Return from Exile #2: Trust

As I said in my last entry, the main focus of this series is about moving forward. My “first steps” in doing so were actually taken this past May, once I was somewhat confident I could work and worship outside my house without the undue risk of COVID-19 striking my household. Seven months and a booster shot later, I’m still out and about, although that sense of security has waned a bit with the cases spiking again. At this point, I think this “status quo” is the best I’m going to expect out of humanity.

The end of the article briefly touched on my current trust issues. After the burn I had last year, I’m choosing to be pretty damn slow, deliberate, and quiet. I was attending services and leading worship for months before I ever said anything publicly. Even now, when I go to worship in the pews, I generally stay quiet. I’m not going there to be seen; I’m not going there to tell the world to “Look at me and admire how I’m being a wonderful church-going Christian.” I’m there because I am in desperate need of Jesus. Nothing more; nothing less.

These days, I refuse to submit my faith to the approval of others who aren’t Jesus. The awesomeness of my Baptism five years ago was a bit scuffed when people were questioning its authenticity to my face before my swimming trunks were even dry. So… Sorry if this hurts, but… I’m not doing any of this for you.

Yeah… I really need to buy another pair of shoes…

I don’t care if you approve or not. I don’t care what you think of my perceived level of holiness. I don’t care what you think of my authenticity. I don’t care if you don’t think I deserve anything. Fuck… Where it comes to my faith, I just don’t care what you think. You aren’t Jesus. You don’t get a say in my relationship with Him.

If I come across as a bit guarded, it is because I am. This is with full recognition that being constantly on-guard is not an emotionally healthy place to be. I am in the process of rebuilding my ability to trust. I am in the process of rebuilding my ability to trust myself.

Trust has risks. You can be burned, just as I was. I can’t remember who, but someone said “If you have never been taken advantage of, then shame on you, because that means you haven’t done anything of consequence.” You better be damn sure who you choose to trust. I don’t trust the world. I don’t trust most of you.

I do, however, trust God. If anything, I’ve learned more over the past year and a half about how to trust God. I’m not perfect at it. I’m not even good at it. Yet, I know He has me. And I trust Him when He says “Keep going forward.”

I said in my last series that I was completely done with music ministry. Well… That turned out to be false. I tried. God wouldn’t let me. People were reaching out to me before anyone even knew I was leaving the house again. (Seriously… How did you guys know? I didn’t post a thing!) In this season, I’ve been traveling around to different churches, taking care of many of those who took care of me. It has actually been really fun, although I know it can’t last for the simple reason that I can’t afford it. Exactly what that means, I am not sure.

One of the great things about this past season has been getting to see a bit more of what other worship leaders/directors/pastors have been dealing with. I don’t claim to be perfect, but I know my shit. What I don’t know, I know how – and take the time – to find out. There’s something to be said for 40 years at the piano, two music degrees, over 25 years directing musicians in what seems like 5000 genres, and perfect pitch. I know how to put shit together and I know how to run it. Not everyone has – or even needs – my background to do it. It can save them a hell of a lot of time and energy if they did have it.

This is not directed at any specific people, however if you feel convicted, maybe we need to have a talk…

Pastors, if you genuinely want that part of the equation to improve, you need to seriously consider whether you are adequately resourcing (logistically, financially, spiritually, etc.) and supporting the people you’ve charged with directing THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT ISSUED FROM GOD HIMSELF. You need to consider whether you are really taking it seriously, going through the motions, or just putting on an act for everyone else so they think you are.

Remember David and the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite? Is your sacrifice of worship/praise really worth anything if it costs you nothing? Are you making sure your leaders have what they need to do the best job they can? Or are you just trying to get it done as cheaply and effortlessly as possible and burning out your people in the process?

Leaders, are you taking your charge seriously? Are you working on the musical skills you use or are you just calling it in? Are you giving your people direction? Are you coaching them? Do they have what they need to do the jobs you ask them to do? Are you recruiting? (If you are ever NOT recruiting, then you are trash. You should always be recruiting.) Have you prioritized recruiting enough people so that everything doesn’t always sit on the same folks? Have you spent time working on the operations and administrative side? Do you actually prepare before you rehearse?

Again… This isn’t directed at any specific people, but if you feel convicted, then maybe we need to have a talk… Even if there is something you want to do and don’t know how to do, maybe we need to have a talk.

As for me… I have at best an idea where things may be headed. Maybe I’m wrong; it happens. It’s just a hunch, but I acknowledge that there is not a thing I can do to push it along. Absolutely nothing is in my hands. If you think that just means I’m sitting around waiting to be called up, then you never knew me at all. Sometimes – most times, really – the best thing is to just show up wherever God wants you while He does the rest of the work. Trusting God is not easy, but it pays better dividends than anything I’ve done for myself.

Peace out,

TKP
12/15/21

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