As I listened to The Hobbit on CD today on my drive, I was struck by Tolkien's comments about Bilbo just before the hobbit sees Smaug for the first time.
"Wisps of vapour floated up and past him and he began to sweat. A sound, too, began to throb in his ears, a sort of bubbling like the noise of a large pot galloping on the fire, mixed with a rumble as of a gigantic tom-cat purring. This grew to the unmistakable gurgling noise of some vast animal snoring in its sleep down there in the red glow in front of him.
"It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterward were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait."
So often it is our own fear that is the greatest obstacle we face. Whatever the adventure that lies before us, whatever the risk we may take, the real battle is fought in the tunnel alone. We must first choose to step forward, before any tremendous adventure can come our way.