A Night of Hope and Healing: From the inside
There is no doubt that every artist in the arena felt called to be there. The list was amazing. Building429 was just one band in a HUGE lineup of artists who decided to go and do whatever we could to try to bring some light into extreme darkness. We were told when it was over that 75,000 people had watched the livestream along side the 10,000 people in the arena. The Lord’s will was done… that much was obvious as the night went on.
What wasn’t so obvious??? What were we supposed to say? What would be too much, and what would be too little? Backstage there was a sense of togetherness. We were all confident that God would show up, but no one knew exactly how. I remember when we found out that we were going to be the first band on. 10,000 people still mourning the loss of such precious lives only a month after the tragedy…. How would they respond? How should we approach it?
There were pretty much no sound checks at all that day. It was a line check… “can you hear the click track and a little bit of everything??? Good… moving on”. Michael got there just in time for us to play “We Won’t Be Shaken” our brand new song 1 time and then sound check was done. We literally rehearsed it in the dressing room the rest of the day preparing for the first time that we would share a song that we felt was meant for the night.
Numerous conversations throughout the day with our friends left us somewhat confident, but to be honest everyone was shaking in their boots (even the big, BIG dogs were obviously tense). We prayed a lot, asked for a lot of advice… and then there we were side stage watching Max Lucado and the Mayor of the City pray for the Lords will to be done. That was the longest prayer of my life… listening intently to the words of his prayer…. Lost in thought and in my own prayer that God would use me.
Were we nervous???? I admit it… I’m never nervous… but I was literally quoting the lines to “We Won’t Be Shaken” over and over again in my head until the second that we were announced. Which then posed another problem… what were the words to “Listen to the Sound”? That’s right after all these years… when we were about to play a song called “We won’t be shaken” we were all shaking to our core.
Funny the way that God works though. We think we have to have the answers…. But that’s where we mess up. It’s not about planning the perfect sermon it’s about getting out of the way and allowing Him to move. “Seek and you will find, Knock and the door will be opened” that was my biggest prayer for an area that is deeply non-religious. “Lord let them have open hearts…. Let them be willing to knock tonight”
I know it was no mistake that we were the first on…. It was God’s design for me to feel small and insignificant. It was God’s design for us to lead the charge…. He knew that our first show of 2013 needed to be about HIM…. And it was. Was it perfect… nope…. But it didn’t have to be.
Our 3 songs were literally a blur…. It was over as fast as it started. All I remember was that the first 2.5 minutes of “Listen to the Sound” were really intense and then we hit “Amazing Grace” and the room lifted… the lyrics started penetrating hearts and the whole room seemed to relax a little. Where I Belong was AMAZING and then came the song we’d never played in a concert or rehearsal hall together. Psalm 62:2 on our hearts, we just went for it. It felt huge, and when we walked off the stage we knew we had accomplished something…. we opened the gates and the spirit came walking through.
BTW, I’m told some of the artists didn’t sound that good online…. Give them all a break. All of us were just trying to keep it together out there… the emotions we all felt were unbelievably intense. I tend to tow the tough guy line…. But when we walked off the stage I was in tears…. And I know that everyone else fought that same knot in their throat all night.
That said… don’t ever doubt your ability to be a vessel that God uses even in the darkest moments of another persons life. Just remember that we are told to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto our own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your path straight” Proverbs 3:5-6.
Maybe you don’t understand, but you can trust. Maybe your afraid to sit and cry with the broken hearted, but you can submit to his will. It’s not about you….. your answers, or your thoughts…. His are so much higher than ours….. so TRUST HIM and be what He’s called you to be. His Hands and Feet.
We’ll never forget that night as long as we live… we hope and pray that the effects are lingering still. For those of you who joined us online, we honestly wish you could’ve been in the room. For Newtown, CT our prayers continue and though we still don’t have all the answers… we know the one who does. Stand firm in your faith…. Fight for what is right and true… Never lay down, never give up…. Our God will have the final victory. Our battle cry is this:
The Lord is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress and I will NEVER BE SHAKEN.
