Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Happy Christmas to you! I really hope your holiday season has been beautiful so far.

Here’s a quick Christmas thought that is so simple that it’s almost not worth saying. And yet, I think it’s so fundamentally important to get. And we don’t say it enough:

Who you are is enough. You are radically okay. God loves you--just how you are this moment.

Can you let yourself believe it?

In the Incarnation, we Christians believe that God became flesh and lived among us. In so doing, God put his divine stamp of approval on our humanity. It is good to be human. It is enough. As Julian of Norwich said, "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

Embrace who you are, and who God made you to be. All of your beauty and humanity. All of your quirks and awkwardness. 

Be YOU. That will always be enough.

Merry Christmas!! Love to you and your family. I hope this is the best Christmas you’ve ever had. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Song Story: "Where You Stand"

I recently released a song on NoiseTrade called "Where You Stand." If you didn't get it, you can download it free here. Here's a little bit about where that song came from.

A few years back, I went into a deep and lasting spiritual emptiness. I can't tell you how it started--but once I was in it, I was IN. IT. It was a time when God could not be felt, could not be sensed. God was silent. God was absent. At times, I was sure that the entire faith thing was merely a delusion, some chemical cocktail my brain drank to make me feel better. [Not easy to lead worship when you're going through this kind of struggle, by the way.]

Prior to this period of my life, I had always been comforted and energized by worship, reading the Scriptures, and various goings-on of faith-based groups I was a part of. I loved the practices of my faith--I felt God's presence and nearness, and was regularly inspired by God's movement.

But then, before I realized what had happened, nothing. 

It's cliche, but color drained from the world. Songs that once touched me now didn't. Theology and service and community that once was so powerful for me now rang hollow. God was gone.

The Bible talks about Jacob wrestling with God, or at least, some figurative version of God. And in the end, Jacob didn't win or lose. All he could do was hold on. And, as the story goes, "God" touched his hip, dislocating it. Jacob would walk with a limp for the rest of his life.

This is the perfect metaphor for my struggle with God. I would love to say that I went to some Christian concert and "got saved" again. Or that I took a pill and POOF, the emptiness disappeared. But I can't say that. The doubt and emptiness didn't go away. It stayed, and I held on. 

And now I walk with a limp. The limp is an ongoing struggle with haunting questions, with doubt. The limp is faltering attempts trying to embrace the mystery.

But all I can do is hold on. And somehow, God has given me the grace to believe that God is there. Present to me--when I feel it, and when I don't.

This song defines that struggle for me. What that period of life was like, and if I'm being honest, what it still is like sometimes.

Can you relate?

Download the song for free here.

Here we go again.
On the outside looking in
All was found and now is lost
All was near and now is gone

And once I knew
And once I knew
Tell me where You stand
Tell me where You stand
And I'll be right there

I know I get off the track
Searching for what won't be found
Prone to wander from the path
How long 'til You bring me back?
How long 'til You bring me back?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Releasing One's EP To the Public [And How It Freaks One Out]

This week, I released my debut EP of worship music. We worked for over 13 months on these songs, and gave our all to them. In the end, I'm really proud of how they have turned out.

But that doesn't stop my lizard brain from obsessing and freaking out about every little thing. Below is a glimpse into my raging insecurities, throughout the production and release of this project.

Making An Album: The Mental Process

Song Selection
     - Will people like this?
     - Or this?

     - Does this sound good?
     - Am I good enough to even be doing this?
     - Work work work work work work work.

     - I wish I was better at this.
     - Am I good enough to even be doing this?
     - Work work work work work work work.

     - Ah...the work is over.
     - Oh, crap. Will people like this?
     - Check social media obsessively.