Hi my name is McKenna Best and I love songs that sound like fall, the beach right before the sun sets, Mexican food, and big t-shirts. Oh and I’m terrified of failure. Wait, what?
Yeah, honey, welcome to my Ted Talk about how the fear of failure once dictated my life.
This fear dates back to the first grade; when all I really cared about was eating chicken nuggets in the cafeteria and watching Lizzie McGuire before bed. Life was good. Yeah! by Usher was playing on every radio station and Orlando Bloom was at the peak of his career. What could possibly go wrong? I’ll tell you what: first grade math. I know, I know. It sounds stupid, but let’s not discredit the difficulty of the multiplication times tables for 7-year-olds.
Every day after lunch, the class gathered around the whiteboard for a math lesson. At the end of the lesson, the teacher called on students to solve a problem on the board. Talk about a living nightmare. One day in particular, I got the special privilege of getting called on. Long story short: I solved the problem, it was nowhere close to the right answer, the class laughed, I cried on the inside, and I’ve been afraid of numbers ever since.
For years after that, I was afraid to even attempt understanding math because I assumed I wouldn’t be able to do it. It reflected in every report card. Just ask my parents. They were always thrilled to see that my grade in math was the same as the temperature on our thermostat. I passed by the skin of my teeth every year, but I had zero confidence and genuinely believed that my brain just wasn’t capable of comprehending Algebra.
There are so many other things I just avoided altogether growing up because I was scared of failing. I lived with the mentality that if there was a risk of failing, it just wasn’t worth trying. And to be honest, I still struggle with that mentality today. Unfortunately, the fear of failing academically is still alive and well (pray for my Media Law grade if you think about it) and I’m incredibly afraid of this blog flopping like a fish out of water. However, the Lord is teaching me to push past the fear of failure and do things that scare me because ultimately my validation is not found in what I do.
If you know me at all, you’re probably aware of my extreme Coke addiction (the soda, of course). Well, a little over a month ago, I made the heart wrenching decision to quit for a month. For all you people who only drink water, eat clean, and shop at Whole Foods, this probably sounds like a piece of fat-free cake to you. But to a girl who used to live for the burn of a carbonated beverage, this was going to be a challenge. And it was.
But I did it. My body didn’t spiral out of control when I didn’t give it a Coke with my Chick-fil-a lunch. Sure, there were some caffeine headaches, groggy afternoons, and moments where I came thiiiiiis close to giving it all up, but I did it. I did the thing I literally thought was close to impossible. You see, in my time of fear and trial, little did I know I was slowly being refined by the fire that came in the form of a coke bottle. The Lord used this silly, Coke-free month to remind me that as soon as I got over my fear of possibly giving into temptation, I was able to succeed way more than I ever thought. I say all of this to tell you that you can in fact do anything you put your mind to. If I can go a month without drinking soda, you can do anything, but the first step is getting past the fear of failure. If we let fear get in the way of our goals and dreams, we may never put into action what the Lord is calling us to.
McKenna Best is a Carolina girl currently residing in the bachelorette and hipster capital of the world. She believes in Jesus, dancing in the kitchen, and slow mornings. McKenna is an assistant youth director and spends her afternoons working with middle schoolers in West Nashville. In her free time, you can find her eating Chipotle, making an excessive amount of Spotify playlists, writing in a coffee shop, watching The Office, or spontaneously buying a plane ticket somewhere. She is passionate about equipping youth to unlock their potential and be all that God has called them to be, whether that be through teaching Bible lessons, or writing articles for a variety of online platforms