Thursday, August 27, 2009


I apologize if I ramble in this one a bit, my mind is all over the place. Lately I've been feeling blessed. It's not that things are going any better for me, or that my future looks brighter based on current projections, it's just that I've felt a random wave of gratitude and I need to write about it so I don't forget. I need to record this feeling so that when the wall of despair comes I'll have some C4 to blow through it.

I've come to find lately that life isn't about the haves and the have-nots, its not about your wants or even about meeting your goals. It's about enjoying the process of living - the failures and victories that inevitably lead to growth and a better perspective. It's about having the peace that surpasses understanding. The peace that doesn't come with the ownership of more materials. So many times have I glanced in envy at my neighbor, be it other more successful bands or well-adjusted professionals, and I've craved their success. I would ask: Why not me? When is it my turn? Have I wasted my earning potential?

This only brings unrest.

There is something in a man that makes him feel inadequate when he is unable to provide support and stability to those around him. The ability to provide financial security, comfort, protection and opportunity is something that I have not yet been fully awarded with, so at times, I've felt the pang of regret. Have I wasted my gifts?

But then, once in awhile, something happens. I don't believe in Karma, necessarily, and I don't think that God is cause-and-effect or easy for humans to wrap their heads around. So I'm not saying I did anything to deserve this feeling, but sometimes when my life feels like it is in right-standing spiritually, when I am giving back, I start to feel blessed. It's funny, because I have absolutely no worries. Regardless of the circumstances (they rarely change), I know that things will be okay. My perspective changes, and I am overwhelmed with a calming sense of peace.

Some would say that I am foolish and that I have no basis for any sense of peace, I mean, look at my situation, what am I really doing to "protect my financial future"? Regardless, I know that I am taken care of. Kristie and I have three meals a day, reliable transportation, a comfortable roof over our heads and a place to call home. I don't mean to brag, but we even have iPhones (=D). In my weak moments I've felt weighed down by our debt, but in better moments I've felt peace that we have the freedom of not being burdened by major investments. We have dreams of a house someday, and kids. Just like my band has dreams of a bus, and fans*. But it's not about the end result anymore.

What if our band blew up off of our first record? I often shutter to think about how much I would have squandered that blessing. The fame with the credit would have probably gone straight to my head, and the influx of money would have inspired ideas of how to spend it - ideas which would have become idols. The blessing would have been a waste. I wouldn't have learned any of the valuable lessons I've taken to heart over the past four years. I would have squandered any real growth. In fact, I'm not so certain I wouldn't squander it now if it happened. My current goal is not to be at the ever elusive "top" anymore (If it exists, I've never seen it). I'm happy to enjoy the process, because in the trenches of war growth happens, and that's what really matters. Material success will pass and ultimately never satisfies, but what you learn about the things that matter is eternal.

I'm happy to be in love with my wife in a world where true love is rare. I'm blessed to have family and friends who pray for me, who really care about my well being. Making close to the poverty line every year isn't a struggle, living in a small one-bedroom apartment isn't a struggle, not being able to afford fixing my dented bumper isn't a struggle, shouldering debt is not a struggle. I am BLESSED! I have not struggled at all on any level that means anything. Peter talks about sharing in Jesus' suffering with Him and what a blessing that is. Keep in mind his audience was truly struggling in terrible ways:

For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

-1 Peter 2:20

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing... if you are reviled for the name Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

-1 Peter 4:12-14

I have not struggled. I have not suffered! If when I see Jesus some day all I have to tell Him about my struggle was that I couldn't afford nice things I WILL WANT TO SHOOT MYSELF IN THE FACE (sorry for lack of a better term, and the caps-lock).

I won't starve to death, die of malaria, aids or lack of clean water. I am blessed to live here in this country at this time. I won't get sawed in half, burned at the stake, filleted alive by knives or crucified upside down for being a Christian as the disciples were. I wont even get thrown in prison. It's quite the opposite. By claiming Christianity I can get elected president, sell out high-paying church concerts or make a lot of money by duping nice old ladies on TV. Of course this isn't the real form of Christianity (the Christ-movement), it's a bastard form that creates religious drones enslaved to their practice whose only struggles have to do with lacking the one thing they should be characterized by: Love. They're great at judgement and discernment, but how convicting is this passage by Paul:

And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:3

If there are any Christian martyrs in our country they are those who are attacked by the so called "Christians" who have no love. Our oppression as American Christians comes from within the Church, and so our struggles come from living inadequately in the eyes of the extremely religious. The roles in our country are completely reversed. The church no longer suffers, the church is responsible for inflicting suffering. The Bible says the world will hate you if you live correctly, and I say a dead church and a dead Christian will hate you just as much. The Pharisees who knew the prophets could not see that Jesus was the Messiah. They hated Jesus and His movement of love that flew in the face of their religion. Their religion blinded them and they missed the boat.

