My Story (Part One)

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. I realize that thinking of things isn’t all that big of a deal, but for me, the past month or so has been full of revelations that I’ve never come across before.  I guess the first order to business is to tell you a litlle about myself, my spiritual walk, and what the point of keeping this blog is.

I’ve known of God since I was about three years old.  I say “of” because it’s kinda hard to really KNOW God when you’re three years old.  He’s something in colorful books and something you sing about during Christmas, but He’s not someone you really know as a friend.  I read all the stories, I listened during Sunday School, and I went to a gospel music camp to learn more about praising the lord through shape notes and 100-year-old songs.  You could say that I was immersed in spirituality without ever really know what I was supposed to be spiritual about.

Both of my parents are worship leaders and have been since I can remember, so I started playing worship music at an early age.  I started learning the bass guitar when I was four, and I think I first stepped on stage to play worship when I was about ten.  Ten is still too young to really know what you’re doing, of course, but I did what I was supposed to do and learned to play my instrument the best I could.

I eventually joined our church youth group, and in the midst of rocky junior high years, I became known as something of a spiritual superstar.  I was the guy who was never afraid to pray to close out a youth meeting, and I never had any qualms about laying hands on people and praying in tongues.  I knew what I was supposed to be doing and I knew it made me feel better than anything else I’d ever done, but I still don’t think I knew what was truly going on.  I went about this for most of my junior high years, but in high school I faded away and concentrated on marching band and being the best musician I could be.  I still knew God existed, but He seemed like a distant cousin who I saw occasionally than someone who I could rely on to just sit there and talk to me, to shoot the breeze and just talk about the day and how I was feeling.

I went through high school, excelled at my instrument, and got a music scholarship to Blinn College in Brenham, Texas.  After going through high school with my cousin Joshua as my only real friend, I grew wings and became a social butterfly at Blinn.  I started drinking after never having touched a drop in my life, and I joined a band that became the talk of the small town. I still played with the worship team when I went home on the weekends, but I think I was farther away from the concept of God than I’d ever been at any point in my life.  I knew how to portray a spiritual walk when I was on stage, and nobody but my parents probably ever knew the truth of the matter.

After a year of college, I joined the Christian band Moriah as the bassist.  We immediately left for  a two month tour of California, in which I played in churches every night of the week and generally spent most evenings pretending to be consumed by the fire of God.  It was a good gig and I was able to see some of the world, and it was a refreshing change of pace for someone who just wanted to play music for a living.  I also liked looking at naked women, which was a taste I’d developed when I was in junior high and found a Playboy or something of that type.  It never really stopped, not through high school or anything, and since I never had a girlfriend it didn’t really seem like that much of a problem.  I could be loyal as anyone in the world, but I had no one to be loyal to, so my sexuality was defined by looking at pictures of women.  I did the same thing while on tour with Moriah, and the guys found out about it, and I was dismissed from the band.  That kind of thing couldn’t be tolerated; nowadays I can see where they were coming from, but back then I felt betrayed.  Couldn’t I have been helped or talked to or something like that instead of being kicked to the curb and kicked back to trying to find a day job I didn’t enjoy?

After six months or so, I felt rehabilitated enough to try and get back into worship.  I began leading worship at my youth group, where my youth pastor embraced as well as nurtured us, and I flourished.  We sang all the latest songs by Delirious, Matt Redman and the Passion Band, and we became quite good at what we did.  Really good.  There were even a few times where I recognized the presence of God coming down into our worship sessions, but even when I didn’t, I still felt like I had the unique ability to let God control the worship service and dictate where we were going, even when I’d been a wreck in every single minute leading up to the service.  The youth pastor and his wife, Allen and Mary, became a dominant and guiding force in my life and really began to help me see a little bit of the true nature of God.  This was a God that loved me no matter what I did, no matter what I’d said, and no matter how many times I’d run away from him into the arms of alcohol, pornography, lust or various other bits of sin.

I led worship for the youth group for a long time.  I began to realize that leading worship was my calling, was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and I began embracing that by listening to worship music all the time and even writing my own songs.  My parents let me take the lead in the main services a few times, and I thrived in the setting.  I could be as spiritual as I needed to be, and got to where I could turn it on with the drop of a hat.

I never really got it, though.

I don’t want to write essay-length posts, so I’ll stop for today.  I don’t know if anyone’s going to read this, but I felt like I needed a place to discuss all the stuff that’s been going through my head lately, and so I’m really writing it for myself.  If you are reading, I encourage you to take place in discussion, because that’s what I truly yearn for: discussion with people who are feeling the same as me or have maybe been through some of the same things as I have at some point in their life.