vocation

Trying My Own Wings

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?

Myers-Briggs...So Interesting

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 thought:

...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.”

Beautiful even.

Slowly, slowly, creeping through the open cage door, trying my own wings…

Where deep gladness and deep hunger meet...

It’s obvious she has the bug.  She is 6 and can’t keep from it.   Small brown fingers push the sound from the ivory and I watch her do what I do.

Play.  Evaluate.  Try a new way.  Repeat.  Build a pattern, wonder where it must go next.

She is emotive.  Sometimes loud.  Often tragic (her favorite song being Taylor Swift’s “Love Story”).

She pulls words from the air as she goes.

”Wheeeeeeeeen will you coooooooooooome, will we eeeeeeeeever be togeeeeeeeeeether agaa-aa-aain…”

Then suddenly she sweeps into a rhythmic dance number, shoulders pulsing as she pounds and sings lyrics that may or may not match:

“Jesus, you died, uh-huh, you died for us, Jesus, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah!!”

I say:  I love this, but you really need to practice your lessons now.

Swiveling toward me on the bench, her smile and eyes light up like fireworks: “But I LOVE it!!!!  It’s SO MUCH FUN making up songs!!!!”

I can’t stop my grin, overjoyed to have this in common with her.  To hear her say it out loud, the feeling I know so exactly.  It is SO MUCH FUN.

I’d choose songwriting over many things.  I’d choose a day at the piano over a day at the pool.  And I like the pool.

I'm still finishing Paula Rinehart’s book, Better Than My Dreams, which I can’t recommend highly enough to every woman I know.  In it she quotes Frederick Buechner:

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness

and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

I knew early on where my deep gladness was, but I did not know it would intersect anyone’s hunger.

Have you seen the intersection? Realize how you have been asked to participate in bringing food to the poor in body and in spirit?

We're like the disciples of Jesus who saw 5,000 hungry people but had no idea how to feed them.  They forgot, like we forget, that it all begins, not with what we have, but with what the Father has.

And what He has is the power (and desire) to make a feast of our crumbs.

We cannot satisfy anyone.  He will satisfy.

Our part is to run like children with the kite of “deep gladness” we feel when we do what we were designed to do.