This world has nothing for me
This life is not my own
I know you go before me
And I am not alone
The mountain rises higher
The way seems so unclear
I know that you go with me
I will never fear
I will trust in you
Whatever will come our way
Through fire or pouring rain
We wont be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we’ll rise and sing
We won’t be shaken
You know my every longing
You’ve heard my every prayer
You’ve held me in my weakness
You were always there
So I’ll stand in full surrender
It’s your way and not my own
My mind is set on nothing less
Than you and you alone
I will not be moved
Whatever will come our way
Through fire or pouring rain
We wont be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we’ll rise and sing
We won’t be shaken
We will trust in you
We will not be moved
We will trust in you
And we won’t be shaken
REALLY?????? COME ON NOW.
I had a friend from twitter send me this subject for a blog… and after praying about it, I felt that I might be able to shed some light on the subject and so I began to write this. The short of it is that this person had a friend say that she didn’t like church worship because it was “ALL FAKE”. This is the best response I could drum up to that thought process…. hope you enjoy:
Worship being fake is a weird statement. Of course there are always people who have a talent for being more dramatic than the rest of us, but at the same time there is a truth that no man can know the intentions or heart of any other person… no one but God knows the true intentions of our hearts. I do think that this raises a very good point. Is worship real anymore or is all just an exercise? Something that we just do. I submit that worship is both. Now before you die of a heart attack let me explain.
Would you say that a person who spends time in their bible even though they don’t really want to is a fake? No, you would say that they are exercising discipline so that they may better know the God that they serve. Likewise, what about a person who studies for an exam even though they don’t really enjoy the subject matter… so that they can get the degree that they want. Are they a fake or extremely wise in working through the difficulty to gain what they desire… a knowledge of the subject. What about a person who hangs out with people that they are nothing like in an effort to know them and therefore share the gospel with them?
I find it funny any time a person uses the idea of “hypocrites” as there thesis for their frustration with a group of likeminded people… especially when it comes to the church. Ultimately when a person goes to the extreme of saying that ALL people are one thing or another, they are completely off base… it’s an impossibility for all of us to carry the same beliefs…. “They are all just hypocrites in there just fake worshipping Jesus.” Then I have to ask… how is anyone in the room more hypocritical than you?? If you’re a believer trying to make sure that the hearts of all people in your church are pure, then you have already become one with a heart that isn’t pure…. after all the bible does specifically say not to judge lest you be judged. That’s the thing… we can’t get around our fallen state. We all know that we are all guilty of sin in our lives…. and when we start pointing the finger at worshippers because they are all in when it comes to worship time, but they are obviously sinners when it’s not worship time, we actually become the very thing that we hate. We become the judge… we become the jury, and we become the modern day pharisees. When we judge people based on our opinions and our established laws then that is exactly who we are.
I get it “hypocrites” are everywhere and in our eyes there are always people who are more hypocritical than others, but truly I tell you… we are all guilty. If we wanted to get God’s judgement of others to be in acted here on earth immediately so that we could weed out the problem… we would be weeded out as well. That’s right God’s judgement will not be based on how bad a person is…. no, God cannot stand the sight of any sin. He is perfect and without blemish, and as such all sin…. even the slightest cannot be in the presence of God. If not for the blood of Jesus Christ we would all be banished from His presence forever.
One cannot say all Christians are fake when they worship… that’s simply not true. Because worshipping when one doesn’t want to is even a part of the bible. Job worshipped the Lord even in his despair.
One cannot simply say all hypocrisy should be rooted out….. that’s impossible, because the person who spoke would have to be dissolved as well. We are all hypocrites… yes ALL OF US. Good thing that our faith is in a God who is pure, holy, and always consistent.
The truth is that worship is required, in good times and in bad times. When we feel like it AND when we don’t because worship draws us into the presence of God, where He begins to mold us, shape us, and realign us to His will. So, when a person says that all worship is fake, they are missing the point… worshipping even in the hard times is exactly what we must do to continue to be drawn into the presence of God who will lead us out of our despair.
Finally, when a person is emotional in worship…. it may be the truest, least fake thing that they can be… after all when we consider the Gospel…. how God incarnate became a child born into the world in lowly Bethlehem in a manger… lived the perfect life…. was crucified for our sins and died… only to be raised 3 days later to conquer death in this world…. FOR YOU….. maybe we should be a bit emotional.
