Monday, September 23, 2013

Getting over it

...sort of...

Rejection sucks. I know. It's one of my things. A lifetime of rejection has left me feeling...uhm, rejected? (I'm a really good writer.) It's affected my relationships and my friendships and my internal dialogue. It's affected the way I think and the way I react and ultimately the way I worship. 

So imagine my reaction when my friend and worship team compatriot decided to leave the church over theology issues. I was...nonplussed. I was insulted. I was angry.

(See what I did there?)

I have father issues, in case you didn't read any of the eight years of posts on my old blog, and one of the biggest was rejection. So now, I (incorrectly) see it in every sideways look, every non-response, every negative answer. Anytime I'm left out of a conversation or joke, anytime I miss out on anything, anytime someone gets a job instead of me, my old insecurities flare up. In my mind, these people are willingly making a decision about who I am as a person or worker or leader, or they are making choices about my life based what they think about me personally. In my mind.

My problem is, I do annoy people. Not all the time, but it's there. And I'm so insecure that I notice the eyerolls and the head shakes because I'm constantly looking for them. Which makes it worse. I don't know how to not care. 

So anyway, this guy decided that his "theological concerns" were more important than the relationships he had cultivated over the past five years and left to find a church that would tell him exactly what he wanted to hear. (Can you tell I'm a little upset about it?) And actually, I get it. That's kinda the point of denominations. Worship with like-minded people, with people who like to worship the way you like to worship. Only, this guy likes to rock out and his new church doesn't do that. And this guy is a total nut who likes to goof off, and his new church is very serious. I don't know these things about his church, mind you. I'm just speculating. To make myself feel better.

What I know is that, relationships were very serious to my friend and he just...dropped them. Well, not exactly. Actually he spent the first five months after he left calling all of us every night to hang out. Until his wedding, where five guys from our church were his groomsmen. After his wedding, we've not really heard from him. 

What would I say to him if I were able to handle confrontation? I'd say, "dude you were wrong. Your theology is flawed but that's not even the worst part. The worst part is you let your theology become more important than your friends and your community. You constantly seek out arguments under the guise of theological debate. You left for a bad reason. You're a great guy and you've done a bad thing badly and left a lot of people in your wake.

And I'm no different."

My stuff has consequences, too. People are affected by what I do. Especially for someone in my position, who has a lot of influence and a lot of visibility in the church. Someone who has the opportunity to make things happen. My choices, my mistakes, affect people. I'm a staff worship leader, a band leader, a home group leader, partial leader of a second home group, and I'm in a relationship. There is no chance that my dumb choices don't hurt at least one person on any given day. Maybe mine aren't so visible as leaving the church, but are affective nonetheless. (Yes, I made up affective.) (Or DID I?)

So, I've had to learn to put down my feelings of rejection and hurt, of anger and resentment and my need for some sort of emotional vengeance and realize that my friend was trying to make the best decision for him and his fiance, and despite thinking he made the wrong decision, I know he prayed about it and talked about it with multiple people, and did his best. And he loves the Lord and the Lord loves him, and in the paraphrased words of John Wimber, we'll get to heaven and realize all of our theology was wrong somehow and just laugh. 

In the meantime, when he finally calls me up and tells me he wants to hang out and watch Fringe, I will gladly accept and go pick up some pizza and spend time with my friend. And it will be alright. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dealing with jerkholes and praising the Lord

Being a leader blows chunks. Seriously.

The end.

Oh. Well. I guess I'll write some more.

It really wouldn't be so bad if I weren't leading people. They* are the issue. They have all these "problems" and "needs" and "desires" and "children." Why can't they all just do everything I want and be at my beck and call? BLURG!

Well, okay, it's really not that bad. I love my team. I LOVE them. They are a great bunch of people that love and serve and live their lives. Yeah, sometimes they show up late and ignore my emails and do things incorrectly and break equipment and badmouth me and complain and forget they are supposed to be playing or running sound that morning, but so what! Ugh. Okay. Maybe I need to work through some of this.

There are some folks that are constantly late. And I get frustrated. I mean, I am the "Angry Worship Leader." But also, I'm very passive-aggressive. Instead of saying something, I just don't talk or make snide remarks. I'm a real gem, I know. I print them out a schedule and email them a schedule, and most weeks I also send an email to the team for the week. Ususally, when I send the weekly email, they are there. On time. Hmm.

Another thing that drives me insane is when people never respond to my emails. I mean ever. I try to plan the schedule out ahead of time, and they never respond and then ask to change the schedule all around after I've already published it. Ugh. I mean, I'm usually doing the schedule at the last minute, so they have PLENTY of time to let me know when they can sing or play. Ohp. Wait. That's me again. I just heard it. Moving on.

I especially love it when people complain. I mean, most everyone on the team (sound and visual folks included) only have to serve 1-2 times per month, but they act like I'm making them work 9-5, 6 days a week. I mean, I NEVER complain. Ever. Never ever...ever...


So, between my inconsistency and my bad attitude and my lack of communication, I'm creating an environment that is breeding inconsistency and bad attitudes and lack of communication. It's almost like being a good leader is crucial to creating a healthy atmosphere that invites worship. Who knew THAT?

