Fearless / by Liz Brown

I started 2016 with one word: fearless.

In January I did many large grand scary things: traveling across the country alone, quitting my job, starting a new one. The two proceeding months have been full of forming routines out of the ripples from those tidal wave decisions.

My lease is up in July and I looked ahead to the next decision: moving—and to where? Nashville was in mind, but the opportunity fell through. LA was another idea, but I didn’t get the job. Colorado was an option, but it didn’t fit quite right. I frantically looked for places to go, opportunities to pursue, folks to stay with in those cities and places.

Then I realized yesterday: what I’m most afraid of is staying. I’m afraid of staying in a city without mountains or oceans or as many options. I’m scared I’m giving up adventure. I’m scared my story will be boring and my life will be haphazard and unimportant and forgotten. Perhaps that sounds harsh and melodramatic, but I’m just being honest.

I’m afraid I won’t visit all the countries I dream of. I’m afraid I’ll have gifts or passions or ideas that will go unpursued. I’m afraid I’ll settle for a less worthy life. Worthy of what? Remembrance? Being told? Being photographed? A good story? Since when is being remembered or extraordinary a criteria for a good story? I’m starting to ask myself harder questions. 

 I didn’t ask for fearlessness like this. I wanted large, epic bravery, full of new languages and foods and little sleep and sore feet and full suitcases. There’s nothing picturesque or sexy about staying. I didn’t ask for this: this slow quiet bravery of staying.

But we don’t get to choose how bravery finds us. Sometimes I desire qualities, but I don’t think of what is required to cultivate them. Bravery and fearlessness sound extraordinary, but the reality is to attain them you must strike head-on what you fear most. To some folks that may be a road trip or a small paycheck. Those barely intimidate me. Normalcy scares me. A stationary life scares me. I didn’t realize how much until I recognized that may be what is next for me.

But here is the question: what is more important—an adventure or my character? How often I longfor adventure and what perhaps I’m pursuing most is selfishness. Not that adventure is always selfish, but when I desire my own adventure rather than character or relationship, it can become so.

I don’t know for certain if I’ll stay, that I’ll stay. But I know for certain that I want to become faithful. I want to become fearless, regardless of where I am. I want to trust that what God has for me is good. I want to be so secure in his faithfulness, that he cultivates mine. I want to come out of this life better and braver. Grand or quiet, I want my life to be fearless.