Journey On!

My journey in life thus far has been a series of steps that are so evidently ordered by God. No one just arrives somewhere without the journey. There’s always a road to travel and a process to go through to get anywhere. Certainly not all of the steps I’ve taken have been the right or best ones, but even then God’s providence was ever at work for my benefit. I can’t say that I’ve utterly enjoyed all of the processes and pits I’ve fallen into, but I can say they’ve helped me grow and have become part of who I am now.

Music came naturally for me, I entered the world with an unstoppable passion for it and deep connection to it—God built that into my hardware. Though I could’ve run from it, I never wanted or even thought to. As far back as I remember I was driven and planned to spend my life making music. For some it’s not as clear of a decision. Everyone’s story is unique. No matter how we come to be a part of music or what our desires are, it’s a joy and clearly something God has ordained and created for a purpose.

What’s hard is identifying what that purpose really is. Just because we love it or feel it naturally doesn’t mean it’ll make us a living or that we’ll each have the same opportunities or skill levels. As believers in Jesus we sometimes say that we are called to do music, and most know what we mean, but music itself isn’t the call. The call is to live according to God’s purposes and will through relationship with Jesus. We’re actually signing up for a road trip on a narrow highway that requires faith, commitment, discipline, work, and trust. The road is also paved with grace, mercy, compassion, and kindness. That’s how we make it!

It’s easy for creative ambition and talent to become our drivers, but we’re aiming for something higher than fulfilling and achieving our dreams. How that factors into our musical lives is interesting and not as easy as it sounds. I don’t think it means that we can’t explore, venture, and fly—that’s part of the gift of creativity. Creative people don’t typically struggle with vision; we can dream something up in a second. We struggle more with the reality that just because we can imagine and dream it, doesn’t mean we’re supposed to do it. Learning to hear and listen to God’s voice becomes even more critical for us.

So, I just now took a coffee break to catch up with an old buddy I’ve not seen in awhile. We go way back here in Nashville. We were discussing how after all this time what has mattered the most is that God has held on to us through all the changes, ups, downs, failures, etc. Jesus is the constant! He made the comment that “The journey’s still on,” and so it is indeed. God is never done with us or unable to lead us further into His purposes for our lives. We also talked about how we’re in an amazing time, seeing the fruit of a generation of young people that have been raised up as worshippers, giving us some great new artists and talents. Here’s the thing: No one person, albeit a pastor, parent, leader, producer, friend, employer, mystic, or theologian, can tell you what to do with your talent ultimately. Nor can anyone put limits on how God may use you and your talent. What it means though is you need to know and be able to give an answer for why you pursue and do what you do.

No one person, albeit a pastor, parent, leader, producer, friend, employer, mystic, or theologian, can tell you what to do with your talent ultimately. Nor can anyone put limits on how God may use you and your talent.

It’s important to know the difference between what we are called to do and what our talents and gifts are. Sometimes they intertwine, but not always, making it harder to discern the right and best steps to take in our journey. Thus far I’ve never had it appear before me on a big screen. What I have learned though is God doesn’t call us to pursue our ambitions and dreams at the expense of a consistent walk with Him and pursuit of His kingdom. There’s freedom and opportunity to go for the moon, but He asks that we seek Him first.

We can trust Him with our talents and dreams—we have a promise that He’s always ordering our steps as we make our plans. Not all of those plans will go the way we imagine, but He steers and guides us like the Good Shepherd He is. The past need not have power over us, nor dictate where we go. Even the hard stuff is covered and forgiven. It’s part of our story now, and if surrendered and healed, it fortifies our walk of faith as we journey on!

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Tom and his wife Patty live in Nashville, TN. Worship Pastor of Belmont Church, a member of Blues Counsel band. He's traveled to over 35 countries; leading worship, teaching, recording and performing.

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