Here’s my best shot at illustrating what I’m saying:
If you won the lottery and they came to your door with millions of dollars just to say… this is yours… just accept it…. you would freak out wouldn’t you?? Our responses would all be different to that circumstance, but we would all go nuts in our own way. A woman who’s been desperate to pay her bills might just fall on her knees crying and lift her hands to heaven. A man might literally run around the block screaming. Responses unique to that person, true…. but not fake… just pure unfiltered JOY.
Obedience requires that we worship the Lord. Obedience also requires that we NOT judge others. 7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Obedience may be the truest form of worship.
There is no good EXCUSE for not worshipping the Lord…unless you don’t have a saving knowledge of the Lord. His love for us requires worship…. which is why we do it… whether in sickness, health, love, or hurt…. in plenty, and in little… God’s sacrificial love has saved us and there is no other response but worship when we consider His goodness and mercy which endures forever. So there it is… we’ve all won the LOTTERY, all we have to do is accept it… so go ahead FREAK OUT… and don’t judge other people when they do the same thing.
What are your thoughts???? I’d love to hear them!!
Hello to the world that I’ve been neglecting for some time now. I do truly apologize for my absence. I’m going to bring this BLOG to you REAL though… I mean I’m gonna let you inside some of my greatest fears and discouragements so that I can make some sense out of the struggles that I’ve faced for the last 15 years as a singer. The truth is that it has only been in the last year or so that I’ve finally come to the realization that I’m not just some guy who worked his tail off with less talent and therefore figured out how to create a viable career in music. Lets be honest, the people that I most look up to in this world are now some of my peers. I always hoped that in getting to know them I would find out that they were just like me…. limited in some way or another, but blessed with an amazing ability to work at their craft until they just figured it out. I am sad to say that the closer I get to these people the more I find that they are exactly what the public thinks they are…. AMAZINGLY talented. From Bart Millard, to Mac Powell, Steven Curtis, to Matthew West, Mark Hall, Russ Lee, Michael Tait, Matt Hammitt etc. etc. I’ve always been a little bit frustrated when I got close to them because they could do something easily that came with a lot of difficulty for me: SING.
I know what you’re thinking… “yeah but Jason, you’re a great singer too” and yes, I do believe that… but honestly not until the last 2 years have I started believing that I was great too. Why??? Because all of the other people mentioned above seemed so bullet proof. They never seemed to have off nights… and notes that I just can’t physically sing came out of their mouths like it was nothing. Obviously the closer I got to these people the more that I heard them night after night after night, the more in awe of them I became. Likewise, I became more and more concerned that I wasn’t really meant to do what I doing because obviously God hadn’t given me the natural talent that he had given all of them. I literally started thinking that maybe it would be better if I was just a guy off the stage who designed services and was a “Worship Pastor” who never sang and only did artistic development in the younger budding artists that would be in our churches worship program….. to say nothing of Building429. I literally believed that Building429 was actually held back by my inability to sound like the rest of the CCM world that ruled the radio… so it was a forgone conclusion that sooner or later we would be done and moving on… after all if God wanted us to continue to do this he would’ve given me the same natural abilities as the others artists in our industry RIGHT????
I used to get so frustrated that I couldn’t sound like Bart Millard… no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t do it. But God doesn’t need another Bart Millard does he? He’s got the one he wanted right now as the lead singer of Mercy Me. How about Jamie Grace? I’ve heard a hundred new versions of her recently… but none are going to work because God is interested in the unique. We are all made differently for a reason. He’s already got a Jamie Grace and she’s just plain awesome… why?? Because she’s not trying to be anything other than her… (just a quick lesson for all the budding artists). Coldplay knock off’s beware…. there’s already a Coldplay and God is an artists… not a replicator… he designs….. He begins…. he wants us to do the same.
