Monday, January 28, 2013

The Great Gardener

Last week I planted some sweet onions starting from the bulbs. In one week I have seen incredible growth. It's very interesting how I, their gardener, can look out on them and see how far they've come since I planted them, but observers separated from the process don't see the growth nor feel the excitement like I do. Every time I look out on them I smile because I'm just so elated and tickled by their progress, something which, in return, affirms and encourages me as their gardener.

What incredible insight into our Gardener. When He looks on us He doesn't focus on what we have not yet fully become, but rejoices in the growth that is so very obvious to Him; growth that we are, all too often, oblivious of within ourselves. But God, the Perfect Gardener and our Creator, is so involved in our journey and so pleased at our growth. Size is really not of much consequence to Him. He knows the end result and knowing the end result does not deminish the joy to be had in the journey. I know that in the end I will have an onion, the size of which will be significantly more impressive than the small green shoots that exist now, but it doesn't matter; I am excited to see it becoming an onion. And our Creator is excited to see us becoming who we were meant to be, rejoicing over every "little" growth that makes us who we are.

If we truly understood how our Creator looked on us, how would that change how we live and love? Instead of beating ourselves up everyday over all that we are not, if we learned to delight in the journey and take joy in the growth; what affect would that have? Instead of waiting for what we will become, receiving the blessing of our Creator's pleasure in who we are and how far we have come at that moment in His gaze?

Did you know that to gaze means to look intently and steadily, especially in admiration, surprise or thought? Did you know that's how He looks at you?


Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Voice Audition Experience

Unbeknownst to most, I signed up long ago to audition for The Voice and had since been preparing. My motivation: Why not? I wasn't really hoping to make it onto the show, I was just really curious to see how far I could go and what the whole experience would be like. So here's what it was like:

My audition was at 2pm. We left the house at 6am, got to Atlanta around 11:30 and I was in line by noon. I was really glad I got there early because I was only about 20 feet from the registration table and if I had been any further away, the wait might have killed me. Waiting for registration was the longest process, but it gave you a chance to meet a lot of interesting and talented people. While waiting in line (and even in the bathroom) people were singing, playing guitar, talking, eating; one girl even brought a pillow and was chillin in line. A couple of times one of the staff came round with a megaphone and would give the crowd songs to sing which not too many people joined in on until she requested we all stand and sing the national anthem and then everyone sang. It was an awesome, chilling sound to hear all these talented singers in perfect harmony. And at that the registration was over, we were grouped off into groups of ten, sat down and waited to be called back. When we were called back, we were led to another waiting area, then to another hallway with ten doors each opening up to another room with 10 chairs and a producer- This is where your audition would begin and end. We went in, she called our names at random and we said our name, where we're from and our song and then we sang a verse and a chorus and were done. At the end of everyone singing she politely informed that she needed more time to think about one person, but that she was going to pass on the rest of us and that was it.

Now as for what I enjoyed; I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet so many talented people, the energy of being amongst such creativity was unlike any other. Everyone was so encouraging and supportive of one another, everyone wishing each other good luck and anytime someone came out with a red card (meaning they made it to the second audition) the crowd went wild with applause and congratulations. The coolest part, by far, was as myself and the other 9 were waiting outside the room we were going to audition in one girl turned around and asked if we believed in God and could we pray. So right there in front of the audition room we all circled up and thanked God for the gifts He had given us and the chance to be on a stage for Him. Such a cool experience.

Now obviously I didn't get chosen, or else that would have already been mentioned, but not making it is nothing to be ashamed of. There were 5 people I sang with that had phenomenal voices and even they got passed on. The thing is that you are singing in front of ONE producer and that ONE producer has a certain type they are waiting for and just because you don't fit that mold they are looking for that does not reflect on your talent; a truth which the producers themselves graciously affirmed.

Auditioning was a great experience and I'm so glad that I did it! It will be exciting to see if anyone that I got to meet made it to the blind auditions, and if so I'll be rooting for them. Auditioning also made me remember why I love music. I didn't really enjoy the added competition factor into the art I so love. I love music because it's an avenue for me to pour out through and in so doing, be filled. It's not about being the best, fitting the mold, or being popular or sought after; it's about loving the art and so blessing through it.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

This Present Gift

I'm always confused, rather disturbed, by Christians who speak resentfully of the earth; saying things such as, "This world has nothing for me." To which my reply is, "Then why did He put you here, I wonder?"

We've grown up with teachings telling us to live for heaven, store up your treasures in heaven, you weren't made for this earth, don't focus on this life- focus on the life to come, etc.

The teachings of course are good-intended and can be traced back to the Bible, but the Bible is full of balance and part of the scale here, I feel, is missing.

The earth is far more than your in-between, your purgatory. I think it is even far more than a training ground. It is our world. And put the emphasis on our. It is our present and, as such, it is a gift.

Have you seen this place?! Have you seen the beauty that has been planted here?! The first thing we learn about when we open our Bible is about God as Creator. We see the care and the creativity He put into making this beautiful planet we so take for granted. God said, "It is good." and we say, "Not good enough."

Are we so arrogant as to resent, or even despise, the earth that our God created? And if it is a training ground then do you really think that your attitude toward it is not being taken note of? Oughtn't we to love the things He loves and hate the things He hates? Oughtn't we to care for the things He cares for and has thusly entrusted to us?

Why did He put you here? Was it simply to do and to wait? Or was it to be?

Just a thought.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sacred Speakings

In 1Samuel 19 Saul begins his trail of attempts at killing David, his enemy. At one point David flees to the prophet Samuel and hides with him until Saul gets word of David's whereabouts and he seeks him there.

Here's the scene: David and Samuel are at a place called Ramah with a company of prophets. Saul sends messengers to capture David. When they come close they see a company of prophets prophesying and the Spirit of God comes upon them and they too prophesied. Saul finds out and sends another group of messengers. Same thing happens. Saul sends a third group- same thing happens, they all prophesied. So what does Saul do? Well if you want something done right you do it yourself; right? Right. So he goes. And what happens? The Spirit of God comes upon him and he stripped off his clothes, laid naked all day and night, and prophesied.

God's presence so powerful that men sent, ultimately, for destruction are overcome by it and prophesy. God's presence so powerful that enemies prophesy.

Have you ever noticed how people like to divide and classify what is sacred and what is secular? And by so dividing they give God an allotment of what He may speak to them through. Because if God is only in the music deemed sacred, then there's no business listening to the music deemed secular...because He's not they might say.

What we have done by creating this man-made divide of sacred and secular is that we have deafened ourselves from hearing more, blinded ourselves from seeing more, and handicapped ourselves from experiencing more.

Everything is sacred.

And if we, God's people, carry His presence in us then oughtn't our life and daily interactions with the world take on the happenings of 1Samuel 19? Where all that approached prophesied? If we carry His presence in our comings and goings, that means that everything we approach has the ability to speak to us and to prophesy. The graffiti on the wall, the dying oak, the Muslim, the drunk on the corner, the rap on the radio, the toy isle in the store, a cold cup of coffee....

Do you believe His presence is powerful enough to speak through anything? Even the things that disgust you, anger you, and even hurt you?

There are millions of things out there prophesying, even the rocks and trees cry out. Will you listen? Will you approach? Or will you limit yourself to your segregation? You decide.