Yesterday we had a day off in Santa Cruz, and I took a short drive into the hills to a place known as the Mystery Spot. If you've ever spent any time in California, chances are you've seen a few yellow bumper stickers advertising this legendary hillside where up is down, down is sideways, and nothing is quite as it should be. Confused yet? Good, I think that's the point. The basic setup is this: a very slanted old shack balanced into the side of a very steep hill surrounded by hundreds of tall, slanted trees, with no view of the horizon, or anything else that could possibly inform you of what is truly horizontal. The effects are dizzying. Many people (including some of those with me) end up feeling nauseous. It feels like gravity has doubled in intensity and is trying pull you in weird directions. People appear to shrink or grow, water runs uphill, and your brain is doing backflips.
BECAUSE TOUR LIFE IS A LOT LIKE THE MYSTERY SPOT. BETWEEN THE STAGE, INTERVIEWS, AND SOCIAL MEDIA, IT'S EASY TO GET LOST AMIDST THE DISTORTION.
Well, that's a little like tour sometimes. A different city every day. Some things are the same, others completely different. Besides the humorous challenges of remembering what city you're in - "Where am I?!" - there's the more subtle disorientation that we all face everyday, only amplified: "Who am I?" Because tour life is a lot like the Mystery Spot. Between the stage, interviews, and social media, it's easy to get lost amidst the distortion. Even after nearly twenty years of touring, it still feels like fighting gravity. And many times I feels like gravity wins, and the water is no longer running downhill like I thought it should be.
Of course this feeling isn't unique to touring. Touring just has the ability to exaggerate this struggle for orientation that we all face every single day. The problem in all of these scenarios is that we need the horizon. Something outside of ourselves that can tell us, without question, which way is up and which way is down. Of course we need each other too. But without a horizon, even the guidance of other people can be dangerous. Like a sloping shack on a slanted hill, we are all bent, tilted, fighting the gravitational distortion that surrounds us. At the start of a new tour, and the beginning of a new year, I'm highly aware of my need for the horizon. Daily. I need constant course corrections or I'll find myself standing at an angle without even realizing it. I'm by no means an expert in this stuff, but I know that for me there are certain constants that point me towards the horizon: prayer, scripture, nature, caring for others, art that is beautiful and true, and the wisdom of others who have proven themselves as dependable guides. I'm also aware of the things that spin me around: the opinions of others, social media, fear, doubt, self-reliance, pride. The most noticeable difference to me between these two groups is this: the first group is all outward-focused, while the second group is focused entirely on myself. When I'm focused inwardly on myself, I ALWAYS lose the plot. People often ask us how they can pray for us. Well here's one: my prayer for this year is to spend more time staring at the true horizon Himself, and less time worrying about me. - Tim
PEOPLE OFTEN ASK US HOW THEY CAN PRAY FOR US. WELL HERE'S ONE: MY PRAYER FOR THIS YEAR IS TO SPEND MORE TIME STARING AT THE TRUE HORIZON HIMSELF, AND LESS TIME WORRYING ABOUT ME.