I’m Afraid to Stop Running

I recently launched my first Kickstarter. It’s geared toward funding the completion of my #RunningTo road trip and the book that will follow.

I’m currently 44% funded, and I’m so grateful. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still 56% more to go in just 16 days. Everyone who gives (and already has given) will get something out of it, including the new audiobook version of Struggle Central in early 2015.

I had a lot of fun recording it, and here’s a sneak preview if you’d like a listen:

I’d love it if you gave. Your gift, however sized, would bless my trip — bless me — so much. I need to raise 100% of my $2,500 goal, or I get 0% of it (reminder: nobody is charged anything until the close/success of my campaign).

I don’t necessarily doubt that 100% of the funds will be there come Christmas Day. I think they will be. I figure God has massively provided the financial and emotional support alike after six-plus months on the road. What’s to hinder Him amid these final legs of my journey?

But therein lies my biggest point of contention of late: this matter of stopping. This whole unnerving notion of #RunningTo becoming no more.

#RunningTo: Kentucky

After six months and 20,000 miles on the road, four particular places have emerged as potential landing zones post-road trip. Two of those cities were anticipated before my trip began, and the other two magically gripped me as the road led there.

By the end of this odyssey (I’m thinking February?), it’s possible I’ll have five or six legitimate options on the table. Five or six homey prospects, and I’m already dreading the process of picking one. Calling one “home” when such a label is loaded with gargantuan expectations.

I’m afraid to face that eventual decision. I’m afraid to end this road trip.

I’m afraid to stop running.

If there were more land connecting North America to Europe, I would feel further beckoned eastward. To continue running a few more weeks, a few more months, or perhaps a few more years.

People keep asking if I’m tired of such a long road trip, of sitting so repetitively behind a wheel, of watching yellow lines snake and wind and dash and turn solid again for hundreds and thousands of miles. I always tell them the same thing.

No. I feel like I’ve been on a perpetually drunken high with this eclectic life on the road: so many places and people alike blessing and inspiring me at every turn. By stopping my road trip, I’ll have to face the inevitable headache-laden hangover.

And so I dread the hangover of halting this trek.

I keep hoping in a future free of headaches. That I’ll reach a certain point in my journey and bask in the glowing confidence of where to stop and settle. That my future “decision” of a homeland won’t even be the complicating point of contention it is today.

I want to hope in that future. Some days, I do; many days, I do not.

It hurts to hope. It makes you grind your teeth and groan a bit as you put your eggs in a spiritual basket and roll the dice that this big bold God you serve will deliver.

I can’t help wondering what went through Moses’s mind as he called out to Pharaoh and set his staff to the Nile.

Will it really turn to blood?

Or what went through young David’s mind as he stripped the clunky armor King Saul had set upon him.

Will I really kill this giant Philistine without a single bruise to my flesh?

Or what went through the disciples’ minds as they walked three days in darkness without the One they’d grown convinced would be the Messiah.

Did we just devote three years of our lives to the greatest con artist the world has ever seen?

What happened to their hope? Did their heroic actions ever precede a deep, disparaging wonder over what they were doing with their lives?

Did their hope ever dissolve? Did they ever almost give up?

It was easy to be #RunningTo the Grand Canyon in June. Still effortless as I explored Vancouver in July. Still ever-inspiring to follow the winding road to Denver and the Dakotas and the Deep South in August, September, and October.

Somewhere in the last few weeks, however, I’ve encountered some reality checks. Some financial, many others emotional and spiritual — all these new challenges trying my resolve, testing my hope.

Do you still trust me? I hear the whisper. It grows louder.

Do you still hope in the wonders to come?

#RunningTo: Souris, MB

  • Kirin Pandit

    I resonate with so much of this. I’m scared to go back to the U.S. next week because I feel like I’ve been on such a high on life for these past 3 months, and I’m scared to go back to “reality.” I know how you feel and I can’t even imagine how stressful it must be with the finances. But your life has always been so fascinating and I know that no matter what you end up doing, your story will continue to grow and evolve. Even though you might be “settling,” it still will be an entirely new chapter full of so many new experiences and I’m so excited for that!

    • You’re always so upbeat and encouraging, Kirin. Thanks so much. I can’t entirely imagine what it must be like to come home from Spain (and all those other continents you’ve touched), though I can certainly relate on some level. You’re right: there’s always new chapters full of new stories on the horizon. For you and for me. I hope our stories intersect again soon! Enjoy your last days overseas!

  • naturgesetz

    I wonder if you’ve made settling somewhere a bigger deal than it is. I’m a world class stick-in-the-mud, living in the town where I was raised. But the place you choose doesn’t have to be your home for the rest of your life.

    On the other hand, being perpetually on the road seems difficult to carry off, so you probably would do well to call someplace home for a while.

  • MLYaksh

    Hope does hurt- but the day you decide it’s not worth it is the day that life loses meaning. As Christians, we hold onto the hope of our future, one with Christ in His kingdom.

    There will be doubts- but as Romans 5 says- hope in Christ does not disappoint. Praying always for you, man.