Where has the time gone? It’s been over 3 months since I’ve written and part of that was life getting busy and part of it was because I started feeling like what I had to write about didn’t seem relevant or very important in the whole scheme of things. What can one voice do in this unbelievable vast ocean of words, words and more words?
But I am a writer and therefore, most of the time (and sometimes, unfortunately) I’m a deep thinker. This usually means that I find deeper meanings and spiritual significance in everything around me. I like to be inspired by life and then write about it. Lately, I felt like the things that were inspiring me and the things I wanted to write about wouldn’t matter much to anyone else. Then I read this quote today and it struck a chord.
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” –Steve Jobs
I am definitely not suggesting I am a genius. And I have never thought of myself as a world changer. However, I do see things differently. I have felt crazy. I have been a misfit. In high school I wasn’t “accepted” in any of the “cliques.” I just didn’t fit in…anywhere. I never figured out why. I was friendly but I wanted more than the superficial friendships I was witnessing. It didn’t appeal to me. I tried to be real and genuine and I wanted that in return from my friends. I have always felt like an outsider and for years, I thought it was a negative thing but the past several months, I have felt like God is showing me that this difference in me is exactly how he needs me, so that I can do what I was made to do. I was trying to change myself for so long that I didn’t see that He created me this way for a reason.
A few years ago, I started experiencing terrifying panic attacks. I was unable to drive because they were happening so frequently. For months, I could hardly leave my home. My doctor finally put me on a medication that was supposed to help but she wasn’t familiar with the drug and put me on three times as much as a human being was supposed to have. (Thankfully, another doctor caught the mistake later and I eventually got off of it.) But I was on it for quite a while and one of the side effects was foggy thinking. But when you are on 600 mg a day, it was more like I was a walking zombie. It was crazy. It wasn’t just forgetting the milk at the store, I felt like the butt of every dumb blond joke! I would be in mid-sentence and not be able to think of the words I needed to complete the sentence. I would watch a movie and two days later have no recollection of it. I missed appointments and the list goes on. I mean, it can’t get much worse. But my doctor insisted that if I continued taking it, the side effects would go away. Stupid, I know but I guess at the time I was just more terrified of the horrible panic attacks, so I was hoping for the best.
It was during this time that I had the most embarrassing moment of my life. It started out as a fun weekend evening: concert with my best girl friends and coffee afterwards. I soon found out that one of my friends and her husband were hosting the guy who played the concert. He was staying with them while he was in town. She invited me and our other girl friend afterwards to hang out with all of them. This guy was an awesome singer/songwriter and I knew that he was friends with a lot of the recording artists that I really admired and respected so I was really excited at the chance to pick his brain and get to know him.
During the course of the evening of great conversation and cheesecake, this man found out that I was a singer/songwriter. I knew what was coming and I was already cringing inside. He handed me his beautiful Taylor guitar and asked me if I would play and sing one of my own songs. The minute my hands touched the guitar, I knew I wouldn’t be able to sing anything. My hands feebly made some chords but the words didn’t come. My mind was a desert wasteland. It was like I could feel the heaviness of the medication fogging over the words that I had always known by heart. And I tried. Oh, did I try to cut through the fog but it was impossible. This guy and everyone else in the room was staring at me. All eyes were glued on the wide-eyed mute girl who claimed she could sing and play guitar. I was useless. The moment passed and I just wish he could have known the reason behind my failure but I knew it would have sounded like a lame excuse. I knew I probably wouldn’t get a do-over anytime soon. I was humiliated, embarrassed and I desperately wanted to crawl under a rock and never come out.
I know it may sound funny but I have relived that depressing moment in my head a billion times. It wasn’t until the last few weeks that I started thinking about why that moment has haunted me so much. Here was someone who had amazing talent. He had connections. He had CD’s and was friends with tons of really cool musicians and singer/songwriters so I cared about what he thought of me. I cared a lot. I guess, when I look back I wanted to be accepted by him, by the “group” he represented. I wanted to be told that I was talented, that I had a gift…that I wasn’t crazy to keep doing what I was doing. Instead, I felt more judged and more of a misfit that I had in my entire life. He didn’t say a word to make me feel that way, it’s just how I felt. Satan was using that circumstance in my life to pour lies into my head about my self-worth and to drain my confidence in my gifts.
Since that time, at the urging of my husband and after running out of my excuses, I auditioned for the worship team at my church. I had been hesitant because the music was always so good, I just didn’t think they needed me – what could I add? I doubted my abilities, after all it had been many years since I had led praise and worship or even sang at all. But I am so thankful I did. For the past two years, I have been singing and helping lead worship regularly for hundreds and some weekends, thousands of people on any given weekend. It took some breaking in and some minor flubs but at last, I feel at home on stage again…and it’s not to “perform.” Our team is not about that at all – it’s not about us. We are there to be used by God in whatever way He sees fit. I connect with God through music, I always have and I love helping others to do the same. It is an amazing feeling to let God use you in that way.
Recently, one of the music leaders told me about a class he was forming where he was going to help equip a few people to lead while playing guitar and he wanted me to be a part of it. Immediately, my mind flew to my most embarrassing moment. I shuddered. I am NOT going to repeat that disaster. Of course, I had long been off of the “stupid pills” but I still doubted myself – especially when it included my guitar playing. That one moment had carved a way of thinking into my brain that I was not good enough to do this thing my heart had so desired for most of my life. But I knew I was supposed to do it. I just showed up and it was so awesome to see God take over. Most of the class wasn’t even about playing guitar more skillfully, it was mainly about having more confidence. I was told things that no one had ever told me before and it lifted a very dark veil off of my heart. I was told that I could do this. I was told that I had the passion, I had the talent – I just needed to believe it, stop fearing failure and find my worth in who I am in Christ – not what anyone else thought of me. I saw myself more the way God must see me and it changed me.
Leading worship, singing and writing music is so much of who I am – it is who I am created to be! I WAS MADE TO DO THIS. I had never really thought of my gifts in that same light before. If I don’t use my gifts to His glory I am missing out on His best for me. I will still make mistakes, I will get the lyrics wrong – often I’m sure, and I will always be learning but I can lead with a confidence I didn’t have before just knowing that I am doing what He created me to do. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of me or even if they are misjudging me because I know that this is what I was made for and that is all that matters in the end. So be it if I’m a misfit. I’m fine with being a rebel. I’m ok with being an outsider to some in this world that probably think I’m a “religious fanatic” – I will continue to write about what inspires me, to use my words to build others up, to lift my hands in praise, sing with everything that I am and play my guitar with abandon and maybe others will see the Jesus in me and want to do the same. My hope is that my inward conversion will be apparent when I lead worship and maybe God just might be able to use me to be a world changer.
Not to be redundant but I will end this post with another Steve Jobs quote because he was brilliant and because I think these words are so incredibly powerful. Be a world changer!! What do you have to lose?
“Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”