Seriously, I think I’ve turned into a big, mushy wimp.
Yesterday, I received an email from Noisetrade, a music discovery site that trades free music for your email address and social promotion. The email was advertising a 65-song summer sampler featuring songs from some of my favorite artists like Stephen Kellogg, Tyrone Wells, Matthew Mayfield, Guster, Tony Lucca and boatload of others. This particular freebie compilation was sponsored by a company called Storyville Coffee from Seattle.
Free music sounds great. “So,” you ask, “how exactly does free music make you a wuss?” Well, I saw Storyville’s logo.
Holy cow, does it sound cheesy, but I teared up a little when I saw the logo. Looking at this child running barefoot with his toy airplane set off all kinds of thoughts. I was sitting at my desk at work with tears in my eyes. Looking at a logo. On a coffee cup. A freaking logo.
I realized why I was so emotional. I was missing my imagination. I was missing my child-like faith.
I have been missing the belief that I can do anything. I have been missing the realization that I was not stuck in a rut. I have been missing the desire to be creative, be exploratory, be expressive and cling to God with my life in obedience. I wondered what happened to Young Me who spent hours in the driveway on Mockingbird Drive pretending he was in the NBA. Young Me played ball until he couldn’t even see the rim. Young Me also had a back story for all his toys. Young Me had a spaceship made out of a bush that grew next to two oak trees and had half of a cinder block for the commander’s chair. Young Me didn’t care what others thought. Young Me rocked.
Matthew 18:2-4 says, “And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'”
I’ve been resistant to many things God has been wanting to do in my life. I’ve been resistant to use some of the gifts He has given me. I’ve let selfishness and excuses get in the way of me expressing myself through art and being obedient to Him in action.
I go through these seasons of extreme inspiration and creativity. I constantly have great thoughts that lead to poetry, photo projects, business plans, ministry building or cool app ideas. But, at the end of these seasons is a time of sadness. I end up not spending the time responding to what God has inspired me to do. As a result, I get frustrated and go on strike against Instagram/Flickr/JPG and other sites. I just look at them and stare at all the people who are actually setting aside time and doing something with their inspiration.
What if no one wants to hear what I have to say? What if the blog template I choose sucks? What if my writing or poetry doesn’t connect with people? What if my photos aren’t perfect? Blah, blah, blahblahblah. This is the garbage that goes on in my head.
After wallowing in my own inner-conflict and pseudo-philosophical blabbering, I’ve decided to press on and actually listen to the people around me.
First, I have to thank my wife. She knows it’s scary inside my head. She probably realizes that it’s healthier for us all if these thoughts get out. After all, I did recently ask her which useless super power she would want. I chose the ability to change people’s clothes with the simple snap of my fingers. She chose to the ability to change the subject.
While I was venting my frustration and turning in my man-card to let her know that I almost cried when I saw a logo, she gave me some strong assurances. She reminded me that I can do anything, through Christ, through prayer. She reminded me of my creativity and of her always-present love and belief in me. This is why she is amazing.
Second, I have to thank Erin. We go way back to elementary school. Her mom used to drive us to the skating rink (Skatetown USA!). Now, she’s a wife, mom and fantastic writer. Check out her blog here. Erin told me to ponder the question “what would you do if you were guaranteed to never get anything in return [from writing] except personal satisfaction?” Well, I suppose that’s good enough for me.
Lastly, I have to thank a guy I’ve never met. I stumbled across a book called The Crowd, The Critic, and the Muse: A Book for Creators by Michael Gungor. Gungor leads a Christian rock band I listen to that shares the same name. Check out the website here or follow him @gungormusic. As of this writing, I am 51% through the book (according to my Kindle app). So far, it has addressed every single objection I’ve had about working out my creativity.
“Clear vision and full lungs give strength and determination to an artist; they become a sort of faith that gives the work meaning. Work without faith is dead. The artist who knows what he is creating and why he is creating it possesses a flame that is very difficult to extinguish.”
Now is where the fun starts. If you’ve managed to stick around this entire long-winded post, thanks. I’m expecting future posts to be about my journey in trying to completely surrender to Christ, feature my photography, some poetry and thoughts from a grown up kid who gets weepy over logos.
After all this talk, I practically know nothing else about that Storyville company. I wonder if the coffee is as good as the logo.