This week we travelled down to Jacksonville, FL and then up to Statesboro, GA for our 6th and 7th shows of the tour. Unfortunately, Carly could not join us in Jacksonville but made up for it when she knocked it out of the park in Statesboro. This was a great time for many reasons, but one was that our friends Drew and Cole got to come along for the ride. We left Athens around 7AM Wednesday morning and were at the beach by 3. Even our short time at the beach was so life-giving. We threw the frisbee, swam and went 'whale' watching. The beach was hard, flat, and massive, so we were able to run and throw long tosses like it was a football field.
I am reading the daily devotional version of "Emotionally Healthy Spiritually," a book written by Peter Scazzero that has been a game changer for my spiritual journey. Something that this book has challenged me to do is spend 2 minutes of silence before God before doing anything else in my day. I tried this on the beach while the boys were swimming and realized just how little time I make for God. Two minutes felt like an eternity... It's so easy to fill our lives with stuff, even stuff for God, and not even make time to listen, reflect and be open to how He is moving. I have made a practice of sitting on my porch first thing in the morning for 2 minutes before driving off to do whatever errands or tasks are in that day. Something about this quick acknowledgement centers my spirit and brings me peace. I hope to keep it up.
The show in Jacksonville that night was sweet. It was awesome to see where Zac is from and to meet his folks and family. They are wonderful people. I told Zac, that I thought it was his best show yet. He was in it. At first when we walked in, everyone was either studying, reading or playing some kind of board game. But by the the end of the night, folks were listening. It is so encouraging to meet people for the first time and feel like they are connecting to your story.
After the show we got some beers and played basketball at the beach. It was one of the most fun times I can remember.
The next morning we drive two and a half hours north to play Statesboro to one of my favorite communities I've ever met. It was full of life, God and goodness. Phil Klayman, the owner encouraged us after our sets to continue sharing our stories. I have caught a little road cold, but I went for it anyway. My throat feels like fire. We say our goodbyes and make the trek back to Athens to pull in around 1:30AM. I stayed up to about 3 writing, reflecting. After these things its hard to sleep for me. I feel so alive and want to capture everything I'm experiencing.
We are taking a break next week. I am currently en route to Nashville to be a part of a project called Common Hymnal... a cross-cultural, multi-facetted, underground worship movement that is seeking to present the gospel, truth, and a real-life Jesus. A Jesus who cares about race, abuse, equality, and justice. I am totally on board with this. I'll be in Nashville making this record all week.
Extra Credit: I'm gonna start dropping the extra credits at the end. Little nuggets of what I am learning each week as we continue on the adventure of playing music to anyone we can. My extra credit for this week is this: First love. When you first love something, you love that thing. In this case, for me it was music. It was God. music to express a first love for God and who He was becoming to me. Along the way, I have wavered. I began to love the extremities. I fell in love with what music could do for me. How it could make me be perceived a certain way. How it made me special. How it made me worthy of other people's love. How, maybe if I was good enough at it, people would sit around in their homes and talk about me. I began to love what worship could do for me: Knowing so-and-so, writing with such-and-such, leading with who-and-who, playing at where-and-where, leading x number of people, being called "anointed." These things have been my identity at times. I have felt like, if I couldn't play music or lead worship, then I added no value to the world. But something so beautiful is happening that I realized this week as we continued to play our shows. As I have gotten up to play, I find that as each show goes on, I care less and less about who is in the room. I have stopped counting the people coming in the door. I have stopped anxiously staring at my watch wondering when people are going to show up. I haven't cared about being applauded or being seen as special, desirable, or other-worldly-talented... I've just. played. and I love it in a way I never have before. Somehow, some way... music has been surgically removed from my identity. Separate. I don't know exactly when it happened...but I feel like God turned the light on and revealed the things that mattered. It's just something I like to do and the vehicle I feel like God has given me to send some good down into the Earth. So now, I've found I close my eyes and play for myself. Not in the self-glorifying way, but in a way that is just thankful and proud of every little show - each show being a tiny victory flag planted over my own story. It's the deep reward. It's my first love. I love music again. and while I always have, I got off track. Which I'm leaning is ok. I love music again because it no longer can give me what I need. It is free to be what it is - a means to expression and life. A mere vehicle for my life, not my life itself. Pursue the deep reward. Do things for God and do things for the sake of Love being re-centered in our lives. Do your thing, don't become your thing and be content in the deep reward.
Love - Andrew