With a single exception, all humans are imperfect. Even that sole Perfect Human was not recognized as such because He did not come in the form, image, and manner His imperfect brothers and sisters expected.

And guess what? Chances are that you may not come in the form, image, or manner that others expect either. Perhaps you aren’t young or photogenic or studied or “Holy” or charismatic or outgoing or [insert adjective here], but you are enough. Your training, investments, and experience have brought you to wherever you are. Your willingness to view risk and adversity as valuable learning tools for growth will be what pushes you forward.

Regardless of what they claim, decision-makers form their opinions about you based not on qualifications, credentials, or a track record, but solely on who they think you are. It can be good in that it invites them to consider more than whatever is on the paper. It can be bad in that they may decide using metrics that have absolutely nothing to do with your fitness for the job or what you may bring to it.

Don’t let that affect your reality.

I learned how to organize, recruit, and direct various ensembles long before I met the pastor who insulted my experience to my face. (My retention rate was far better than his, but that doesn’t matter now.) My degrees in Choral Music Education and Music Theory were hanging on my wall long before I had the job interview with the principal who asked if I could read music after discussing these degrees. (No. Florida A&M University and Indiana University both hand them out from vending machines.) I’ve been directing choirs and teaching sightreading long before the worship leader I had been working with for years intimated I couldn’t read a vocal line on a score.

Regardless of what other people decide about you, you have to know who you are, where you are, and Whose you are. And you have to build from there, not a lesser point. Not a box where they control and they can feel comfortable placing you.

And yes, that may mean reminding people that their experience playing trumpet in a marching band thirty years ago – while awesome for that person – does not qualify them to tell you how to direct a group.

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