This is round one of blogging in a coffee shop and I’ve never been happier.
There’s something about sunny days, never-before-worn sundresses, and laptops in Camino that just make you feel spectacularly creative.
My heart is super full from a weekend full of special events. One of my great friends got married and had the best dance party ever (nothing says great wedding like an amazing dance party).. and I had the privilege of playing music at a benefit concert with friends for friends.
In a weekend full of music I felt both high highs and low lows.
There are people I know that think I am great – before I even open my mouth to play, sing, whatever – I know that I will get a positive response from them. Coincidentally, I always play better in front of those people. As a matter of fact, sometimes my ability to create, worship, etc. is better in their presence than it is when I am by myself with no one to encourage or criticize.
// Isn’t honor a crazy thing? That we can call out the greatness we see in people and they can be 120 percent who they have believed themselves to be. We can honor one another, and in that environment, find that we are truer versions of ourselves than we’ve ever been.
There are other people that are much more gifted than me. I’m not fishing for compliments or playing the false humility card – they can play multiple instruments, play with anyone, and know theory like the back of their hand. I don’t. It’s not to say that I won’t ever be just as awesome, but right now, if I was asked to play with a big shot musician or transpose my song into Ab, I’d probably have some sort of mental breakdown.
Usually, when I’m around people that are better than me, I automatically assume that they can see right through me.
If my talent in front of people that love me were a thick, wool sweater that covered me, comforted me, and made me feel trendy, it would be immediately transformed into a wrinkled, paper thin shirt full of holes. Exposed, looked down on, unprepared and unimpressive.
I start performing that way, too – more mistakes, more apologies, and way more embarrassment.
What was once a fun, free, safe place to dwell turns into a pressure filled, anxious, ‘what-were-you-thinking-ever-assuming-you-belonged-here’ environment.
That’s not to say that really talented people are mean bullies who want you to feel bad about yourself – 9.75 times out of ten, the last thing any good-hearted, well meaning human being would want to do is make you feel stupid.
So let me set the stage for you..
It’s yesterday afternoon, and we arrive at the location where the benefit concert will be taking place. We’re opening the show, so no pressure to be epic. We walk into what I believe will be an empty stage to quickly sound check and run through the songs we had practiced.
What we -actually- walked into was a 10 person, ridiculously talented, ‘doing this thing a whole lot more and a whole lot longer than me’ band.
What was I thinking? Panicked and paralyzed, the last thing I wanted to do was play music. Things are so much safer on the sidelines.
With each song they practiced, things got a little worse internally. I was thankful for the sound level that prevented a lot of conversation, although my anxiety still managed to leak out a fair amount.
You know how things go in the movies? You freak out, think the world is over, and then miraculously, everything explodes with glory.
I’d had way too many freak outs before to know that unfortunately, thinking that the world is over is not a guarantee that glory bombs will explode.
So you tell yourself all of the spiritual things “I’m afraid because God has called me to do this. I’m actually created for this – I’m doing something the enemy is threatened by when I worship.”
Always true. Sometimes comforting.
But you know what happened this time? My wool sweater stayed on; stayed trendy, stayed thick.
I didn’t feel myself shrivel up and shut down. These musicians were great, but I was too. And above greatness, my worship was acceptable.
(Here is where I’d like to state that the 10 person band was so kind and welcoming. That always helps.. Also, I had great friends who were consistently encouraging all day long. There’s strength in numbers and in encouragement; no one is super human.)
I’m convinced that the times we feel like the best versions of ourselves are the times that we see who we really are. It’s human nature to assume that the insecure, full of anxiety, miserably failing person is who we normally are, and that the confident, happy times are just coincidence (or something that we’re growing into and will eventually, hopefully, some day be). I’d like to argue the opposite – that we’re already every bit the person that we wish that we were. That in those moments when we feel secure, confident, and free to create, our eyes are opened to what everyone else can already see.