Not enough people tell me my music is good.
Oh, plenty of people say my music means the world to them, but it's never enough. When it's MY music, MY art, MY ego, MY insecurities, MY thirst for peer recognition, respect, and honor, I am never fulfilled and it is never enough.
I was in Minneapolis on the 2007 Tooth and Nail Tour. After the show I went to the merch booth to meet people. I was stopped by one of those really charismatic, on-fire Christians who always seem to be getting "words" for people. Just my luck, he had a word for me, and although I'm naturally a skeptic I agreed to let him pray for me. Couldn't hurt right? He put his big hands around my head like he was about to head-butt me and started praying in tongues (which always creeps me out), while onlookers waited patiently with their unsigned TCC posters in hand. Then he started praying in English, which made me feel a little better about the situation. Turns out he was saying some pretty good stuff.
Afterwords, he looked me straight in the eyes, my head still in his hands, and said, "You are enough because He is enough." I nodded nervously and he said it again, staring more intently, "You are enough because He is enough."
That echoed in my mind for a long time. Five years later, the "word" he had for me still hits me out of nowhere... I am enough because He is enough.
It's not about me, and when I occasionally remember that I suddenly lose interest in people telling me I'm good.
I understand that the art I make isn't from me, it flows through me, from somewhere else to somewhere else. I sit down to do the work, but I barely understand how inspiration works let alone the true meaning and influence of any song I've written. I am blessed to enjoy it, and that is enough for me.
It's like having a baby. Sure, it grew in you and then came out of you, but you didn't consciously make it. The child is unique and the miracle of human life is... a miracle. All you did was have sex. All you did was experience a few minutes of pleasure and a miracle happened. Every parent knows they can't take credit for the miracle that is their child.
That's how I feel about songs, especially the ones that end up meaning something to a lot of people. They feel good to write, and the lyrics and concept usually materialize in ten minutes or less. They are things that occur to me, not things I manufacture. I don't write them, they write me.
If you love my songs and think I'm wise because I write them, then getting to know me in real life would probably disappoint you. I'm messy and inconsistent and foolish and sarcastic and immature. I would encourage you to not seek fulfillment in people, because people will always disappoint you.
For a few minutes a year I am honored with the burden of being a broken tool in the hand of a perfect God whose apparent goal it is to bring some tiny portion of goodness into the world. I couldn't tell you why, and it could all stop tomorrow, but I can tell you that I didn't do anything to deserve it.
It does me no good to seek out credit. Because it isn't rightfully mine, no amount of credit will fulfill me. I am enough because He is enough. I have enough because He gives me enough. I am good because He is good, and I am useless when He doesn't show up.
Nothing this world can offer me will ever be enough.
I am enough because He is enough.