God spoke Nashville into my heart in October of 2007. I moved there, alone with no friends or family, in August of 2008.
And it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
But Nashville saved me.
Often people say, “Why do you think God moved you to Nashville?” and I still am not sure of the fullness of that purpose. I mean, I don’t have a list that is complete. I wasn’t unhappy in my hometown; in fact, it’s great. My parents are awesome. My best friends are awesome. My job, my house, my church, all of it- totally worth sticking around for.
I think God offered me a new city because I was a wimp and because I had forgotten my first love. It was the only way God could save me from myself.
Nashville saved me from a life without courage. Many of my friends and family can live in Marietta and step into courageous situations, but I didn’t and probably wouldn’t have. I merely went wherever I could to be comfortable. And for me, that wasn’t a life that honored God to the fullest.
Nashville saved me from a life where I love those around me more than I love God. I often used to make choices more dependent on my people than on my Father, and that won’t cut it. But moving to a city where Jesus was my only friend fixed that pretty quick. And gratefully, more friends came along, but that was only after I really learned, in the trenches per say, that Jesus is the only one that will be with me always.
Nashville saved me from a life of seeking comfort. I am less comfortable, but more confident, in Nashville. Because I am so sure that God moved me there, I can be confident. But comfortable? Not always.
Nashville saved me from a life of NO. For the first few months, I made myself say YES anytime someone asked me to hang out or go somewhere or do something. I had no friends, so anytime someone wanted to hang out, SO. DID. I. I said YES to jobs and friends and opportunities, each time depositing courage into my heart tank.
When God asked me to move to Nashville, I felt like He said, “Give Me your world.” And to some extent He did. But the reality is, God said, “Give Me a chance. And I’ll give you the world.”
And He has. Nashville is the sweetest gift that I have ever received. The people in my Nashville life are amazing and each friend is a gift.
My writing career has blossomed thanks to Nashville.
And God literally has given me the world- since moving to Nashville, I’ve gotten to say YES to New York, LA, Greensboro, Chicago, Seattle, Prague, Edinburgh, Dallas, London, Charlotte… and the list goes on. Would those opportunities have come along anyways? Maybe. But would I have said YES? Maybe not.
It hasn’t always been easy; it still isn’t. I still miss my hometown life and hometown people a lot (and often). But I know the One who has called me is faithful. And looking back on the last six years, I can see how my life has morphed into a better story because He gave me the courage I needed at every turn.
My life is WAY bigger than I ever dreamed. And I am the braver for it.
And I pray that God uses this big life, as unworthy and flawed as I am, to inspire others to say YES to courage.
In what areas do you feel God calling you to be courageous?