I think it was better when music was purely a hobby. It’s gotten too complicated, with questions about what I’m going to do with my supposed talents, how I see music playing a part in my life in the future, etc etc. Important questions, perhaps, in some ways, but in others, they’re just distractions.
The rain is falling outside, cruelly, on this supposed Spring day. We’re told to expect snow in the near future. So much has changed from those days when not a day passed without me picking up my guitar at least once. I kept one guitar in class in school, and another at home. I’d play a song in between classes, take requests, get called over to the next class… That was my identity – the girl with the guitar. The musician. It was always “Debbie and her guitar”.
Being the insecure person that I was and very much still am, I always experienced a duality of emotion in response to that. I enjoyed it, on the one hand – I was happy doing what I was doing, making music both for myself and others, bringing smiles to their faces with a few simple chords. But on the other hand, I was never fully comfortable with that. Who was I to play this role? Why me? Surely there are other, more worthy contesters. I don’t think I ever resolved that.
When I came to college, that identity was gone. I’ve never been one to push myself on others. In a sense, I guess it’s like… Who am I? I don’t know, you tell me. (Are you hearing those alarm bells go off? Yeah, me too. But anyway, we’ll get to that in a bit.) So here I was, no longer The Musician, no longer The Girl With the Guitar. Just one in a sea of faces. For awhile, in the beginning, I just kept to myself, wrote a couple of songs, hiding out in my room. I got involved in the worship ministry here, and somehow managed to sing my way into Exit69. And that’s been good, but I still feel like something’s missing.
I am always hesitant to talk about this sort of thing with people, and if you are like most Christian musicians, you would understand why. People make such a big deal out of, “How are you using your musical talents for God? How are you glorifying Him?” The problem is not the question – it’s an important one, which needs an answer. But oftentimes, they are looking for a specific answer, that being serving in the worship team in church. Singing about God. Explicitly. Using it to share the Gospel. Those are all good things, but I honestly don’t think that’s all there is to it. I think there are more options and possibilities.
Music is art. It stems from creativity. Guess who’s the Master of that? Try the Guy who created this universe that we live in. We don’t hesitate to agree that trees, flowers, nature in general reflects God’s glory. Do they have “GLORY TO GOD” or “JESUS LOVES YOU” stamped across their trunks and stems and leaves? Metaphorically, sure. But literally? Explicitly? No. So why do we impose those standards on music, and other forms of art? Art is not good because people say it is good. It is good based on its creator, on the work that went into it. If you’re making good art, with the creativity that God has given you, I think you’re glorifying God.
Sure, some are called to use their artistic talents to point to God in a more explicit way, but not everyone. We need to stop thinking they are better than those of us whose creations don’t scream in your face, “JESUS LOVES YOU”.
I’m not sure why I’m ranting about this. I don’t think that was my intention. I only intended to lament the loss of pure enjoyment of something good created by God. I guess these things I’m ranting about have played a part in that.
God’s given me a talent. That, I know. I will continue to use it in the Church. If that’s all He wants me to do, I will be content with that. But there is so much more to music. It is not just a tool, a medium, a means to facilitate worship. And it is the loss of that appreciation that I am lamenting. I don’t think I can be a minister of music without enjoying music.
Okay, I’m sort of rambling here. Sigh. I need people to challenge and inspire me musically. But they’re miles away from me. I’m definitely looking forward to going home…