Reflections on a MROP
So I’ve been pondering, since laying down music so the seed could die, a lot of how the kingdom is so counter-intuitive to our way of thinking. More realistically, our whole way of processing. Paradoxical. …a real Isaiah 55 moment here… Fight for peace. Kneel so your spirit can run. Work hard to find rest. Let the seed die so it can be raised back up again and bloom. What the heck? They’re everywhere. I need a nap.
I processed through my subsequent ‘identity-crisis-inducing-sabbatical from performing music,’ during my MROP at Pilgrim Park in 2012. I had justified spiritual inertia with rational hesitancy. Meaning, I had deep, literate excuses of why I had been withholding pursuing prayer for a perspective shift on how to be great in the kingdom. And how to craft a legacy by the direction of the Holy Spirit though the very tools that have been in front of me all along. It just seemed like too much work. Let’s be honest….who really wants to work on…*yawn*…changing themselves. I’ve seen and often downplayed the calling on our lives and it’s only increased since my wife and I have strived to walk in unity and longing to fulfill all he has for us. But laying it down to re-polarize has made a world of difference. So, we’re not afraid to be great anymore for the kingdom; and that is spoken from a place of spiritual maturity we’ve never been at before. I’m ready to let the gifts he has placed in us and the amazing, radical team of friends and associates from Nashville to Michigan, which share our vision and heart for the kingdom, be turned loose. If that isn’t an impressive thought, surely the run-on sentence is.
Ambition has died and been replaced with a sweet understanding of spiritual fulfillment.
The view is remarkable.
The element of struggle is gone. The restlessness is at peace. A joyous ‘leadership death’ of all the ways I have steered this career and band has occurred and it’s worth celebrating. I was climbing the ladder with an ever present twinge of discontent and unsettled spirit because it always needed something more to keep it’s appetite satisfied by ambitious endeavors to conquer. I was quite literally, building my own kingdom and then hoping the Great Mystery would approve it when I was finished with it. We hadn’t been “un-successful” by any standards; lots of incredible opportunities. But chasing the promise we thought we had been given so many years ago had led to a perpetual pursuit that fed daily on our once pure passion.
It slowly contorted into this monster that’s plagued so many artists: AMBITION
Webster’s defines it as: “an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as wealth or fame, and the willingness to strive for it.” The word translated “ambition” in the New American Standard is rendered “strife” in the King James. Left blindly unchecked for many years, it takes on an insatiable life of its own. We’ve fought the strife dragon for years. It’s left a shattered trail of neighborhood shrapnel long enough to make Mr. Rogers flip in his grave. It eats away community through competition, comparison and envy…all the while we felt the “earnest” engine chugging away to keep turning an ignorant eye.
I think I can, I think I can…I think I…can lose my mind… It robs valuable time from your assignment and it steals relationships because the focus is on ‘attaining’ and not ‘attention.’ Read any bio on a band’s website, read an article, listen to an interview. “If you like (band x) then check out my site.” Or “Check out my new songs and let me know what you think.!” A virus of desperation can creep in. We are living in the age of artists riding the technological ‘slip and slide’ of affirmation. Once aware, you see and hear the influence and danger of rouge ambition in every angle and language. The music industry is wrought with it. “Unmet Needs.” The modern musicians cologne.
Sweet Lord. It comes out in desperate yet subtle ways, needing to be affirmed, moving up one more rung in the artists heart until it poisons the motive and purity of what God put there first place as a beautiful creative seed. The mission can be from God, but the motive is your own. Man can make plans but God orders his steps. Whether rock star or worship leader…