Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why Am I A Musician?

Since I was young, I've wanted to be used by God in a mighty way, to have an impact on the world, and for the two to coincide. In my adolescence, I wasn't a very dynamic individual, and all I was good at was making social situations awkward and remembering the correct answers on tests for long enough before I forgot them. Then, piece-by-piece, I discovered that to some extent I was capable of doing all things musical. Perhaps it was at that point that I found my niche.

Only, there was (is) one small problem. It is very natural for me to use music as a means of expressing myself vulnerably. When I'm in front of people, I prefer to be perceived as strong, not weak like I am. I tell people about my love & passion for music and how for years it has taken up a sizeable chunk of my time, yet many of those people have never heard me sing, toot a horn, strum a guitar, pound on a piano, or burp my ABC's.

For years I have been hung up on this. Prior to my adolescence, I loved being in the spotlight. I would do anything in front of as many people as possible in order to win their attention, if not their love & affection. I've never quite figured out what had changed; all I've ever known is that something did change, and something inside of me caused it.

We were discussing missions at church a few days ago, and how it specifically pertains to one's individual personality and abilities. For many of us, our jobs would be our first guess as far as a platform for missions. As much as I love people, though, I am called to work as unto the Lord, and I work best with little social interaction. I am open to deep conversations with co-workers, however it often interferes with work duties when the opportunity comes up. The next place my mind went was music. How can I use music as a platform for everyday missions? And why aren't I doing that now?

And then it hit me like a bastard child on my doorstep.

I often associate being strong, competent, etc. with greatness, and I often make the mistake of associating greatness with being the best. Too often, I obsess over how people perceive me & my abilities compared to other's. I shy away from openness with my artistic abilities because I am not the best, and I know it. I perceive that others would spend their time comparing me to someone greater than immersing themselves in the moment. Chances are that you would disagree with that notion. Chances are that you're right to do so.

What is the point of greatness if it's not being used for the Kingdom? What does it say about me if I'm more concerned with making myself great than I am with making Him greater? With that being said, I am resolving to once again commit to writing more of my own music in order to meet my goal of recording an EP by the end of 2009 - and I expect to be held accountable to this. In addition, once I feel I've created enough decent music, I will search out opportunities to perform in front of people, many of whom will probably think I'm a terrible musician. Even now, I'm considering finding a street corner downtown in the near future and just playing music, whether it be my own, cover songs, or dare I say, praise & worship. I will leave my guitar case open and if money happens to find itself inside of there, I will use it to by a homeless and/or needy person a hot meal and dine with them. If that doesn't work out, I will put it toward my own debt, as I hear slavery to the lender makes Kingdom living difficult.

All that to say...I think I learned something new about myself recently. What have you been learning about yourself recently? Please comment below, as I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Happy 4th Thursday of November. Jesus is alive. As if that isn't enough, our overweight, greedy little bodies are blessed with far more than we deserve (death, that is).

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I currently find myself in a season of weight. No, I have not gained weight, though we can only hope that one day I will. I have a few different situations in my life that are less than favorable, but overall not too much to handle on their own. However, those who know me well enough know that the holidays for me are synonymous with some very negative emotions. Throw anything else into the mix, and you get the picture.

Recently my convictions are leading me to count my blessings and be thankful for even the basic necessities and conveniences I have (that half the world does not), versus giving into jealousy and covetry towards others who have the things I want deep down. Beyond that, the last couple days have been filled with good news:

1. At work, when we received the announcement that we were closing, we were told that by law we had to be given a 60-day notice - not so much for our termination date, but for when we would quit drawing a salary (severance, stay bonus, etc.) - and that the notice would begin with the sale closing. We have all been on the edge of our seat not knowing how much time we have left. However, it was clarified yesterday that our 60 days has not begun, and will not begin until we get an official written letter with a termination date. Ergo, I have a job for at least 2 more months...likely for longer, as we were told we'd probably not receive any notice until at least Janurary.

2. This means that my vacation benefits will still be in effect, and starting January 1 I get 17 paid days off for the year. When my job ends, I can only cash in up to 10 of those days, meaning I need to use some days...meaning, I will not need to cut my end-of-the-year vacation short (Nicholas).

3. Today I had an interview for a permanent position in one of our very small departments who will not be laid off at any point. It would be a lateral move, and the position would be almost identical to what I'm doing now (which isn't great, but certainly ok for the time being). Almost everyone in my department applied for the position, and I was encouraged to learn that I was 1 of 4 people chosen to be interviewed. I also scored 100% on the pre-employment test (the same test I took before I was hired here). The department manger recognized me from my Halloween costume and was glad that "someone with personality is interviewing for the position". It was a pretty formal interview, but it went very well (also an encouragement, as I suck at interviews). She was very friendly, easy-going, and had a sense of humor. Plus, I feel I was articulate in explaining my qualifications and philosophy in a work environment. I should know something by Thanksgiving.

All of this was work-related, but all of this is great news, considering CareerBuilder has virtually nothing to offer someone in my position. This world has little to offer, but thankfully this world is not my home.

Your turn to count your blessings - whether general or specific, I want to know what you're thankful for. What do you hope in?

Friday, November 7, 2008


I stumbled across a sentence in a book which, paraphrased, states "Only secure people can serve God." (Try and take a guess at which Rick Warren book that is.) He goes on to state that those who, for example, have serious pride issues or who seek approval & validation from others are showing signs of insecurity and therefore cannot serve as Jesus served.


We had a few minutes of good discussion on this recently in our small group. Here is what we (and myself) have concluded: as a blanket statement, that is not entirely true. It is evident in scripture that God does not limit His work to those who are most equipped & qualified; He often calls out those who are weak & unworthy of such a calling. However, to serve as Christ served in his time on Earth is to do so without approval, recognition, validation, or reward - often times with opposition or disapproval, that is, if someone even sees you. This can certainly be a problem for someone who lacks security in who they are (or for the Christian, in who God's Word says they are in Christ Jesus).

This can especially be a problem is you read too much into my last statement. There is no denying that we are a broken, fallen people, so of course there isn't a single one of us who doesn't have to battle insecurities in some way, shape, or form. Nevertheless, it is even more true today than yesterday that to follow Jesus we are to be radically different from the rest of the world - for example, what the liberal media has bombarded us with for the last 24 months, and what the majority of America voted for on Tuesday. We are to follow his example for the sake of emulating him, and ultimately (hopefully) offering others that saving relationship, and to do so without expectation of gain.

I'd like to hear others' thoughts on this subject. If someone put a gun to your head, would you say you are a secure or an insecure person as a whole? What insecurities do you most often experience and/or battle? To be a Christian (a true follower of Jesus), do you feel that requires total security, in who you are, or in Christ in you? If so, how well do you measure up? What agreements or disagreements do you have with anything I've written?

EDIT: It was pointed out that in the next to last paragraph there may have been a hint of a personal political statement. Since that was written 3 days ago, it's hard to pinpoint what my exact thought process was at the time. I feel my only intent was to use a current event as an example, which in this case it doesn't get much more current than the election. My comment was directed to us as a society, and how our me-first attitude (i.e. spending money we don't have for things we don't need) has influenced a majority of voters to swing left. Neverthless, it doesn't matter what I think or what I mean to say. My speech should not have a hint of bias, nor should it even suggest that religious & political views are always synonymous with each other. My blog is not intended to be a political platform, nor am I very politically-minded. So for that, I apologize. If my words are ever anything but God-honoring, please call me out, as I know most of you would ask the same of me.