Every year for the last 6 years I’ve had to go to a vocal doctor to make sure that everything is ok related to my vocal chords… it’s just something that every singer should do if they want to keep their voices long term. This day was like every other vocal doctor appointments I’ve had through the years… the constant fear that they’re going to say “YEP YOU’VE FINALLY BLOWN IT OUT>>>>> YOU’RE DONE” and if not that, then knowing full well that they would probably say something like …. “You’re vocal chords are swollen and you need rest”…. (which is always hilarious because B429 plays 150 shows a year and I was leading a ridiculous amount of services at my church as well this particular year. You can’t just start canceling shows or services because you feel bad… in fact Building429 has never cancelled a show, I’m proud to say, because of my voice)
Always the same fear accompanies the same doctors office… I HATE IT. Anyway, it came time for me to have my vocal chords “scoped” (which is the worst thing ever… picture gagging on a metal camera that is shoved down your throat… ugh) and as the doctor was taking pictures she suddenly paused. Then she said something horrifying… “OH, WOW” which in my head calculates as: “yep you’re done”. She asked, “Do you have a hard time singing high notes?” ….. “yeah???” “Well, you were made that way!” “What do you mean???” I asked. She continued: “You actually have a malformation of your vocal chords… they don’t form a straight line when you sing…. no matter how hard you try you will never be able to fully align your chords, which makes it easier for you to sing low and a LOT harder for you to sing high.” I thought in my head ….. ok so it’s official… I’m not supposed to be doing this. Then she said something that caught me off guard: “Yeah, but you also sound so cool because of the same issue….. The raspy sound of your voice is the way you were built too… air is always escaping through your chords even when you talk… which is what makes you sound so much like FM radio!”
What???? Wait, you mean you think I sound good???
That day was the day that I realized that my perceived weakness was actually my strength.
I’m surrounded by people who sing higher notes and with more ease than I can imagine, but no one sounds like me….. I sound like me. God made me differently.. and why would he want it any other way? Ultimately if it were my talent that made me great I could try to take credit for it… or even if it was my hard work that made me me… I could take credit again. But it’s not…. God made me sound the way I do… and therefore… He gets the glory. The doctor had suddenly opened my heart to remember the many thousands of conversations and emails that I had received over the last 12-15 years when people when on and on about the “way my voice sounds”. It finally occurred that those people knew something I didn’t: I was gifted to be ME…not a copy of everyone else.
I depend on God in ways that most people can’t imagine because for me to do what I do night after night and sunday after sunday demands an “all in approach”. If you’ve ever seen Building429 in concert you might have even thought… Geeze that lead singer is like, really into it… YEAH I AM…. but why??? Because to sing the stuff that we write I have to throw my whole body into the process. I sound like me… which is cool, but to do what I am required to do (sing in radio range) I literally have to go full on. It’s not emotion… it’s reality that I literally don’t know if I’m going to hit some of the notes until they fly out of my mouth… EVERY NIGHT I DON’T KNOW. There is only one way to feel confident that I’m not going to screw up….. GO ALL IN. TRUST THE LORD… Believe that there I am here for a reason and BELT IT OUT.
I’m currently on tour with NEWSONG… and they are the most AMAZING singers on the planet… so you can imagine my excitement when I heard they wanted me to sing a part in a couple of their songs…. ugh… I thought: “I’m gonna get killed”. Then came the rehearsal…. I sang the part the way that I would… and when I finished it they gave me this compliment: “We’ve never had anybody just OWN that part like you”. I smiled to myself and thought…. well if it was easy for me I wouldn’t have to throw everything I’ve got at it every time!! Mission accomplished… I didn’t suck and I had held my own on the stage with these RIDICULOUS vocalists.
The more that I opened my eyes to the fact that my perceived weakness was Gods intended strength the more that I began to notice the same thing in other people all around me.
He’s not a shredder… never really got into that…. but he is a TONE MACHINE. Why…. he could’ve decided that he just wasn’t cut out for guitar, but he didn’t….. he began to dig to find his own gifting…. and guess what it is?? TONE. Honestly speaking he is a tonal genius and nobody… short of “THE EDGE” himself can come close…. Is he going to rip a solo… maybe from time to time, but that’s not his strength… his strength is in making 1 guitar sound HUGE and fill an entire mix.
“The Edge”… the only reason he is “The EDGE” today is because he couldn’t play like everyone else… so he developed his own strategy on how he could still be Formidable. Now every worship band in America tries (horribly) to imitate him…. (BTW it’s dotted eighths guitar players)
Dude sounded like a FROG ya’ll. (What a wonderful world) Most people probably thought his voice was horrible the first time they heard it…. but it wasn’t horrible. It was different and therefore he was a MONSTER.
