Something happened in Iowa last weekend.
I was playing a Promise Keepers event for 5000 men in an arena. As my solo set got closer, I could feel my hands getting a little cold and my heart rate accelerating. I was nervous. Usually, I like being nervous, it means that whatever I’m facing matters. But, this was different.
Arenas can be tough for musicians to hear because the sound echoes off the walls and can often distract with delays and echoes. In-ear monitors go a long way in fighting this battle, but this arena was tough. Really tough.
So, as I climbed the stage to perform my song “Fight For Me”, I knew it would be a challenge. For years now, I’ve been performing this song which incorporates recording multiple guitar parts live, stacked on top of each other, on the fly, where keeping time is imperative! I plugged in, thumped my guitar with the palm of my right hand, and immediately my fears were confirmed.
The sounds coming back at me were a muddy mess of beats and echoes.
Instead of hearing the usual boom, crack, boom, crack, I heard boom, boom, boom, crack, crack, crack, boom, crack, you’re dead, boom, crack, give it up, boom, crack, you can’t do this, boom, crack, this will be a youtube fail sensation, boom, boom.
I simply couldn’t hear the beat I needed to. The downbeat, boom, was a jumbled mess.
I took mental stock of the situation. Should I keep going? Should I stop now and cut my losses? There are 5000 men out there, this will be a train wreck and I’ll be laughed at if I keep going. But, if I stop I’ll look like an idiot too! Man, what do I do!
I decided to keep going. If I’m going down, I’m going down swinging!
I closed my eyes and listened as hard as I could for the true downbeat, not the echoes. Seconds went by. More seconds went by. I could feel a cold sweat going down my back. I wanted to quit, everything would be much easier. Then, ever so slowly, I began to hear it, the true rhythm of the song, the beat that would carry me past the counterfeits. It wasn’t loud, but it was true.
By God’s grace, I found it. I battled my way through the song and somehow finished to applause.
It’s funny, I wonder how much of my life I spend listening to counterfeit beats, to the rhythms of a life that I wasn’t made for.
God- help me to hear what is true, what will last, what will carry me home.
click here to see a video of Fight For Me