Sunday, October 17, 2010
*This is a transmission from Songwriter Nerd Camp, intended for fellow songwriter nerds. If you are not one of us, kindly ignore this post and carry on.*
We often refer to Write About Jesus as a family and that is truly what it is. And in the family of WAJ, we all enter at different stages of songwriting life. Many hear of WAJ very early on in their writing careers and are just babies when they first don the orange lanyard, others are seasoned veterans who have cut their teeth elsewhere and show up at WAJ as fully developed, functional family members. I, however, along with many of my favorite people at WAJ, came in somewhere around the 7th grade with braces and pimples, awkward and insecure. That was six years ago, and for some reason this year I looked around and realized that we truly have grown up at WAJ, like the title of the panel that I missed. Like a senior class in cap and gown, I look at the people I have walked alongside in this journey and I see the growth and maturity that only time can bring, yet still knowing that we have so much more to learn.
On the way to the airport for departure, Sean and I talked about what it means to “arrive” in songwriting. I am so glad we had that conversation, because one of the biggest things I took home this year was the understanding that, unless I redefine for myself the concept of arrival, it will always remain just out of reach. So perhaps there are multiple arrivals along the way. Perhaps I have arrived in many ways even this year. Maybe I have “arrived” when....
….I can relate to people for who they are and not what they can do for me.
When I can write not to impress a particular person but to excel in my craft for my joy and God's glory.
When I can sit in a 2 hour writing session and not get beyond a first verse, but leave neither irritated nor discouraged because I have built a relationship with another like-minded brother or sister in Christ.
When I am on the spot and I am able to stop my heart from pounding out of my chest in that moment by saying to myself “my worth is in Christ..... my worth is in Christ...” because I truly believe it.
When I can step back and look at my life and realize that I am in fact living my dream. The moments of discontent come because, for some sick reason, I continually push my dream out of reach rather than enjoy where I am and thank the Lord for His blessing. I'm all for challenging myself and pressing onward, but I have found that if my motivation for pushing harder is void of joy, or has any root in bitterness or jealously or an arrogant sense of entitlement, then songwriting has become an idol that I must hasten to pull down.
It's funny as I look at that list and see that none of them have anything to do with the craft itself. And isn't that what they've been trying to tell us all along? It's about relationships. I guess they know that they're talking about. They who have guided us so patiently through our fumbling adolescent years of slow discovery. They are more than mentors, because WAJ is more than a conference. It is like a family, and they are like parents, giving generously at their own expense, reaching down to pull us up, and hopefully experiencing the joy and fulfillment that comes from seeing the fruit of their sacrifice. To them, I want to say thank you for your rich investment in us. Because very few people arrive anywhere without someone first showing them the way.