixed, I would be ridiculed or insulted in some way.  While I remain just a humble home cook and baker, I now realize that I can be of service by preparing meals or contributing to food activities when others may not be so comfortable.  My service may include being part of a meal train for a church member recovering from surgery, delivering holiday pies to shut-ins, or even helping out at my daughter’s school with Food Experiences day.  These are all activities that have recently been on my agenda or will be in the upcoming weeks, plus others.  Today I want to share the recipe I made for my daughter’s Cultures and Languages class at school this week.

First of all, let me just say that I was just as blessed through this experience as anyone I helped.  Those sixth graders really knew how to fill my bucket!  But it was service, too.  I prepared a dish that no one else felt comfortable preparing (or for whatever other reasons) and I assisted the teacher with preparation and serving the students.  She was so thankful, as no other parents were able to assist during my daughter’s session.  And finally, my daughter absolutely beamed when she saw me in the room, and even more so when she heard her peers bragging on the food that had been her contribution.  With my one skillet of Paella, I touched multiple souls this week.  And that’s a success, no matter how you look at it.

Here is my Simple Paella Skillet, loved by my family, as well as a room full of middle school students!  This quantity allowed for a sampling for about 30 or so students, but would make 8-10 main dish servings.

Simple Paella Skillet
Chicken, chorizo, and plenty of spices make this classic Spanish rice dish a crowd favorite!


Simple Paella Skillet 

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 lb Spanish chorizo (I used pork chorizo)
  • 1 TBS smoky Spanish paprika (I buy my spices from Penzey’s Spice Company)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (I used jarred garlic for this dish)
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 16-oz pkg Vigo Saffron Yellow Rice Mix (available with other rice products or with ethnic foods in the supermarket)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 TBS fresh parsley, chopped


Cut the chicken in bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl.  Add the paprika, garlic, pepper, and salt and toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

When ready to prepare the paella, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a LARGE skillet over medium heat. (Note: I do not have an actual paella pan, which is a thing.  I find my large electric skillet works well to prepare this dish, especially when I need to transport it and serve in another location.)  Add chicken to hot oil and cook, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes all together.  Add the chorizo to the pan and break apart with a wooden spoon.  The chorizo will basically melt into the chicken, releasing all of the fragrant spices across both meats.  When meats are thoroughly browned, remove to a separate bowl.

Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to skillet and add onions and peppers, cooking until beginning to soften.  Add rice mix to skillet and stir to brown slightly in the oil.  Don’t forget to loosen all the flavorful bits from the bottom of the skillet to help flavor the rest of the dish.  When rice just begins to become fragrant, add the chicken broth to the skillet, cover with lid and reduce to simmer.  Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

When rice is tender and most liquid is absorbed, stir in cooked meats, tomatoes and two tablespoons of parley.  Garnish with remaining parsley before serving.