Nat “King” Cole:
Famous for his massive records… the guy was like me… he could only sing in 1 and a half octaves….. which is NOTHING…. but he honed it and made it AMAZING.
So with that said, I now come to the challenge… has it ever occurred to you that the thing that you want to give up may actually be God’s will for you…. it’s just not meant to be easy? What if the reality is that we need to rethink and revision what we consider a weakness? What if you could begin to believe that God may have actually given you your imperfection as a way to make you unique? So you’re not perfect…. neither are the ones who you think are so good. We are all imperfect, but your weakness is what makes you unique enough to stand out.
My last question of this BLOG could change your life
What is your weakness? How can you turn it into a STRENGTH… just by changing your perspective?
Everyone needs a Michael Anderson.
People come to see Building 429 shows and they always tend to be really stunned at the way that we interact with each other on stage and off. Yeah the show is HIGH intensity and yeah we are a united front when we walk on the stage. To the public we always stand United, but it hasn’t always been that way. In fact we come from a very different place. A place that most bands know all too well. We come from a place of complete chaos and dissension. Seriously… that’s where we come from. If you were to hit the rewind button on Building 429’s career and take it back 4- 5 years you would see a VERY different thing. You would see us in the middle of a turbulent series of months where the two leaders of the band were at complete odds. You say, “the leaders of the band….. I thought ya’ll were all equal?” Well we are… but two of us have been here the longest and as such we are the two guys that carry the leadership banner most of the time. But there was a time when we (the two leaders) HATED each other. What? Gasp, shock, you’re horrified I know!! That’s just the truth. Michael and I literally did not like each other at all. It took us a while to figure out why…. and that almost killed our band and our relationship, but we did figure it out THANK GOD.
It’s not so much that Michael didn’t like who I was, or that I didn’t like who he was…. we just didn’t understand that way we each processed things. Here’s how we look personality wise:
Michael: Glass half empty
Jason: Half full
Michael: Logistical thinker
Michael: OCD Attention to detail
Jason: ADD attention to NOTHING
Michael: 8 lane highway direct express to the destination.
Jason: 2 lane country road to somewhere…. wait … where were we going again?????
Michael: Silent leader
Jason: Vocal Leader
Jason: Center of attention
Ultimately we were at odds most of the time because he was a buzz kill to my excitement, and I was a buzz kill to his reality… because the things I would think up wouldn’t ever happen.
So how do we co exist on such great terms today???
I started paying attention to him and trying to understand where he was coming from… and he started believing that the crazy stuff in my head might actually be achievable. More than that… I started to realize that the reason he was in my life was because God needed me to have someone like him as bumpers for the bowling alley of life.
Here’s the thing…. i am a great leader… I know I am…. but I become even greater when I embrace the gifting of the people that God has put around me. I came to realize that Maybe Michael wasn’t a liability, maybe he was a HUGE strength because let’s be honest… I don’t want to deal with the stupid rhetorical math of money… Michael LOVES THAT STUFF. I don’t want to deal with the Merchandising side of Building429…. I want to have input on designs but I don’t really care how many of each t-shirt we have in inventory. When I’m on stage I am not focussed on anything other than connecting and leading the people in front of me… but every night Michael can see what I can’t see…. and his analytical mind sees the way that we could be better even if we KILLED it.
Likewise… Michael knows that I am a songwriter at heart… and he let’s me be the songwriter I was born to be. Michael knows that in front of a crowd 99 times out of 100 my instincts are going to lead us to a pretty awesome connection, so he let’s me be free. He also knows that when we do meet and greets and interviews that it’s best for me to lead the way, because that is my gift. He’s not threatened by the fact that I am the leader in Public…. because he is equally the leader in Private.
We’ve also learned the subtleties of our leadership styles. He gives me the right to share my heart at any point in the show as a point of deferment. In turn when he thinks the point has been made and I should stop talking he gets the right to crank us back into the set as a point of deferment. That makes us both better. You don’t know it, but every night right in front of your eyes at a Building429 you are watching the act of compromise on stage. The whole time you think I am in control… as the Public leader, but in actuality he is in control as well as the Private leader! Pretty cool huh?
