Black Sheep Bass-ic Training

Doing The Christian Walk With A Funky Strut

Waylaid plans and walking on water

As I sit here contemplating how to approach the two above subjects into one cohesive post, I realize that God’s really touching on the same thing in me with both of them.

“You’re not in control, honey.”

My natural bent: Planner. Proactive.  Lists lists lists. Breaking everything down into measurable, predictable results.  No wonder I aced statistics in undergrad.  Forget plan B, I’ve got everything mapped out to plan Z 1/2.  I try to think of every last contingency.

So, for the last week and change, I have had about a 2 % success rate in accomplishing what I’d planned.

To-do list at work?  Nope.

Social plans with a friend?  *bzzzzzzzt*  Try again.  (Though we DID do the MAIN thing, which was take in a marvelous concert by Selah.  Praise God.)

To-do list at home?  Cue breath-stealing laughter.

You’ve heard the saying, “We plan, God laughs”?  I think I had Him off His throne and rolling on the floor laughing to tears this week.  Because nothing. went. according. to. plan.

I got pretty testy about it at various points.  “Can just ONE THING GO RIGHT TODAY??????”  *deep breath*  *deep breath* *staring upward, lips clenched*

After over a week straight, though, I finally backed down.

From now on, I’m not going to call them “to-do” lists.  I’m going to call them “Father, May I?” lists.  Because I can do absolutely nothing unless He allows me to.  That point has been solidly proven!!!

And in the same track, an update on the house search.  Still nothing.  But I’ve stepped out in faith now…gave official notice that I won’t be renewing my lease, yesterday, directly to my building manager.  This is directly in God’s hands now, no turning back.  I’ve stepped out of the boat, I’m on the water, I’m walking toward Jesus.  This isn’t happening unless He makes it happen.

Help me, Father, to keep my eyes on You and Your Son, until you come through.  I can’t swim.  🙂

God’s in charge, and He is faithful.  Words to live by in the coming days.

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Emergence from the solitude

So I did something weird this last week.  Put myself on a week-long solitary retreat from EVERYTHING.  Even church.  Had someone kindly sub for me on Worship Team.

My days consisted of nothing but getting in the Word and spending time with God, and stewarding the musical gift He’s given me.  And taking good care of my physical body–decent diet, sleep, bit o’ exercise.  Did not leave the house.  Kept contact with people to absolute bare minimum via text message and e-mail.  No phone calls.

Like I said, weird.  People just don’t do this.  But.  I felt led to do it and I am oh so glad I obeyed.

Takeaways:

–Newfound appreciation for God as a loving Father who always wants the best for His children.  Gained through reading in the Old Testament of account after account where, even after He’d allowed His people’s enemies to overrun them because of their disloyalty and disobedience to Him, He still would go after those very same enemies if/when they got an attitude about it.  Like, “Oh, no, you’re not going to sit here and mock My kids now because I’ve got them on punishment.  I only LET you do what you did.  Keep up the ego trip and I’ll give you what I gave them.”  And He would give it to them good.  And no matter HOW bad Israel/Judah were, He always sought a way to bring them back around, He wanted fellowship with them so much.  We all know, of course what He ultimately did to this end–gave us His Son Jesus.  But.  To go back and see how many times He kept trying before that…how many times He was merciful…how many times He gave them a free pass…the depth to His love for us is truly unsearchable.

–Reworking of priorities.  Time to stop just SAYING God is #1 priority and to start backing it up with meaningful action, CONSISTENTLY.

–I need to do less to keep the household ticking smoothly than I think I do.  Need to be aware of when I’m creating ‘busywork’, and I also need to be diligent about routine scheduling, so as not to interfere with time set aside for the pursuits that matter.

–Much-needed perspective shift regarding my job.  Praying I can carry through this peace to actual time on the company’s premises, and be the light I’m supposed to be.

–Increased proficiency on both bass and trombone.  Bass…I might yet be able to slap, got down to brass tacks with a workbook and had some success with the exercises so far.   Increasing my fingerstyle speed in the meantime.  Etc etc etc.  (logged crazy hours spanking plank and have the calluses to prove it)  Trombone–had borrowed a friend’s horn about 2 months back in hopes of recapturing glory of 20 years past.  *laugh*  Was shocked at how quickly the embouchre started to come back with just 15 minutes blowing a day.  Praying I get that house I’m waiting for soon, so horn practice doesn’t entice a call to Chicago’s finest.  🙂

–Experiential awareness that as long as you stay busy doing/thinking right things, you don’t have time to mess with the bad.  Did not crave junk food once, didn’t even THINK about it…didn’t get off into negative thinking or brooding…didn’t indulge ANY of my bad habits.  Didn’t have time.  I either had a Bible or a bass in my hand for the majority of my waking hours.  Hard to wallow about the injustices at work when you’re busy picking apart Jeremiah or trying to memorize chord changes for worship tunes, for example.

–Got practice leaning on God to get past my #1 excuse: “I don’t feel like it.”  I called on Him a number of times to press me past my feelings and into something fruitful.  And He faithfully gave me the fortitude I needed, every single time I asked.   I need to remember this.

–I did come out with what I prayed for…a deeper hunger for more of God, and a deeper desire to develop the gifts He’s given me and be a better steward of His provision.

There were many smaller side things as well.  Bottom line:  This was a good thing.  And I think I need to make it an annual thing.  More emphasis on prayer and meditation next time.

Father, help me to carry out everything You’ve taught me in these days, so people can see what a difference having You in one’s life makes.

 

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Prune

Hat tip to a fellow bassist doing life God’s way. Wise words, sir.

Kiffblog

John 15:2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Pruning isn’t much fun for the thing being pruned.  It involves apparently integral parts being cut away, leaving a reduced and rather sorry-looking remnant.  In the hands of a skilful gardener it’s the key to a healthy, growing, fruitful plant.  The parts that were cut away were drawing nutrients away from the rest without delivering any benefits.  What remains has a chance to really flourish when the season for growth and fruit comes around again.  No plant is fruitful all the time but if well-tended it will continue bearing fruit, year in and year out.

You are portrayed here as the ‘vinedresser’ or gardener.  You know exactly what needs trimming out of my life to make me more productive for You. …

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