Music is not my passion. Wait a second...let that sink in. You're thinking, "What?! How could you dedicate your life to something that's not your passion?!" I know. It's a shocking statement. But, it's a statement that I firmly stand beside. The older I get, the more I realize that there has to be more to life than being "passionate" about a spotlight. Don't get me wrong, I love performing. In fact, it's all I'm motivated to do. When opportunities for promotions come in my current day job, I turn them down, because I didn't move to Nashville to become a music business executive. I came to perform, and I will keep performing in all the different avenues I can. But, that's not my passion. No, my passion is deeper. It's more life-altering. And it's more important.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I'm more afraid of succeeding at things that don't matter.” -Bob Goff, Love Does
My passion is this: to live out my Christian faith by loving and serving those in need. Personally, I feel that I have been led to specifically serve women who have experienced injustice. The injustice of women can come in many forms: physical and sexual abuse, sexual slavery, how the church views women, the status of women in other cultures, etc. The list could go on and on. And the more I research these injustices, the more I can't just sit around and think a life of "singing" is all there is. No, I have to fight and I have to do something. And ideally, my music and passion will coincide together.
What really rocked my world was delving into the book of James a while back. I knew I had a passion for helping women in need, but I wasn't acting on it. James, however, is pretty matter-of-fact about not acting on something. "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?" (James 2:14, NIV) And there it is. It was time to get off my butt and do something. At first, I just started serving wherever needed help. Then, I started finding specific channels of service that matched my passion, and found Morning Star.
Morning Star is a mentoring program that mentors women who have been domestically abused. Before Morning Star, the women spend significant time in an abuse shelter, and after they get out of the shelter, they begin to pick up the pieces of their lives with the help of Mentors. The Mentors help them get their finances together, help them find jobs, and encourage them. I knew I wanted to help this organization but didn't think I would be a good Mentor--and let's face it, I would not be a good financial advisor with my music salary. One of the leaders suggested I help with the kids during their Mentor Meetings. I was a little hesitant at first. From years of babysitting and nannying, I know how spoiled kids can be. But, at the urging of the Holy Spirit, I decided to give it a shot. Turns out, these kids are anything but spoiled. They have been through such a tough time with their family history, and yet they are the most joyful kids I've ever seen. Despite everything they've been through, they are the most polite and well-behaved children and I love every minute I spend with them.
Here, some members of my band and I made drums with the kids and had a drum circle!
While I loved spending time with the kids, I felt like there was a disconnect between my music and my passion. I wanted them to come together. So, I talked with my band, and we decided that a percentage of all our sales and tips would go to help the kids of Morning Star. Now, at every show, if you buy a CD or tip us, a portion of the money goes to the kids fund, where we give the money to help them buy school uniforms or pay for their extracurricular activities. It's not on the grand scale that I would like, but it's a start.
My band and I playing at the Morning Star Thanksgiving Dinner.
I've talked to many people (and I used to think this way too) who say, "When I get big, I'll donate all this money to..." But, I've realized our serving shouldn't be dependent on our success. I think God calls us to serve right where we are with what we have, even if it's not much. So while you're counting your blessings this Thanksgiving week, maybe start counting the ways you could bless people with what you have. You may just find that the people you bless will be the ones blessing you.
Sometimes I think I'm crazy. But sometimes, I think I know exactly what I'm doing.