The more that I chose to learn about the way he thinks, the more I was able to implement some things that allowed me to meet him on common ground. It’s true…. the more I learned about his way of handling things, the more that I started trying hard to at least act like I care about details. I found myself beginning to see how the glass might be half empty sometimes. I began to process the idea of allowing him to lead in business meetings. I found myself actually deferring to Michael on the order of our set… and the way we put our productions together. He did the same for me…. and little by little we began to find common ground!
But here is the single biggest thing that changed our world. We made a decision that it was imperative that we never try to beat each other. That’s right…. I can’t beat Michael…. I don’t even try. I don’t try to win arguments with him. I try to find compromise because the only way that I win is if WE WIN.
When we decided that we had to win together everything changed. Suddenly there was no competition for leadership…. why because we were in it to win it together. In fact there was no way to win separately. If you’re in a band hear me….. “THERE IS NO WAY TO WIN SEPARATELY” You will fail if you’re goal is to win internally. You will ultimately put your well being above the rest of those that you work with… they will see it and they will quit… and you will be DONE.
What’s the point of this blog? Who is your Michael Anderson? You might think you hate this person…. but then again maybe God wants them in your life so you can be more than you ever thought you could be.
If you don’t have someone who disagrees with you and challenges the way you think… you are probably on your way to some ungodly behavior. SERIOUSLY.
If all you ever do is surround yourself with Christians you will eventually find you heart for the lost and broken fading to grey on your way to being a modern day Pharisee.
If all you ever do is surround yourself with non-believers you will find your faith waning on a daily basis till there is none left.
If you’re a singer/songwriter and all you ever hear is how great you are… I would dare say no one is telling you the truth.
If you don’t have someone who will challenge you… I’m telling you now… you better find someone, because you need it.
We all need checks and balances…. my biggest check and balance on the road is MICHAEL ANDERSON. So who is yours???
Oh yeah… if you’d like to know more about my boy MIKE… follow him on twitter @michael429 or look him up on Facebook… and yes he friends everyone!!
Let me start this by saying that I am writing this one for me. I’ll probably have to turn around and read this a hundred times over the next few months. That said…. Let me just say that I understand what it feels like to be running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to get things done… in the past 30 days I have worked without a single day off… and I’m currently on a 8 day run with the “God’s Not Dead Tour” in the Northwest. Our new record is almost done, and unfortunately all that is left is my part : ) which means as soon as I get home I’m headed to the studio to finish it off.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed lately, but my blog is really meant to inspire all of you guys to overachieve!! The truth be known, I am an overachiever in that the things that I get accomplished tend to be far above my “paygrade”. What does that mean?? Well my talents are far less in capacity than the results that I tend to squeeze out of myself. That is generally viewed as a really good thing. But what happens when you begin to wear yourself out? What happens when you’ve worked so hard that you literally can’t fit another thing in even if you wanted to? What happens when you begin to view yourself as defined by what is accomplished? You BURN OUT. I’m a pretty tough guy, but I do usually burn out about once a year… I start whining to my wife about how hard it is to keep everything going and she just shakes her head. Why…. because every year I forget the power of the word “No”.
The other day we were on stage getting our soundcheck done on the Newsboys tour and I asked a question over the PA that apparently couldn’t be answered. Everyone paused and stared at each other in the arena. I’m the boss on the road and I quickly got the feeling that they were all trying to figure out how to tell me what I was asking for wasn’t possible without telling “the bossman” no. I then said this over the PA. “Hey guys, No is just as good an answer as Yes….. just tell me the truth and we’ll move on”. Everyone was a bit stunned. Then my road manager, Graig, piped up and said…. “yeah, we can’t do that today, but we can work on it for tomorrow” Awesome, MOVING ON. I even had several guys from the Newsboys crew come up to me after that soundcheck and tell me how awesome that statement was. Think about it….. “NO IS AS GOOD AN ANSWER AS YES.”
