Monday, September 20, 2010

Slow Down - Updated 9/28/10

I work really well under pressure - especially when it comes to writing and arranging. When I was at Montevallo, I took part in our school's homecoming show - College Night. Each year, the university divides itself into "purple" and "gold," and each side writes its own musical. Students are recruited to write a script, act, stage-manage, play an instrument, buy snacks, etc (I met my wife during College Night - she was the hot stage manager). I was the composer for the "gold" side my junior and senior year. I didn't really have time to write 7 or 8 chorus pieces, but somehow I cranked them out (all while balancing preparation for major junior and senior piano recitals). I wrote on various themes from love songs, to aliens (the outer-space kind), to Cognac. I had the neat experience of pulling something out of the air, trying it out, revising it, trying it again, and ultimately performing it with a full cast. For the experience and skill level I was at, I think I did a pretty good job. I learned in those 2 years that writing and arranging for vocalists and choirs was something I was good at.

There are times in my job where I get to function like I did during College Night. We have big Christmas & Easter concerts at St. Andrews, and even though I can spread out my planning and arranging, there's always that sense of urgency to get it done. Or, on a weekly basis, there may be a change in sermon text, and I have a good song for the choir to sing, but no music. I write it out and print it as quickly as possible so I can teach it by Wednesday night. God's given me the ability to function like this...when it's necessary.

When it's necessary? The follow-up question should come naturally. Should all of my life be a rush? No. I need to slow down sometimes. Sometimes I get so used to the rush of cranking out a new arrangement that EVERYTHING I do becomes that way. Hurry up and plan the music for this Sunday so I can start charting. Hurry up and get the songs ready for the bulletin so I can start on another Christmas tune. Hurry up and do the dishes so I can watch tv...while working toward a deadline is fun, my whole life doesn't need to be a deadline. Sometimes it's good to say to myself, "Self - this is what you're working on right now, and whatever is supposed to come next will come when this is finished," or "hey you, slow down with that dishwashing so you don't find crusted food on the side of your plate next time you eat." Maybe all of this is because I tend to miss the forest for the trees. Maybe some of you are like that.

God has a calling for each of us. He holds our lives in his hands. If that's true, then what's the rush? Just do what He's called you to do. Don't live your life in fear of not getting it all done, but trust that your Caller is in control and that He will enable you to fulfill what He's called you to do. "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow has enough trouble of its own. Today's troulbe is enough for today." -Jesus

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