(Please use CAUTION when clicking the song links in this post...some of them are NOT polite, kind or necessarily socially redeeming.)
God is amazing in where He leads us. The paths and convolutions of our brains are a maddening artwork of insanity that some how, usually, come around right. I am continually stunned by the process of becoming who I am.
See, when you spend as much time as I have sitting cross legged on my bed, you come to a place where you can see the places you shook your fist defiantly in the face of God, where you pretended to do the right things and still pretty much ignored Him and the places where He, calmly, rearranged the circumstances so that you could see it all in a new light, with new eyes.
I am an enthusiastic and prolific singer. A good one.
This has ever been true of me. More than being a good singer, I am a constant singer. Over my lifetime, I've sung with hundreds of people, thousands of songs, multiple million lyrics, hundreds of harmonies.
Also, I am a writer. An enthusiastic, prolific writer. A good one.
This has also ALWAYS been true. I currently have 11 journals in my closet, the oldest dating back to December 18, 1983, my first real kiss. These don't include journals that are packed or lost or that I have thrown away during the course of my life and they don't include one that I know I still have somewhere that chronicles my appendectomy surgery when I was 9...so early 1980.
I'm saying this out loud not to invite praise or to astound you with my arrogance. I'm saying this because many times over the years I've lost sight of it. I mean, there have been plenty of critics to my various forms of art, plenty of careful words offered me when I had a crazier idea. Over the years, I let those voices into my head. I heard, "You can sing, but you are not THAT good at it, you are not musical enough for music to matter." I heard, "Sure you put words on a page but who would ever want to read it? It's not something that is valid to do for a living" Not necessarily because those were the actual words said, but they were the impression I had of what was said and became the words I said to myself over...and over...and over again.
Follow me...I'll come back around to this...
My musical tastes throughout my life have been eclectic, but over the last ten to fifteen years had become pretty static. I listened to Christian pop stuff most of the time...some Southern Gospel...some hymns...now and then some edgier Christian Rock. But pretty much all Christian all the time. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
In the last few months, I haven't really FELT like Christian music. I enjoy it, but I've been in the mood for loud, pounding, windows down, moody chick screaming at the top of your lungs music, think Martina McBride - Independence Day, or Alannis Morrisette - Right Through You...Or there's the mellow, melancholy, hopeless stuff like Sarah McLaughlin - Hold On.
I'm not sure why it is necessary to give vent to anger and despair. Why it's necessary to give voice to the baser part of me so that I can come back to center. I just know that moody chicks cussing at a world in which they have zero hope often comes far closer to how I feel at times than any of the hope filled, wonderful Christian songs I've sung...and by that sheer, RAW emotion, these types of songs bring me back around to grateful faster than anything else.
I've been on a Pink kick for the last few weeks. Seriously, I might need an intervention. Now I don't know much of her story or much of her beliefs, but that girl can write a lyric that hits my soul, baby. Songs like True Love and So What? with lyrics that really have reflected my thoughts from time to time set to a tune and rhythm that allows me to scream out and then let go have been cathartic through these chaotic times. The song Perfect is my new theme song...check out the second verse and maybe you can see why...
You're so mean when you talk
About yourself, you are wrong
Change the voices in your head
Make them like you instead
So complicated, look how big you'll make it
Filled with so much hatred, such a tired game
It's enough, I've done all I can think of
Chased down all my demons, see you do the same
Pretty, pretty please, don't you ever, ever feel
Like you're less than, less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel
Like you're nothing, you are perfect to me
I really don't want my kids to grow up with the doubt filled voices in their heads about the things that God gave them and meant for a gift for them. When they are older and far more responsible and the world says, "Put that away, dearie, the time for your art is over, let's grow up now." I want them to fight it.
Fight the downward slide toward maturity. Fight the voices that declare that while creativity is nice, it is NOT necessary. The voices that tout specific skills in intelligence, organization and hard work as the only valid way to spend certain years of your life. Those voices are wrong. Those voices seem to always discount natural, joyful flights of fancy unless they directly pertain to the vocation at hand.
The thing is, without those gifts, without my knowledge that I am a singer regardless of my job...that I am a writer despite how I make my money, I am incomplete...less...far more prone to anger and self-loathing...and far less able to be confident in all the millions of other things that God wants ME to be.
I'm coming to a place through these moody chicks and a thousand other interactions that I don't really CARE if anyone likes what I'm doing. I've cared for far too long that my stuff wasn't good enough. You know what? It's not. If you view art through the eyes of an audience, it is NEVER good enough. NEVER. There will always be critics, haters, practical people who think these things are pointless.
But if you view your art through the eyes of God, the one that gifted each of us in our own spectacular ways, there is no "not good enough"...there is only you. You as HE built you to be. And He wants us to live unashamed of the gifts, and using them, everyday, in every way that He leads, no matter what those other voices say.
Because we are PERFECT to Him.
See ya around...