The reality is that the more we say yes halfheartedly, the more we get mediocre results from our efforts to please people. What if we only said yes to things that we REALLY wanted to commit to? Well when your parents showed up at your house you would actually be happy to see them….. right? Seriously… how many times have you had someone over that you were just too tired to entertain in an effort to be kind and had an honestly NOT FUN night just because you couldn’t bring yourself to say NO? How many relationships have ended because we were passive aggressive and let the other person walk all over us until we couldn’t stand it and then decided THEY were overbearing and therefore not worth the effort? How many times has JASON ROY said yes to a MILLION interviews, while making a record, planning services, and touring 30 days straight, lost his voice and been mad at everyone but himself for not raising his hand and saying…. NO! I’m tired. Can’t do it.
Happens every year. ugh.
Funny… aren’t we the ones who keep allowing this junk to happen?? I’ve found in my life that it is better to fully present in less things, than barely present in a lot of things.
I’m still working this out, but every year or two I have to go back to the drawing board and weed some things out so that I can be better at the things that matter the most to me. For instance, 3 years ago I built a studio in the basement of my house with the intention of running it full-time with a full-time engineer. It was a great idea……. I had the space, and I had the gear, but I was missing one thing in the equation…. ME. People wanted to work with ME, and I wanted to have my hands in the projects that were getting done there, but I literally didn’t have time to be what I wanted to be. I couldn’t balance family, church, touring, recording B429, and a studio so I had to stop it. Otherwise it would’ve just been a money making attempt, with mediocre results. In a Godly man, mediocrity is unacceptable unless it is a temporary byproduct of an attempt at excellence. I’m ok with failure… even mediocrity, if it is not allowed to become the status quo of your life. At least that’s the way I view mediocrity and because of that I have an extreme tendency to scrap anything that I don’t believe is excellent… so the studio is not open for business anymore. Maybe some day… just not today.
The same could be said for online marketing. There’s email, facebook email, twitter, linkedin, youtube, vimeo…. and a thousand other things too…… but lets be honest… unless you NEVER work, there is no way to be truly involved on all of those platforms… heck it’s hard enough to be involved on just twitter, facebook, and email for me….. so what do I do??? I say NO to anything that I can’t do well. I don’t want to have something to do that I resent.
In relationships the same thing applies. If you have a friend or family member that is wearing you out… it’s probably because you ALLOW them to do it. It’s ok to say NO to someone, in fact I’d argue that it is GODLY…. it’s ok to not be available all of the time. They may be frustrated at first, but after a while they will start to get the point… that you only commit to things that line up with your priorities, and they will respect it, when they figure it out.
The truth is that you are giving up something really important when you can’t say “NO”. When you can’t say NO, you end up trading your actual responsibility (your spouse, children, job) for an assumed responsibility (friends, extended family) that will eventually compete with and damage your ability to function in a Godly manner. The more that you prioritize the needs of anyone over your immediate family, the more that cracks will grow until the levy breaks. Maybe instead of always saying “yes” to people requests in an effort to please everyone… we should change our thinking to “who do I take time away from when I say yes to this?” If the answer to that question is: My family… you may need to go back to the drawing board and muster up a little confidence to say “NO”. Now everyone needs a little time away with just friends…. but that’s why computers, and phones have CALENDARS. Schedule it way in advance so you’re not going out to ride motorcycles with your buddies when your son has a basketball game, which would be an appropriate time to say “NO” anyway, right?
My wife has an amazing ability to say “no” gracefully and it has served us as a family REALLY well through the years. People don’t have to sit around and wonder if were in or out, because it’s “YES” or “NO”, and not a passive “maybe”. Maybe shouldn’t be allowed in our conversations… haha…. As far as I’m concerned I’d rather you say “NO” to me than “Maybe” because I can plan for that.
What is this all about???? Well…. maybe it’s time you take back over your life… and stop being quietly angry with people who are just doing what you allow them to do. There is a time to work your tail off…. that’s any time that you’re on the clock…. but after that is when you have to have the ability to prioritize what really matters in this life. Keep your priorities straight and don’t forget the power that you have with a 2 letter word that truly changes everything!!!