I try so hard to be organized and patient and communicatey. But I let my emotions have control. When I don't spend enough time giving it to the Lord in prayer or praying for my people, or working on my communication and leadership, it shows. It also shows when I am doing those things, because usually when I do those things well, then I almost never have a problem. Good lesson, self!

Bottom line, it's hard for my worship and service team to serve and praise the Lord when they have to deal with a jerkhole leader. Get it together, Steed!

*Note: I embellished some of my issues for the sake of this blog post. My team is awesome and could most likely beat your team at anything. Except Cornhole. They suck at Cornhole.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Here's a link to one of the best things I ever wrote. I did a lot of digging into my life for this, and I thought I'd share it here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Running and Jesus and Life

I am a runner. Despite my rather large size and round shape, I love running and so far I've had a minor accomplishment in my running career. Namely, there's a 13.1 sticker on my car window and I didn't lie or cheat or anything. The accomplishment of literally reaching a new milestone is utterly enriching, and it keeps me going. That and the occasional runner's high that I get. Whoo boy.

This morning's run was really good. Killer weather abounded today. It was sunny, but very cool and no humidity. I was wearing one of my fancy new sweat wicking shirts, and since I've been dieting the last two weeks, I was feeling sleek and fast. It's been a while since I went for a run, but since we were talking about doing another half-marathon yesterday, I figured I better get a move on. Since the weather was good, I was feeling good, I had the day off and some free time before Scrabble, I got excited. I was anticipating it. And it did not let me down.

I run in intervals. Thanks to instruction from the best trainer ever, I expertly pull off the run/walk combo. It's probably why I don't hate running right now, a year-and-a-half after I first started. My run 9/walk 1 combo this morning was perfect. I made decent time, I felt good, I never dragged, I never faltered, and most importantly I never gave up. My 2.25 miles was awesome (don't laugh, that's pretty good for me right now), and I felt on top of the world. Four minutes from the end, I thought to myself "I can't wait to get back out here and run again." And then I started flashing back.

I thought back to all the miles I've put on that canal trail. All the sweat. All the spit. All the blood. The couple of times I've freaked out when I saw snakes. The multiple "away toilet" situations I've encountered there. I've said "I can't wait to get back out here and run again," but I've far more often said, "WHAT THE EFF AM I DOING THIS IS STUPID I HATE THIS BLURG I'M NEVER RUNNING AGAIN HEY LOOK A TURTLE." In fact, I'm pretty sure the ratio is about 10:1. It took me another minute or so, but I realized that I wanted to come again because this run was going so well. And that's odd. Usually, you hit a point where you want to give up, you want to stop and walk, and you have to talk yourself into pushing on. And when you do, the feeling almost always passes. But on the rare occasion that your run is going perfectly, you feel like a pro and you want to do it over and over again. 

Now for the Jesus juke:

Faith is like this. It's easy, for me anyway, to be excited about serving, about leading worship, about running after the Lord when everything is going well. It's easy to show my face at staff meetings when I've got my crap together. It's easy to relax when I've had my worship set ready for a few days and had a great practice and everyone was on time and the sound system doesn't mess up. It's easy to meet with my accountability partners when I haven't done anything stupid lately. Unfortunately, that's almost never the case for me. 

Your relationship with Lord parallels with your earthly relationships. At times it's all champagne and kittens and double rainbows, and at other times it is...not...those...things. You have to make a choice. I'm sure you've looked at your spouse at times and said "You're being a real juicebag, but I still love you and I'm pursuing you no matter what." Following Jesus has been easy when I've been doing the stuff, but getting back on the path after falling off for a few weeks is hard. Like in running. You don't want to get out of bed. You don't want to drive to the canal. You want to just take a three mile walk instead of running. And walking is not bad, but that's not what you're there for. Going through the motions, chasing feelings, all that stuff is just walking. At best. That's not what you're there for, and you're missing out on the best God has for you. 

It's easy to quote Hebrews 12:1 and make the running reference. It's harder to quote James 1:2-4, because that takes work. Pushing through the blerch takes perseverance. And if there's anything I want, it's to be mature and complete. (Seriously, that verse has layers, man.)

All that to say, self, is that it's way easier to go out and do it every day. Maybe at some point I'll actually learn that. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

New Direction

I thought about naming this The Depressed, Overweight, Bipolar, Impatient, Introverted Worship Leader. But it wasn't as catchy.

I was also thinking about Patrick the Very Worst Worship Leader, and Jamie even said she wouldn't mind (and kinda made fun of me), but I didn't want to go that way.

So here it is. I'm sure I'll change the name a dozen times. But I wanted a place where I can talk about how hard it is to serve as a public figure in a church while not being a type A, organized dude. About how to bring people to the throne when you hate people most days. About allowing God's grace and presence to work and move in you despite all your crushing shortcomings.

I've been doing things incorrectly for a long time, so I know what to tell you NOT to do. And starting with THIS SENTENCE, I'm not going to beat myself up while doing it.

I had my old blog for 8 years or so, and frankly I just couldn't keep it going. I got tired of writing about myself. I may move a few of my more recent posts over here, some good stuff that I think would fit with the purpose of this one. I get the sads reading back over my old posts. Tired of that. Ready to use my powers for good.

Okay then.

I'll throw up some good links of some blogs that I love.