Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Exiting The Fog

2007.05.02 Exiting the Fog

" indecisive I have been. I am almost paralyzed with fear. I am so confused...I need something beyond me in order to make this decision. My emotions and inclinations change too much to be dependable and logic is difficult in this case...there is insufficient data...The question is ‘what is God’s will? What has He called and equipped me to do?’...I have been praying generally and expecting emotions or vision (reason) to tell me and they haven’t! is the test that occurred to me...I will pray for this as a means of clarity.

If I sell 40 CDs on tour with Rachel from the time we leave my driveway till the time we get back in my driveway from NY then I will know that I should continue (as an artist). If I sell none, not a single CD, then I will know it is not for me to be in music at all. If I sell exactly 12 CDs then I will stop being an artist and look into publishing (songwriting).

Lord, if this is wrong and displeases You then please impress that upon my heart...Otherwise, please orchestrate my sales according to Your sovereignty and the request for clarity [just mentioned]...speak clearly in this to me so that I will know what to do and how to proceed from here."

-My Journal, 6:52 PM, March 25, 2007

Sometimes what we wish of God is not that He would part the vast expanse of the Red Sea or the thundering current of the Jordan, but only that He would carve a line of sight through the almost intangible yet relentless and borderline unbearable fog that from time to time sweeps into the valleys of our life and leaves us stranded in the fear that any direction we tread may in fact leave us more lost and distant from the once clear destination that the fog has now hidden from us.

I have been in this fog for months. It was last October when I hit bottom and the fog poured in. Burned out from a year and a half of working part time while doing 150 shows, booking, driving 60,000 miles, sacrificing recreation, sleep and relationships, and stressing over how meager my income was and what implications this had for the future, I was exhausted, demoralized, and quite frankly confused. For a few months I had not been at peace that I was spending my life correctly. There was no assurance as there had once been that I was on a path that was in line with who God has made me to be and what He has created me to do.

I hated what I was doing and was so tired and frustrated that over the course of one sleepless night last October I gave it up. Just like that, at about 5 in the morning I said ‘no more’ and fell asleep on the couch.

Of course over the next few days I realized that to end so abruptly would be hasty and unwise. It would have been a decision made in a state of emotional turmoil and exhaustion, and wisdom demanded that I not burn any bridges but that I proceed slowly and in prayer. Some of my greatest advice in this time was “when in the fog, go slow.” I was in the fog, so that is exactly what I did.

I still toured to the extent that I didn’t abandon my work as an artist, but to such a small extent that I was not stressed or overextended with it. In my newly available time I looked into new jobs and even sold a guitar to pay for a graduate class last January with the thought that I might pursue more school. I prayed consistently, fasted, and diligently weighed my desires, my strengths, my weaknesses, my past, my dreams, and my visions hoping to find a common thread that would direct me in what I should do.

By March I had learned a lot about myself, but still had no idea what direction my next steps should be in. I was more aware of my situation, but the situation remained that I was in the fog.

On April 12, I was to leave for a tour with my friend Rachel Carrozziere, a tour that she had booked and that I still didn’t know any details about other than what day we left and that she had everything lined up. I had only one final show booked after this tour, and unless I received guidance that I was to continue my artist career I had no intentions of booking any more.

There are so many things that I could share about the time between October and March, so many struggles that were separate from the question of my artist career yet intricately linked to it in many ways. Some were resolved, some remain, but in both cases I learned two things: patience and trust, and I was beginning to put these into action in a way that I never had. I still wrestled with anxiety and fear, but was more and more able to trust the God of my Lord Jesus Christ to work things for His glory and bring good from all things, trusting His word as it had proven true in recent experience. It was in this context that I prayed that prayer on March 25th. It was a bold prayer, but one I felt led to pray and one prayed with a willingness to wait if He did not grant clarity as I asked. I was making my request known but still trusting God and yielding to His will above my own. I prayed this prayer daily for the days leading up to the tour.

Then on Monday April 16, after I got back from my weekend tour with Rachel, I sat down and wrote this in my journal: “The tally sheet reads 40.” It was almost surreal. Forty CDs exactly. God never owes us such clarity, but glory to God when He gives it.

It’s still only a narrow slice through the haze, but it’s an absolute, and so I’m exiting the fog.


Blogger aniruhama said...

I like random strangers commenting on my blog, so thought I'd do the same and maybe sprinkle some happiness around.

Heard you play at Common Grounds, Novemberish...? My first thought was that you should be playing bigger places than a coffee house. My second thought was that coffee houses were cheaper than "real" concerts, so I couldn't complain.

It's good to hear God's given you a sense of direction. In this relative world, such absolutes are immensely reassuring.

You're gifted as an artist and songwriter, and I hope you continue as both for a long time. And if you ever feel like wandering this way, Lexington, KY would love another visit.

5:17 PM  

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