My Certificate of Authenticity...AKA: Mistakes

I want to be better - add more complexity to my music, think up more exciting ways to play a familiar song, and have higher accuracy with fewer stinker notes! But I'm not "better" I'm where I am: stuck playing melodies or two-part harmonies for this year's Christmas list. Just hoping I don't hit a half-step off on this culture's most famous songs...yeah no pressure. I've been working hard at Christmas tunes and ironically ended up booking what will likely be my biggest gig at the very beginning of the season (tomorrow). It's been tough to hold off the negative thoughts. But I have held them off and I know they are not the truth. There's a part of me that wants to hold back for a few more months and just give up on the Christmas music and focus on something fresh that I can dive into and perfect before sharing, but then I had a perspective change. It's been stewing for awhile but it clicked this morning...

In life we go through our days and celebrate our successes while we try to cover up the failures. We pretend everything's ok when it's not. We slap a smile on and talk about the weather and close our hearts off to the very people who could encourage us. This happens a lot at work and at church where there's so much pressure to have your s*** together. I've let that creep into my musical habits. I started thinking though about the wonderful relationships I've formed at church and how we're really making an effort to take off the mask and be real - flaws and all. I help lead a life group and encourage transparency. Doug and I have led a marriage course and encourage honesty and openness. It dawned on me that it would be hypocritical to live this way and then try to be flawless with music. We're used to listening to perfect recordings that require hours of studio time and production: it's wonderful art, but it's not raw. It's like looking at the supermodel's body in the magazine and then comparing it to my own - of course her body looks great: it's her job and she's got a whole staff of people that support her in producing the final product that ends up in that magazine...but it's not how she looks at the end of the day when she drives home.

Live music is like the supermodel going home without all the makeup and I'm finally learning that - in my heart. What changed? The thought that I'm acting like the person that just says "yeah, I'm fine" when I'm not. I'm a pretty open person and don't worry too much about holding back and that needs to be consistent in music too. One thing that has helped is all the encouragement Doug and I have received. "Words of affirmation" is probably the love language I need the least but for some reason it's really sinking in lately. Sometimes it's not even directed at me! - I've had an "ah-ha" moment recently watching another musician and reading comments that they receive while doing live Facebook performances. Even at a professional level mistakes happen and the fans are SO forgiving and encouraging. Watching this has really taught me that music does make a difference, it does make people feel good, even when there's mistakes. That finally sank in. What's more is that all the encouragement and support this musician is now receiving would never have happened without the raw transparency of a live performance. People are craving it these days and they eat up "genuine" like it's a pizza buffet - and they (we) should!...fake doesn't make for good relationships and as a Christian it sure doesn't help spread the Gospel message.

So, I have a LONG way to go before I even have to start battling pride about how talented I am, but I do have confidence now. Not in my abilities though, but in knowing that NOW is the time to be real and that a few more months of practice isn't worth the sacrifice of today's opportunities. I will always be better tomorrow, but I can never live there - I'm only in the present and that's what I have to work with. So I will practice as hard and smart as I can and then go give some great performances. They will be raw. They will have mistakes. But I'll keep going. Even if some folks don't care for it perhaps one message will come across: be real and don't wait for perfection before you take a leap, otherwise life will be over. The world needs more raw, genuine people and I'm going to lead by example. (So I apologize in advance if that last line from your favorite Christmas tune goes sour!!)

2 comments

  • Donna

    Donna Indiana

    "Don't wait for perfection before you take a leap or life will be over." Preach it! I love the way you dive in big time. I've been concerned about how much I am on my phone and not living in NOW with my kids. I need to take this concern of mine seriously or "life will be over". Excellent blog Sarah!

    "Don't wait for perfection before you take a leap or life will be over."
    Preach it!
    I love the way you dive in big time.
    I've been concerned about how much I am on my phone and not living in NOW with my kids. I need to take this concern of mine seriously or "life will be over".
    Excellent blog Sarah!

  • Resonate150

    Resonate150

    Thanks Donna! - the phone though, for real! I totally struggle with that!

    Thanks Donna! - the phone though, for real! I totally struggle with that!

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