Last November I had the immense privilege of attending a symposium of like-minded worship artisans from around the US, Australia and Canada with my friend Erin. It was such a joy for me to get to meet Dan Wilt face-to-face, my online instructor in these rich courses I've been moving through on worship theology and history and spiritual formation. If you've been reading my blog for long, you know how much they have impacted me and how highly I recommend them. You can't go wrong in signing up for these courses. Go to www.worshiptraining.com to find out more.
Anyway, so I got to meet Dan in person and a myriad of other amazingly beautiful and talented people. I came away with heart full and a slew of new forever-friends.
It was not without its challenges however.
Ever been in a room full of people who you feel are way better than you could ever hope to be?
That's a bit what it was like for me. I haven't said this out loud here before, but there were more than a few moments where I felt a tad intimidated.
I guess God prepared me for that moment by living with Lee, the most humble, talented person on the planet. That's what these folks are like: humble and talented.
It's the humble that kept me there, pressing in, instead of withdrawing into a cave of insecurity.
There was a moment when all of this amazing music was swirling around me by these amazing singer/songwriter/recording artists (among other things, but this was the talent that was surfacing in the moment), and I could feel myself sliding into a dark-ish place of discouragement and insignificance as I looked at the joy on their faces as they expressed their God-given artistic expression with abandon...wishing I could jump in and join with as much confidence and joy.
And I knew then, as I know now, that any offering I might choose to bring to the party would be welcomed and embraced. And I knew that all I had to do was stand up and offer something, but in that moment, I couldn't break through the overwhelming thought that my offering was too paltry to express in that moment. I just didn't feel talented enough or gifted enough.
But really, my heart didn't feel loved enough.
There, I said it.
Let me reiterate: it wasn't because the love wasn't in the room or hadn't been generously expressed.
It was because my fear and insecurities kept my heart small and unable to receive that love, acceptance, and encouragement that would have propelled me to open my heart and share.
In those moments of feeling small and insignificant and insecure, God and I often have a conversation that goes something like this:
Him: What's going on?
Me: Um, nothing.
Him: Why aren't you moving out in your giftings?
Me: They're so much better than I am.
Him: Didn't I tell you to be obedient with your stick figures?
Me: (Sigh) Yes. But it's so hard when there are all these masterpieces all around me.
As long as I can remember I've wanted to be an artist, both in the visual arts as well as the music arts. Several years ago, while reading Waking the Dead by John Eldridge, God opened my eyes to see that desire as being a desire He had placed in my heart. And He nudged me into the process whereby I began taking art lessons and accruing adequate art supplies and attending art conferences which has more recently broadened to include guitar lessons and worship/songwriting courses and going to this symposium.
He told me to hone my craft and then began to highlight which craft. He keeps telling me over and over and over what He's created me for. And with the telling and the re-telling, I get more freedom and more expression and more courage. It's a journey, a step-by-step process in which I hold onto His hand and He leads.
And last November, He landed me in a room of people so full of talent any concert venue would not have done justice to the hearts and lives lived out in integrity through their craft. And He wanted to see what I would do, how I would react or, rather, respond.
I didn't hide, so I guess I passed the "test." I didn't jump out there either, evidence that I need more healing in my heart so I can grown in confidence in being all that God has created me to be. I need Him to show me where this lie of insignificance and intimidation is rooted.
I want to be free to offer up my expression in whatever form it might take no matter what the talent-level in the room might be.
So thanks to my Wild Pear Creative buddies for being who God has created you to be and for allowing Him to use you to sharpen those around you. You inspire, challenge, and maybe intimidate me just a little bit ;-)
And here's a special treat so you can hear what I'm talking about...head over to noisetrade for a free download.
some links for you to peruse and perhaps you might find a new favorite artist...