I’ve been learning freedom on a long, slow curve. Emphasis on slow.
I believe that when we meet God…when He makes Himself known to us…the cage door is thrown open, we are given power to live BEYOND. Beyond ourselves, beyond the temporal, beyond the visible, beyond…
So why are so many of us still sitting here on our perches, behind bars? Do we not have good, strong, functional wings? What's keeping us nervous, fearful, glued, caged?
The inner workings of human temperament…so utterly fascinating to me. So utterly NOT fascinating to him, my better half. The minute I whip out a casual reference to someone’s Myers-Briggs personality type, there is a decidedly audible exhale and eyes flicker to something happening outside the window. (Of course, that’s because he’s an INTJ and he has better, more pragmatic things on his mind, so many things to be improved in the world!)
But I have a strong desire to understand people, including myself. Understanding helps me to love.
What's Wrong With Me?
When I entered the professional songwriting world a few years ago and began working collaboratively for the first time, I didn’t understand why it felt so hard for me and so easy for others. Not hard skill-wise, but hard emotionally/psychologically. I couldn’t seem to enter my writing space while sitting in the room with a total stranger and two hours to come up with a “hit.” I didn’t like many of the songs I co-wrote. I didn’t like the cavalier, formulaic approach I saw. Truth and beauty matter very much to me, and I am not interested in having my name on something I don’t really care about, no matter how much money it could make or doors of "opportunity" it could open.
But everyone else seemed to know how to get it done. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I lighten up?
...I’m too serious...My songs need a day at Disney.
...I overthink and second-guess and miss great opportunities.
...I’m too picky.
...I’m unreasonably unwilling to sacrifice the aspects of life that must be laid aside in order to do this creative work well. I’m also unwilling to sacrifice music to make time to do anything else really well.
...Maybe if I were more intellectual…
...Maybe if I were LESS intellectual…
...Maybe if I considered the market more…?
...Consider the market less…?
...Maybe if I were more dramatic…
...Maybe if I were LESS dramatic…
...Maybe if I reached out more, spent more time online, were more outgoing, followed this or that strategic trend…
And there were more lists for the other arenas of my life.
Unique, But Not the Only One
Recently, I read some texts dealing with work and personality type in the book Do What You Are. Although I'm already doing the work I was born to do, it was highly encouraging to read profiles of other INFPs - how they approach their work, what is important in their work environments, and how they determine the value of their efforts.
My internal response was:
Oh! OH! Wow! There is a name for this! There is a whole truckload full of people who operate this way, with similar strengths and flaws, and we have others like us! We aren’t DOING this, we are merely BEING who we were wired to be.
Maybe…Just because we are all dogs doesn’t mean we are the same breed?
Songwriters are not all of one breed?
All humans/parents/children/women/men/fill-in-the-blank are not of one breed!
One body, many parts! And for those who are hands, not all hands look alike! Those who are voices, each voice is one-of-a-kind! Distinct works “prepared in advance” for us to accomplish. This is not about justifying immoral or harmful behavior with “that’s just the way I am.” This is about celebrating the individual traits that make each of us a uniquely designed creature…and also a unique contributor to our vocational/avocational fields.
Of course, all of this only further illuminates what we have already been told: our worth and beauty originate in the life of Christ whose Light overtakes our darkness and makes us radiant. The Gospel, and not Myers-Briggs, is bread and water for the healthy, fully alive soul.
You are FREE to SHINE in the way HE makes YOU shine. :)
The Job That is Yours
I was reading Bedtime for Frances with the kids and love how Father tells Frances that everyone has a job to do. Even the wind has a job: to go around blowing the curtains at night.
I think I’m figuring out what my job is…and what it is not.
There are certain songs it is MY job to write and deliver to certain people – it may be a small audience, but those songs are my job and not Adele’s job. Adele cannot have my job, and I cannot have hers.
Try that on?
“________________ cannot do what I do, and I cannot do what _________ does. And that is fine, fine, fine.”
Slowly, slowly, creeping through the open cage door, trying my own wings…