Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Humility Check (Is This Thing On?)

The past three weeks have been crazy. Two weekends ago, Hannah had her first birthday party. Last week, I practiced and sang with the worship team at our church. Then, this past week, we had two band rehearsals and a concert Friday night. I have to admit I’ve been a little uptight, specifically over the last couple weeks, as I’ve prepared for the show on Friday. I’ve been gone or busy practicing several nights a week, and haven’t had much time to spend with Crystal or the kids. It is especially difficult for Joshua when he doesn’t get to see his daddy all day because of work and most of the night because of music commitments.

I’ve been worried about concerts in the past, but the event on Friday had me especially on edge. Initially, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to pull a band together. Two of my regular electric guitar players would be out of town the night of the event. The prospect of having a new guitarist learn and memorize thirteen songs over the course of several weeks was a bit unnerving. Nevertheless, I began to look to see if any other guitarists were interested and available, especially as half of my songs are guitar driven and I am primarily a keyboardist. Thankfully, I found a guitarist who was willing to jump in. However, about a week after he committed, he bailed on me, leaving me less than two weeks to find another guitarist.

Taking The Guitar By Its Strings
Desperately, I began to consider other possibilities. A good friend of mine was already playing acoustic guitar, but I still thought a second guitarist would be beneficial. Seeing no other options, I decided to attempt to play acoustic guitar for the first time in front of a live audience. I have casually played acoustic guitar here and there over the last ten years, but haven’t ever felt comfortable playing guitar at a concert. I have been taking lessons over the last several months and in the back of my mind, I was considering the idea of playing guitar for shows starting next year. Funny how life can throw you a curve ball when you least expect it.

So here I was – feverously trying to brush up on my guitar skills two weeks before the concert. In addition to practicing multiple nights, I had to create capo versions of charts that had been used by more seasoned players. It was a lot of music to learn, both for me and the other musicians. We had been asked to play two forty-five minute sets – the length of a typical headliner show. To add to the excitement was an unpromising weather report. There was a possibility of rain and a potential blistering heat index of 101. To top it off, my acoustic guitar player was starting to feel sick and was running a fever the day before the show.

Friday afternoon as I was stressing about the concert, I randomly came across Proverbs 11:2 which says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.“ The verse hit me square between the eyes. I realized that I was less concerned about blessing the people that would come to the concert and was more concerned that I would make mistakes and embarrass myself. In that moment, I was reminded how many times God has used my weaknesses to show His strength. So often, He has used challenges in life to teach me life-changing lessons. Suddenly, the possibility of messing up at the concert lost its edge. Funny how pride and humility see life through two completely different lenses. Pride says, “No matter what it takes, I want to look perfect, and I want people to like me.” Humility says, “No matter what it takes, I want to be a servant, even if it damages my ego.

The Fretless Life
It turns out that the concert went great. It was actually cooler than we thought and the rain came early in the day. The band did amazing and few mistakes were made. I even learned a lesson - it is much more difficult to play guitar when your hands are sweaty. Throughout the evening, we met some really awesome people and had a lot of fun. Joshua got to play in a bounce house and ride a pony and Hannah got to go to her first concert!

On Saturday, I was talking to Joshua and apologized for a being a little short with him over the last couple weeks. I said, “Daddy was a little stressed about the concert and a couple weeks ago, mommy was stressed about Hannah’s birthday party. However, God worked everything out.” He responded, “Well, I was worried about getting a haircut and it went ok.” Guess we’re all learning how to leave things in God’s hands.

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