You and I are different. God created us uniquely. There isn’t another, single person just like us. Friends of mine reading this are probably saying, “Thank God there aren’t two of you!”

God created each of us with purpose, to do something in this world that He planned. That “something” isn’t just making money to take care of ourselves and to live comfortably. The challenge before us is to understand what it is God wants from us. We can’t discover His plans for us unless we get out into the world to see what gifts we have and what we do best. Yet, to do so, we need to be like little children.

As I watch my grandchildren grow, I’m reminded of how young children will try anything. They don’t fear failure. They are constantly experimenting. If they fail, they either try again or avoid it. A child learns to walk by attempting to walk, falling and getting back up over and over again, not by sitting still. Failure is simply a part of learning.

As we get older, we lose the desire to try new things for the fear of failure. Parents often contribute to this through their actions and reactions. Many are like snowplows, trying to push everything out of the way to make a smooth ride in their children’s lives. They forget that it is the failures in life that shape you and make you stronger. For example, a “C” grade in a class isn’t the end of the world. A child isn’t forever harmed by it. Likewise, not getting into that certain college doesn’t destroy a child’s life. We teach children to fear failure.

I am convinced that, for most of us, the fear of failure is stronger than our desire to discover new things, to test ourselves and succeed.

There is a quotation attributed to John A. Shedd, an author and professor, that speaks to this challenge. “A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for!” We like safety and comfort. Yet God didn’t build us to stay in a port where it’s safe. He wants us out in the world to do His work, to trust Him and to fulfill His purpose for us. To accomplish our purpose, He has equipped us with different and unique gifts. He has gifted us with whatever it is we need to accomplish His plan is for us. We lack nothing. One of my favorite scriptures from the end of the book of Hebrews reminds us of this.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21).

Get out of the port and sail into open waters. Discover your gifts and trust that God is with you every step of the way to accomplish His purpose for your life. Enjoy sailing. It’s much more of an adventure than sitting in a port.