Right off the top, I’ve gotta be totally real about myself and declare something:
I have a problem finishing things.
It’s a startling revelation I know, ha! Whether it’s some personality trait I possess or just simply sheer laziness, I struggle with following through with a task to its ending point. Nowhere is this lack of completion more readily apparent than in my songwriting. I love to write songs. I love it when a lyric or melody idea pops in my head and the wheels start turning. I might pick up a guitar or sit down at a piano and just start building something with the new idea. It’s exciting, it’s something fresh and it feels spontaneous and fun. But before long I hit a roadblock somewhere and the writing process becomes less all fun and creativity and more sweat and work. It takes pushing through…maybe finding a better rhyme or a more interesting melody line or a hookier chorus. And because it starts to get challenging, I often stop going any further and just quit.
I can testify that right now that there are literally dozens of journals in my possession that are filled with half-written songs and melodies I don’t think I could recall if you paid me. Similarly, if you go to the voice memos on my phone there are several little ditties and tunes I’ve hummed or plunked out that were the beginning of something, somewhere along the line. I’ve literally recorded ideas into my phone in the Walmart parking lot, walking through an airport, in the bathroom during lunch breaks, or in the middle of the night while my wife is sleeping next to me. This is a glimpse into the crazy that is me.
Here’s the problem with all of this: so many of those unfinished ideas never see the light of day. They might be something beautiful; there might be amazing potential. But my lack of focus and drive keeps them from being more than what they could be.
To me this songwriting business is a metaphor for life. We can all stop short in something just because the ending does not go like we planned. In our fast-food-paced world where we “gotta have it now”, we look for immediate results. Our data is too old if it’s not in real-time. If the line at the ATM is more than one person deep, we ain’t got time for that. And if our food can’t be warmed up in the microwave in less than a minute, we’ll settle for an energy drink and a Power Bar.
We translate all of this into our spiritual lives. We figure God is is somehow not “getting it” when the prayers we pray go unanswered. We are miles ahead of Him and always looking for the next opportunity when God is saying, “Slow down and find your rest in Me. Life will take care of itself. Remember the sparrows?” (Matthew 10:29-31). Bringing it back to songwriting, just as the song needs to be developed and made into something beautiful, so do our lives take time to be made more like His. Don’t rush the process and don’t give up on it either.
1 John 2:6 states: “Whoever abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.” For me that’s a tough verse to swallow right now. I want an easy path and quick answers and I want to be in the place I believe He is preparing me for. I want the song to be written, finished, and ready to be heard.
But there are no short-cuts.
God wants to purify us and take us through the fires of life so that we can become more like Him. In going through those experiences, we focus less on ourselves and God gets all the glory. This is my prayer for myself and for you today. Don’t take the easy path just because it’s the shortest and offers the least amount of difficulty or resistance. Take the path that is narrow and you will find Him there. Press in. Press on. And remember to finish the song.
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