Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - A Visit From My Past Self

Over the past year, Gerald and I have both read "The War of Art" and "Turning Pro" by Steven Pressfield. If you're a musician or artist of any kind, these books need to be required reading, with a pen for taking notes. Pressfield identifies the Artist's greatest enemy as Resistance. Resistance can take many forms, including procrastination, distraction, or negative friends. Once identified, we learn how to overcome Resistance to make our Art.

These books have been, and continue to be, transformational for us this year. Transitioning from staff worship leaders to full-time touring artists has been rife with challenges. How do we book enough dates? How do we balance finances? Do we hire people or do everything in-house? How do we balance creative and business time? Can we afford to record? Can we afford not to?

I was searching for an old blog post this week, when I randomly read my post from Saturday, August 13, 2005. On this day, I had recently returned from my life-changing trip to Nashville. For two weeks, I had been drilled by skilled teachers in performance, songwriting, and music theory. I had said "Yes" to God's calling to transform my life from Performer to Gospel Singer (not even quite knowing what that meant...) But now I was back at home, where the distractions of life and planning a wedding were swimming around me. Resistance was ready to meet me at the front door, waiting to steer me off the path of my new "Yes"...

"I am now in the phases of 'real work'. I no longer have the school's schedule or Allison Durham Speer or Daryl Williams to push and inspire me. This is the tough part of achieving your dreams. The infamous follow-through. Self-discipline. Taking the things I learned, and applying them. Building on them. Keeping the momentum..."

I find it so perfect that I found this post this week. Just a few days ago, we again returned from Nashville. Over the past few weeks, we've been working closely with session players and our engineer to record the tracks for our next Infinitely More CD. Yesterday, we were so tired - physically, mentally, spiritually. The temptation was to simply collapse for the rest of the summer. After all, people do take it easy in the summer. Facebook is full of holiday updates, beach sunsets, and patio party selfies.

Without warning, Resistance was in full swing, like a silent monster gliding through the house, throwing glittering, sun-soaked temptations into every room to distract us ....

But this music, this CD, is our Dream, and there's work to do. We have vocals to record, cover photos to take, graphics to design, and funds to raise. There are hours and hours of rehearsal and creative planning in the next few weeks. We have concerts and worship services to plan and perform, and a 5-province East Coast Tour to book.

As I felt the battle of Resistance surging around me, I read this paragraph written by my 2005 Self:

"With a good gospel song, I can change (someone's) life. And that's what I've always aimed for as an artist. To shake people up. To bring them out of the ordinary. For them to leave my performance with questions, new thoughts, new considerations."

The power to change someone's life. Well, that's still the path I'm on. The post continued:

"I know that God has affected my life in amazing ways in the last few years. I can't wow people with my Biblical insights. That's just not my strength. What I can say is this: I was in the darkest place imaginable. My life took a turn that I thought I would not survive. I can't explain it, but this force we call God brought me through it. I can't explain it, but I know that this God loves me, cares for my everyday thoughts and actions, and stays faithful to me in good and bad. And I know that when I gave my art, my career, and my life to Him for His controlling, that my art, my career, and my life changed in ways I could never "ask or imagine"*. I can't explain it, but I can tell you that I know all these things to be true. And if you have any doubts, try it. Just give your life over to God, and see what will happen. It's truly amazing."

Wow. There's nothing like remembering the first moments the Dream was born...

So in the new few weeks, when I'm overwhelmed, when I'm stressed, when Resistance is trying to convince me that a TV marathon is really the way to go, I'm going to remember these paragraphs. I'm going to remember that the Dream has changed and grown over the past years, but the goal has not.

I still want our music to bring people out of the ordinary, 
For I've met the Extraordinary. 
He changed my life, 
He can change yours, 
And I can't think of a better reason to sing...

*When I wrote this post in 2005, Gerald and I were on separate music career paths. We had no inkling that we would ever become a duo, and we certainly had no idea that we would name ourselves Infinitely More, the same verse containing the phrase "ask or imagine." Until yesterday. I hadn't even looked at this post since I first wrote it in 2005. Don't tell me God isn't in the details!

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page & visit us every Wednesday!


Cathy Olley said...

Allison - what a testimony to God's power in our lives! Thanks for sharing and I am so looking forward to meeting you on July 31st! God Bless!

Allison Lynn said...

Thank you, Cathy! We're looking forward to singing for you!