Several years ago, I taught a class at work. At the end of each session, the participants completed a survey rating the relevance of the class material as well as my knowledge of the subject matter and overall speaking ability.

They could rate my class as great, good, or fair. Afterward, the surveys were shared with the vice president of our department and my manager, who then presented the results to me.

I’d taught the class many times and had received great and good ratings each time. Those reports made me feel confident about myself and my ability as a presenter.

But then it happened. I got a fair rating. A fair! It shook me to the core.

It didn’t matter that I had received hundreds of great and good ratings and only one fair out of about 900 participants. That single fair rating was all I could think about, and it taunted me day and night. Carla, you’re no good at public speaking. How could you even think you could speak to others? You’re stupid; no one wants to listen to you. You don’t know anything!

I continued to obsess over that one negative report, to the point that I completely lost confidence in myself. I became so paralyzed with fear about speaking in public again that I went to the vice president and tried to get out of teaching future classes. It did not work.

Recognizing the fear fueling my request, she refused to let me crawl under my desk. Instead, she encouraged me and pointed out the good in those surveys. And then she told me I’d be teaching that class again the next day.

I can’t say I was so happy then, but I’m grateful now. Because of her, I continued to teach the class to another 1,000 participants. And although I received more fair ratings, they no longer sent me into a tailspin. This was a great learning experience that helped me realize the power fear can have over us.

It took me decades to realize that fear is not of God. Second Timothy 1:7 says, “The Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (NIV).

The Bible teaches that fear is a spirit that comes against God’s children. Satan can take a single comment from a person, even something as meaningless as a fair rating, and make us feel like such failures that we’re afraid to try ever again.

He blows up situations that are nonissues, hoping we’ll be consumed by self-defeating thoughts. He wants us to forget how far we’ve come and how much we’ve accomplished and instead believe that we have nothing of value to say. Satan sends fear to paralyze and silence us.

But as God’s children, we don’t have to let him win. God wants to use us as His hands and feet on earth. How can we do that if we are hiding in fear?

Are you fighting fear right now? Search God’s Word and let His Spirit encourage you with the truth. God delights in every detail of your life, even the things that send you into a tailspin. Why? Because He uses them to draw you closer. Let His love and power help you overcome your fear today.

Psalm 37:23–24 states, “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand” (NIV).

See? God’s got you. Grab His hand. He’ll strengthen you and enable you to face whatever and whoever is before you. Even if you’ve stumbled, God is still there, ready to lead you. You only truly fail when you don’t try again.

The next time Satan attacks you with a spirit of fear, don’t take the bait. Don’t let it lead you into self-isolation or keep you from moving forward. Remember who you are in Christ and face that scary situation with Him.

With God, you can overcome any challenge (Philippians 4:13).


CARLA OWENS loves the Lord and seeks to know Him more intimately daily. She is Kristi Overton Johnson’s executive assistant and the administrative director of Victorious Living.