We have not been chased from our homes and into hiding, we have not been separated, abused, tortured and devalued, but we have been scrutinized by our own church family. We are blessed, and should choose to bless in return. Not out of duty, but out of gratitude for how much we've been spared in comparison to those who came before us.

Sometimes I think the fact that we've been spared any real oppression is more of a curse than a blessing. Faith lies dormant in so many lives, even in my own, and it could really be awakened by a healthy fear of persecution!

Alas, I've stumbled into another topic. My point is that I feel blessed and I have no reason to fear tomorrow. I have no good reason to worry. As long as I am obedient in my faith I know that I will be taken care of. The next time I worry, I resolve to punch myself in the face with this blog post.

*being a little jocose here, I know that we have some.


  1. Thanks again for writing this...I really liked the scripture and it helps a lot...I was thinking I was "struggling" last week and now I read this and just can't help but thank God for everything He has done in my life, so thanks for this

  2. Your blogs are so uplifting...this is something I've been needing to here. Constantly been in a state of confusion of what I need to with my life...instead of having the faith that God will direct my path. You're a good man. :)

  3. Very good, as always. And on another note, bands usually end up being better when they're not as famous. So count that as a blessing too :]. . .if possible, haha.

  4. This particular post is probably one of my favorites. After college I plan on perusing a career in music. Not to boast, but my grades are top of my class and the effort i put in is minimal. I often worry that i'll end up regretting my choice. I'm afraid that i won't be financially stable (or stable in any way, for that matter). Hopefully I'll be able to look on it with as much wisdom as you do and be greatful for what I earn. You are an amazing inspiration.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing that. I appreciated your insight and perspective. I find that so often 1 Corinthians 13:3 gets overlooked by the rest of the chapter. I recently got it tattooed on my wrist to remind myself of how important my motivations are in what I do.

  6. Matt, that is one of the most convicting, and inspiring things I have read in a while! I also am in a band, and I struggle with being content where God has planted us. It’s easy to get caught up wishing for "success," in whatever form it may take in my mind... But God's brought my attention back to what matters. ITs not sounding your best one night or packing out a venue, or selling out on merch or playing in sweet places, radio singles, topping charts, headlining huge tours, or even just making an honest living with honest music... it’s the moments you get to see yourself as a tool in the hands of God, healing people, giving them the Hope of the Gospel of Jesus, or just making a difference in someone’s life. THAT is success. THAT brings a lasting profit! "Success" is great, but it’s not success unless you realize and build your foundation on that fact. Besides, God promises to take care of our actual needs while we are here on earth... Just like the lilies of the field... we just sometimes need to remember what our needs really are.

    Anyway, thanks for the article! I have been BLESSED by reading your blog ever since I found it in February. You guys should come back to Vancouver WA sometime! =]

  7. Matt, this has to be one of the heavest blogs yet, but so very poignant! Your picture of the church is unfortunely very accurate and therefore very scary! Your description of modern day Christians is equallly frightening! But the feeling of beinging blessed without earning it (or by your own account, true suffering) is the gift of God to those who do know the true meaning of faith in Christ! You have done your job well by sharing this urgent message! So continue to count your blessings!

  8. This is exactly what I've been struggling with recently. I worry so much about the future I don't make time for what's really important. I see this faux-church everywhere; even in the church I grew up in. I've finally found somewhere (a different church) that really welcomes the sinners, the drug addicts, the drunks, the socially handicapped, the people on probation. No one there looks at them funny, judges them, or ignores them like what I've seen happen in other churches- instead they're treated just like me, the college student rocking out in the front row, or the middle-class family with toddlers in the kids center. It's so refreshing to finally find a place that's really trying to do what Jesus asked: get EVERYONE to God. When I'm away from this particular place (I go to college in a different state) I tend to drift away and forget how much I really have. I am BLESSED even if I don't end up with a high-paying career or get my dream job. I have great friends, a good family who cares about me, and a God who loves me more than I can imagine. I need to stop worrying about myself so much and help other people find what I found when I was 12- this cool guy named Jesus. :) Only then will I truly be complete, I think.

    Anyway, sorry for the uber-long and rambling response, but I think you have some great thoughts here and I wanted to share my take on them. ^_^