Saturday, July 11, 2009
The Prayer of Andy Farmer
(photo from: http://home.comcast.net/~edbethui/mustards_retreat_sm.jpg)
As I think I have mentioned before, I thoroughly enjoy Saturday mornings. I think they should at least be mentioned on the official list of endangered species. We work hard for a lot of things in life, but the one thing we need the most we don’t seem to work very hard for: rest. I’m reminded of the many dimensions of rest and how not only our bodies need them, but our minds and our hearts as well.
I like to play guitar. I have what you would call a entry-level acoustic. It won’t impress anyone with the richness of its sound, but at least it has sound. I haven’t changed the strings in a long time, so I have to tune it almost every time I sit down to play. But none of those things really matter, unless of course I start to do with my hobbies what I do in so many other things in my life: compare.
I absolutely love the feeling of sitting down and hammering out a favorite tune, or plucking out a simple melody and just humming along. There’s something so simple and beautiful about creating music, and it has nothing to do with the skill involved. The Enemy, though, notices this and does all that he can to try and distort this simple blessing. More often than not, after a few songs my mind will start to critique my playing and my vocals, and I’m instantly on the wrong path.
Even in today’s world, where almost anyone can pass under the ubiquitous title “singer/songwriter”, I will not pretend for a moment that I am such a person. Oh yes, I have visions every once in a while of a cozy, jam-packed coffee-house with the fresh scent of roasted beans lingering in the air along with my vocals, both equally mesmerizing the crowd. But then I snap back to reality when my voice cracks trying to reach a moderate falsetto.
But the point is, I have a genuinely good time playing the guitar. My skill level shouldn’t matter, because it’s taking joy in the simple gift of music that should matter instead. The enemy knows that my taking joy in a simple thing is a moment more holy than I realize, so he works to get me comparing myself to others.
I’m sure none of you experience this problem,….right?
I think if we’re all honest with ourselves, we realize that the culture around us shapes us more than we’d like it to. One of the marks of our culture is a fierce level of competitiveness and comparison. I can hardly go to ESPN.com without seeing an article pop-up every so often listing the power rankings of some sport or other. Heck, they have already come out with a power ranking for this upcoming college football season, and we’re still a month away.
It’s not just sports, though. It’s on the news, embedded in our conversation, and permeates more levels of our living than we tend to notice. That’s why I’m realizing that rest and time alone with my Creator are such necessary things. They are not only amazing in and of themselves, but they act as antidotes for the virus of comparison.
So I may not be the next indie singer/songwriter phenom. But I don’t really want that either, do I? I just want that satisfaction of feeling good about myself, finding my worth in something I can do. And as Dallas Willard and a host of others tries to remind me, my worth has nothing whatsoever to do with the work of my hands.
That’s good to know. I can go back to just playing the guitar because it’s fun, because it’s relaxing, and because I like it.
Let’s learn a prayer together, I’m naming it after the person who inspired it, Andy Farmer:
The Prayer of Andy Farmer:
Lord, help me not to take myself as seriously as I do, but instead to take You more seriously.