Tag Archives: Struggle

I’m busy….

There have been a lot of things going on in my life recently that have really made me stop and evaluate my life. Questions like, What am I doing? Why am I doing it? What really motivates me to do what I do? How do I balance work and calling? I ask myself many times, “How far am I willing to go if I am called out my comfort zone and into something that others might deem crazy?”

   For the longest time, I have been super busy at work and not just work, but church too, as well as this artist expression I call music. Truth be told, I have enjoyed telling people how busy I am. But as I really sit back and think about busyness, what does that actually mean, and what does it communicate to people in my life? There is a difference between being busy and being productive. What is my real motivation in telling people how busy I am?
    Maybe the answer is that I make a habit out of being busy and telling the world how busy I am so I can indulge in self-pity and show people how important I am.
  Wow! That last sentence sounds horrible and reeks of arrogance. ….. But it is a part of me that I cannot keep locked up. This is what I am wrestling with.
 My wife told me something the other day that really challenged and convicted me: “stop the glorification of busy”.
    “Wait, what?!” I said. Then it hit me…..
 How often do I say that I am so busy and it is really a cry for people to look at me and validate my own pride and accomplishments so that people think I am valuable?….
Hhhmmmmmmm…..
I think I need to stop complaining about being busy. It’s one thing to tell people that I am busy and need some help, but its another to say that I am busy in order to seek the validation of others.
   Of course, not all busyness is bad, but I wonder what is our motive to be busy and what is our motive to tell others.
I don’t have the answers to all of this, but I write of these things because I want to think through it, and I don’t want to go through life day after day blinded by what is really inside of me or around me.
   What are my motives behind what I do and say? Do I want to encourage and speak life into those around me, or do I want to validate my own selfish desires and feed my ego?
What do you think about this? I would love to hear your thoughts!!!
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Microphone syndrome

Microphone Syndrome

I had a gig this weekend for a benefit run for The Forgotten Foundation, which is a great group of people doing some really great things!
   A friend asked me to play some music for the event and I gladly accepted! I practiced my songs and threw in some hymns that would be familiar to many people, but I did not think about what I would say during the breaks between all these songs.
   I have this thing about me, if you put an instrument in my hand, I cannot stop playing it. But, if you put a microphone in front of me, I clam up and struggle to say anything.
    I wonder sometimes if other musicians have trouble with what to say, or how to preface a song before they sing it. With instrumental music, a song may have a particular meaning to me, but to someone else it may be quite a bit different. This makes it difficult to know what to share before I play it.
   I think that deep down, even though I want to share my music with people, I have a bit of stage fright. It’s not bad or wrong; it’s just something I have to work on. I have always really enjoyed smaller venues, because I like the intimacy of those types of shows, but being so close to a person who is right in front of you and is watching your hands move and your feet touch different pedals makes me focus too much on the perfection of what I am doing, that I ultimately mess up. It is something that I need to work on; I really enjoy playing, but the pressure that I put on myself is hard for me set aside sometimes.
   I really enjoy playing the guitar and writing music, but interacting with people live is one thing that I will have to work on in the coming days. My goal is to connect with people and make them feel like they are a part of the event. I don’t know if it will get easier, but I want to be better at it, and the only way I know how to do that, is to do it. So that means booking more gigs and trying things out as they happen to come.
 Have you struggled with this?  How have you overcome it, or worked through it? I would love to hear!

Mistakes

Mistakes….

So, I haven’t been around a long time, but I have played with some really amazing musicians and bands. Or at least I think they are. Song writers, to folk bands, and even gospel choirs. What we all have in common is our capacity to make mistakes.  No one is immune!
Let me start this off by painting a picture for you. I was leading worship at church a little over a year ago. It was just me and my guitar and a back-up vocalist. I started the worship service, thinking that it would be really cool to start the song out acapella and then come in strumming hard. Yeah, well, that didn’t go so well, I started the song in the wrong key and it got all messed up. We quickly got back on track, but I was less than thrilled to start the sercive out like that. Then halfway through the second song, I got a bit lost and started hitting the wrong chords all together. I got so lost that I had to stop the song all together. I spoke into the microphone, and laughing, said, “well, this is just a perfect reminder of how imperfect we are”. Oh, it was a mess! We just started the song over. But after that, I was completely loosened up and the rest of the service went pretty smoothly.
This might sound weird, but I think Mistakes are good! Im going to say that again,  MISTAKES ARE GOOD! Here’s why:
 I am not saying that we shouldn’t take the time required to prepare, rehearse, practice and polish our chops. But what I am saying is, don’t let a mistake stop you from doing what you enjoy and love to do. It’s easy to get really down on yourself and be tempted to quit altogether when you make a mistake, but that in itself would be a BIG mistake! Here’s what I mean:
  If mistakes don’t happen, then you can’t get better.  We learn from how we mess up.
Who reading this is perfect?………. Oh thats right, none of us are…
Here’s a challenge for us both:  What if, one person in the audience saw your performance, watched you mess up one song so bad that you had to stop and start it over again? What if they needed to see that to be reminded that we all mess up? What if one person is encouraged by that one indication of your humanity?
Again, I have to emphasize that we SHOULD practice, prepare, rehearse, etc. However, even when we practice till we are blue in the face, some days are really good and everything clicks, but some days are really brutal. In music, as in life, accept it, reflect on it, but then move on!
 I say this as much to myself as to you:  Mistakes are not defeats!
    They are fantastic tools to push you to better things.
I can say, that I have seen some pretty bad performances, and have listened to some really bad recordings and songs. But, I will say this, I respect the person who gets up after a defeat(mistake), collects his or her thoughts, rethinks his or her approach, spends some more time working things out and tries again.  It reveals character and perseverance.
Yes, our egos might be bruised after big mistakes, but we really need to learn to drop our pride and let people see our imperfect and real selves. In my experience, you can actually have a deeper connection with a musician (or vice versa, with a  fan) when your imperfection has not been covered up and hidden away.
I hope that this helps you, and maybe gets the creative juices flowing again.
As always, Thank you for taking the time to read this and be a part of this!
How have you used mistakes to help you or to grow your art in some way?  I would love to hear your stories!