When I was in first grade there were these tests each student could take, designed to increase a desire to read and increase standardized reading levels. I don't know if you had them but they were called ARR tests. I don't remember what they stand for, but I remember that's what they were called because they have the same initials as my younger sister.
In the first grade I was terrified of taking these tests. Every week we'd have and hour where we'd go to the library/ computer lab and those who had finished a book could go to the computer lab and take a test over it (each book had about 10 questions) and in the classroom you'd get a star for passing the test.
That year, I'd spend that whole hour in the library mulling over which books to get and always picking different ones. And I would read the books, but I intentional avoided those ARR tests.
I was afraid. I was afraid of failure.
I don't know why, but I had convinced myself that I was incapable of passing those tests.
My teacher must have noticed, because she told my mother, and on the last week of school, that last hour in the library, my mother came to class and she sat with me. She asked me if I wanted to take a test on one of the books I'd read. I told her no and she asked why and I said I didn't want to.
Silly me, that reason didn't stick, and my mother encouraged me and took me over to a computer and we sat and we took the test together.
Surprisingly (surprisingly to me), I got all ten out of ten. And I was proud of myself, my mother smiling and encouraging and telling me how smart I was.
It funny, how even today I let failure keep me from even trying. The fear, the fear that I will try and find myself lacking and incapable of accomplishing, it gets in the way.
I still try, I can't remember anything recently that I haven't tried because I was afraid of failing, but there are thing in my future, things I feel called to do and want to do, that I am afraid of.
My life has big things waiting for me. So many roads to travel, so many experiences to have...
And I wont let fear keep me from them.