Fear.

I’m a victim to fear.

I’m paralyzed by it. I’m miserable at overcoming it. I’m a pro level, status 5000 at running from it. 

I’m afraid of failure. I’m afraid of loneliness. I’m afraid of crippling debt. 

So I choose to run. I run to things that distract me from these fears. Maybe it’s a new guitar. Or a different girl. Or a different place to live. Anyone or anything to keep me from having to deal with it. Anything to keep me from looking it square in the face, calling it what it is, punching it’s guts out, and moving forward. 

 

For the past several months, I’ve been making plans to move. I’m gonna move somewhere, anywhere that’s not Nashville. I’m going to go where no one knows who I am, what I’ve been through, or what I’ve done. I’m going to hide in plain sight. But here’s the thing…I haven’t been able to find a place to go. I haven’t been able to land a destination. Couldn’t pick a spot.

Some of this hesitation stemmed from a lack of funding. Some of the places I’d like to live aren’t affordable to me in my current financial state. 

Some of the hesitation from a lack of desire to be somewhere I didn’t see myself for the long term. I didn’t want to pick a spot if I thought I might pick another in a year or less.

Some of the hesitation came from not having a cute girl to chase in that place. (Although, I’m sure it wouldn’t take me but 12 seconds to figure that part out.)

Regardless of the hesitation, I succeeded in finding an excuse every time. Every. Time.

 

Then, I went to church on Sunday. And I can hear some of you grumble from where I’m sitting in my living room. But track with me. I grew up in the Church. Sometimes it was a mandatory family event. Sometimes it was voluntary because “she might be there” and “might say hello to me.” Either way, I grew up with some faith background that still has some level of influence on my life. 

However, I will freely say this; I don’t always agree with everything that is stated from a stage, by the people with the loudest voices. But I have found a faith community in Nashville that I resonate with and enjoy being around when my schedule allows.

All this to say, during the service on Sunday, the teacher suggested this large room, full of a few hundred people, collectively try to sit in solitude and listen. Because *news flash,* when you listen, you might hear something. 

Prior to her “ready, set, go!” this teacher suggested that during this 2-minute exercise, we try to hear a single word from the Lord. So, in my skeptic state, I was convinced this wasn’t going to work for me, but I’ll go ahead and give it the ol’ college try anyhow.

I was quiet for 2 minutes. During those 2 minutes I told myself to shut up, a lot. I tried to remove the distraction of the attractive young lady, 3 rows ahead, who had made eye contact with me 30 minutes prior. Easier said than done! And…I ‘tried’ to listen. 

Listening is really hard. Solitude seems impossible. And with seconds to spare I ‘heard’ something. I heard a single word. It wasn’t loud. It wasn’t said with my internal head voice, but someone else’s. And before I lose you because you think I'm a lunatic, this is the single, soft-spoken, imperatively-voiced word I heard…

STAY

4 letters. 1 syllable. A mountain’s worth of weight for me in my current state. 

Stay is not something I do. I GO. I move a round. I run.

If I stay here, I might have to have some awkward conversations. I might have to mend some broken relationships. I might have to rebuild bridges I’ve willingly and thoughtlessly burned. I might have to try. I'm without a doubt, going to have to stare fear in the face. 

Staying is not going to be easy. Going would be WAY easier. 

But here’s the thing. I like the easy road. We like the easy road. Society wants us to take the easy road. 

Do less hard things for maybe just a little less reward.

Don’t try for the top. Just fly under the radar. 

Don’t give it everything you have. Just enough to get by.

Well folks. I’m stubborn. I have a dream that I moved specifically to Nashville, TN to pursue. So that’s what I’m determined to finish. 

The thing about dreams though, is they continue to evolve. They mold and morph into totally different creatures as you chase them. My dream continues to evolve. It gets bigger and broader all the time. It’s moving parts keep multiplying. And I love it. And I hate it. And sometimes it scares me.

But for now, I’m going to stay. Rather than running from fear, I’m going to run right at it, run through it, and bring my dream with me.

Because Noah Gundersen or Jimmy Eat World or Colony House or 1,000 other favorite bands of mine are probably going to need an opening band someday, and I don’t want to not be around and miss out on those opportunites.