Category Archives: Starting

Freedom in Finding my Voice

I’ve loved music all my life. From my sister telling me how to sound like the Carpenters as a kid (I like rainy days, but Mondays still get me down!) to singing in the church choir to discovering the Beatles as a teenager, music has been a big part of my life.

Despite having musical parents and family on both sides, it’s always been an area of my life that’s hard to embrace. As a kid I was told many times, “Don’t quit your day job,” when I sang. People literally told me to shut up. (Who talks like that to children?) I dreamed for a while of being a rock star (seriously, who hasn’t? It really is one of the coolest jobs). I was shot down as too much of a dreamer.

Eventually I gave up on my musical dreams. I went to college and then seminary and became a pastor. Ironically, as a young youth pastor I was often called upon to use my limited guitar skills and voice to lead youth group worship. I would feel the pang of my love for my music calling, but knowing I wasn’t good enough, I put the guitar away again for years.

I’ve been on a long journey to re-discover who I am. As a part of my process a few years back I started taking guitar lessons. I knew it was time to embrace my musical soul. I’ve grown a lot in my skills and have spent hours and hours playing every week.

Last year I got the chance to play some gigs locally with a friend who believes in me and is helping me learn how to play gigs. I love playing for people even more than I thought I would, if that’s even possible.

This year my word, my focus, is ‘freedom.’ I’m trying things I’ve always been afraid to try. I’m stepping into areas where only the real me can show up. For me, I can’t sing without putting myself out there. So, taking one of the scariest steps I’ve ever taken, I started singing lessons in January.

Singing lessons are a way for me to take a risk to do something I’ve always wanted to do. Learning is a tricky thing. You can improve and find and reach your potential. But only if you allow others to tell you what you think you already know. Only if you humble yourself to listen to correction. Only if you work hard to practice and grow.

2021 for me is about finding freedom. Freedom to be who I really am. I am taking off masks. I am learning to step out from behind others. Freedom to find my voice in a very literal sense. Maybe one day I’ll sing a song about it.

Punching Fear in the Face

51SmKf8ZbuLAs many of you know, I’ve been seeking direction for the next phase of life for a while now. Today, I decided to punch fear in the face and do something. Let me explain. Lisa recently brought home a pre-release version of  Jon Acuff’s new book Start and in many ways the cover irked me so much (I mean check out the phrases “Punch Fear in the Face,” “Escape Average,” “Do Work that Matters” who IS this guy??) that I picked up the book and read it. The book is a reminder that the path to success has changed. Age doesn’t matter the way it did in the past. We all still pass through the phases of Learning, Editing, Mastering, Harvesting and Guiding and we might find ourselves learning at 60 or 40 or 30. His challenge is to “discover your awesome” whatever it is, whether it connects with a title or not, and START pursuing it.

This brings me to this post. Acuff challenges us to list our fears out–journal them so you can see them. Then to systematically write down what’s bogus about each and every one. I just filled three pages of my journal with fears that hold me back. Fears that prevent me from writing blog posts. Fears that keep me complaining about my life rather than pursuing my life. By the time my hand was too tired to keep writing, I was inspired to dust off this blog site and share. If you relate, read this book. If you don’t…well, I don’t totally believe you. If you relate but have already started and keep punching fear in the face in your own way–I’d love to hear your story! Maybe we can journey together and cheer each other on in doing work that matters. Either way, I’m starting.