Letting Go

Instagram photo by gcccreative

Last weekend I played guitar at Granger Community Church for what may be the last time. This wasn’t an easy decision to make. I love music. I love playing guitar. It’s the only thing I’ve done really well since I was 19 or 20 years old.

It really comes down to two things: Taking care of my family, and discovering where I’m headed.

Our second baby is due October 7, and Kim has been very sick throughout this pregnancy. Kim is an amazing working mom who takes care of Kiersten and I in ways I never completely realized before the last few months. It is difficult for all of us when I need to leave for the weekend to help lead worship at church. Serving the Church is amazing, and in my opinion, a necessary part of being a disciple of Christ. But putting others before the needs of my family in order to serve in this way isn’t good for anyone, including the Church. My family needs to know their husband and dad loves them, and I believe the Church (and society as a whole) needs more examples of engaged husbands and fathers—not less.

I’m also trying to seek God and discover His will and direction for this stage in my life. That’s not necessarily a new thing. Hopefully I’ll always try to be aware of where He’s leading and how I should follow. But this is a time of increased introspection and scrutiny for me.

I believe God made each of us for a purpose. And I believe that we are uniquely gifted with, experienced in and passionate about the things that will help us live out that purpose. Playing music, and guitar specifically, is something I’ve done for most of my life. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed. It has taken me to New York, Florida, Nashville, Los Angeles, and India, among many other places. It has been a great way to meet people, and I have friends around the world that I never would have met if not for music in my life. It’s something I’m good at, something I enjoy, and something that has enhanced my life in more ways than I could ever enumerate.

When I was younger I thought playing music was what I was going to be doing with my life. I poured everything I had into it. It was my dream. It was my goal. And a career in the music industry wasn’t just some lofty pipe dream. It was where my band was headed. But when we called it quits at the end of a long record contract-negotiating process my dream slowly dissolved with it. Since then, I’ve moved on.

Somewhat.

I married, started a family, and bought a house—all the stuff grown-ups do. And for the past 6 years I’ve played guitar in various settings, mainly at church and with a couple bands.

As my life has changed and my interests and passions have morphed and grown, I’ve sort of held onto my guitar as a sort of security blanket. I want to embrace what’s next and God’s plan for my future, but I haven’t let go of the familiar, the comfortable. I’ve wanted to make sure I have something to fall back on, even if it’s only a faint memory of my past identity and the passion I once lived with.

Instagram photo by gcccreative

And that’s where this decision came from. If I hold tightly to the things I used to know and the old dreams, goals and passions I once had, I won’t be free (either in my heart or my time) to find and pursue other abilities and new interests, or to dream new dreams.

This may be completely psychological, but I feel like by completely letting go of the me I once was, the possibilities for the future are endless and wide-open. That is simultaneously exciting and daunting.

I don’t intend to spend years wandering or drifting. I feel a great responsibility to leverage my gifts, talents, experiences, passions, and resources for the God who made me and loves me and who wants the world to know He loves them. Wasting these things (in essence, wasting my life) would be just as bad, if not worse, than just lingering on in the same way I always have without ever stopping to evaluate where I’m going.

I love my church. I love the people, the leadership, the mission, the heart, the style, the excellence at every level—you name it, I love it. And I’m going to miss playing music on stage. I love the team I’ve been so privileged to serve with over the years, many of whom are some of my best friends.

I can definitely see coming back to play guitar. But if I do I want to come back either as a passionate, fully committed musician and guitarist who’s constantly working to become better at his craft, OR as someone who’s secure in his identity in Christ, has other passions and dreams, and who knows music will always be a part of his life—but isn’t clinging to dreams or an identity from the past.

I’d love to hear from you. If you’re going through a similar time, let me know how you’re processing through this, and if there’s any way I can help you. If you’ve come out on the other side of a time like this, I’d love to know what resources or practices you drew upon to find the insight and wisdom you were seeking.

I want to live my life intentionally. Passionately. On mission. This is a time of recalibrating and refocusing. Please pray for me. Thanks.

6 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. Tim,

    I believe everything has a season in your life. People are in your life for a season too. Some people come and go and others stay awhile. Ecclesiastes 3:1
    Our passions grow and fade as we grow as human beings, and that’s OK. It is OK to allow some things to dim in our life to make room for other things to shine brightly. True passions never really go away, they just dim for a time. Follow your heart and God’s whispers (He never seems to scream at me like I wish he would,. Usually always whispers), and you will be fine.

    Shelley Arredondo

  2. Tim…this is one of the most mature posts I’ve ever read. I sense your heart to be used of God and to be a great dad and husband. God will bless you as you put your family and your identity in Him at the forefront. Serving is good…but honoring God with EVERYTHING is better! Bless you!

  3. Tim,

    Wow. What an amazing story and source of encouragement for me. I, too, went through(and still going through) something similar to this. Here’s my story in brief…

    Just less than a year ago, God started slowly revealing to me where my true identity lied. I grew up in the church my entire life. I started leading worship at age 13, which landed me an internship at age 16. A few years later, that landed me a full-time position as the Director of Worship Ministries at a fairly large church here in town. My whole life was wrapped up in doing what I was most passionate about — music and worship. All of that would be considered a pretty great job to have. Well the Lord thought differently. Last year over the course of a couple months, God quickly pulled the “scales” off of my eyes and showed me how much my identity was in what I did for the church and in ministry. I was so caught up in climbing the “leadership ladder” in ministry and becoming “successful” in the church that I had worked in. I had exalted what God first called me to do — lead worship — and made it into something I thought it should have looked like. Therefore, putting my identity into that.

    Long story short, the Lord asked me to give up my full-time staff position. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life, but the reward on the other side of my obedience was/is so worth it. God has revealed to me new passions and has brought to life areas that I thought were dormant. On this side of obedience, He has richly blessed my marriage beyond what I could have imagined, and He has brought my relationship with my family way closer than I could have thought.

    I have by no means arrived yet, but I am continuing to strive towards putting my identity completely in Christ. Taking that huge step was an enormous start to that process.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. It was definitely encouraging. Keep pressing ON and IN to Him.

    Brax

    1. Incredible. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone. And it’s encouraging and inspiring to know that it’s made your life even better. Thank you for sharing your story!

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