Matt Cavenaugh was his name…. the coolest guy in the school. Everybody loved the guy…. girls and guys and when you’re in middle school, like I was at the time, you just want to be around a guy like that. He was awesome at soccer…. the best player on the team in fact…. awesome at basketball… got good grades etc, etc…. but as I look back on it now he understood something that no one else did. He understood that people were looking up to him… and he understood that he had an opportunity to be kind and to see the good in people around him. Maybe that was the biggest part of Matt that made him so much fun to be around. When everyone else would be trashing you, this guy would walk up and tell you something like “Bro you’re killing it…. great job!” I remember vividly the day that I scored 2 goals in a soccer game against our cross town rival. Several of the guys on the team didn’t like me very much… probably because at the time I exuded weakness, and it was easy to not like me then…. but after I scored my second goal they were all laughing at how “ugly” it was. Matt ran from the other side of the field and high fived me like I had just won the super bowl and what do you know??? They all SHUT UP!! BRASH optimism can actually silence negativity!
Time went on and I moved to Texas and lost track of Matt, but my first two years of high school were just as bad as my days in middle school in North Carolina. Then one day a thought occurred to me. What made Matt so cool?
1) He exuded confidence
2) He was kind to everyone
3) He was ALWAYS optimistic
4) He worked harder than anyone else at everything he did
I did an experiment my junior year in High School. Up until that point in my life I was pretty much forgettable. I decided I would make an attempt at “changing my stars” and trying to be the Matt Cavenaugh of our school. I wondered what would happen if I decided that I would talk to every single person I saw in the halls and tried to make them smile. What if I introduced myself to everyone and attempted to be encouraging to all of them? What would happen around me?? My first attempts were a bit awkward as i worked on the ins and outs of being an extrovert…. which i had never been before. After a while I started to notice a change in me and in the people that I was meeting…. they started knowing my name and even being happy to see me on a day to day basis. The more that I talked to people and became a source of optimism, the more that they wanted to talk with me… and a little at a time I started to be encouraged as they were encouraged. I found that being optimistic as a HABIT actually began to make me optimistic in BEHAVIOR.
Soon I was one of the more “known” people in the school… wether I was popular or not didn’t matter, people actually knew who I was and enjoyed the time that they spent with me… and honestly I began to rise in “popularity” as a result. It was crazy… before long I was on a first name basis with people who were in social circles I had never even thought about entering in the first place. The truth is that I was a believer and some people were turned off by that, but that didn’t mean that they didn’t know my name and consider me one of the more influential people at our tiny little school in Mount Pleasant, TX. Not only that, but because I was practicing talking with people all the time, I began to notice that I had an extra measure of strength internally when it came time to share my faith.
Now, to be honest, I didn’t become the person that I am today in high school…. no, I struggled with my own insecurities as much as anyone else did, but I found that part of leaving insecurity behind was the my internal belief that God had plans for me and that I didn’t have to be afraid of what other people thought of me. The more I practiced being an extroverted, encouraging, confident, kind hearted person… the more I became that person.
Who among doesn’t struggle with some form of insecurity, or self doubt?? NOBODY. Maybe the way to move away from these things is to begin to believe what the Lord says instead of consistently quoting scriptures as words instead of TRUTHS?? His words are TRUTHS… so believe them.
Matt Cavenaugh had a real and lasting impact on my life on a social level, and it was only after years of unconsciously practicing extrovert behaviors that I finally realized that I was simply forcing myself to live biblical principles the whole time. Now that I am the front man of BUILDING429 and worship pastor of GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH I have found the power comes from practicing simple behavioral patterns coupled with living in light of the truth. It has made me a more confident leader. My pastor said in an email the other day that I was a “people magnet” which is hilarious because I am actually an extreme introvert based on every test that I’ve ever taken. Funny though, how God can take what is weak and feeble, and make it into a powerful influence for His kingdom. He can and WILL do the same thing with you if you will take Him at HIS word!!!
I want to finish this blog by asking you guys to chime in…… what are the scriptures that you remind yourself of when you get a bit discouraged that help you to remember that YOU WERE BORN TO LEAD THE WORLD TO JESUS!!
Here are a few of my favorites:
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
I COULD GO ON FOREVER…. in fact we should go on forever… what are some of your favorite scriptural truths that we all need to believe???