Yesterday’s topic was about contentment: worshiping God’s goodness and sovereignty which leads to contentment in any and every situation. Today I want to explore the converse idea of: “What if we got what we wanted?”
The other day I met with Felix, my good friend of over twenty years. Felix is a very, very talented musician – God has blessed him with an amazing gift. He is also a very skilled contractor – one of the best in the business. When I first met Felix he had just moved to California to “make it as a professional musician.” His goal and dream was to become a studio and recording artist, go on tour with top notch bands, and to play music all the time. He saw his skills and role as a contractor as only a way to keep him afloat until he made it in the music industry. Meanwhile, he got involved at our church, played on the worship team (which was awesome for me), and we met regularly for spiritual mentoring, especially discussing what it meant to live out Whole Life Worship.
In the years that followed, Felix’s spiritual growth took off. The Lord did an amazing work of transformation in his life as He helped Felix overcome and be healed from painful memories of the past. Felix learned how to walk in faith and truth. The Lord also opened up doors in both music and in construction. He started his own remodeling business and it flourished; God blessed him with steady jobs, even during times of economic recession. He also became well-known in the “worship” circles and God gave him opportunities to serve at different churches – on a professional level (i.e. “paid gigs”). He was also part of several recording projects for some pretty high level worship CD’s. God also blessed him with amazing connections in the LA jazz scene and had the opportunity play and tour with some amazing jazz groups.
But Felix never got what he originally wanted: that of being a full-time professional musician. The music work was always just a little extra, on top of the daily grind of remodeling homes, installing counter tops, fixing bathrooms, and the like.
Recently, God gave him kind of a “George Bailey” moment (I’m referring to the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” where George gets to see what the world would have been like if he had not been born). Felix got a glimpse of what his life would have been like if he got what he wanted.
While working on a home, he had a conversation with the owner, a well-to-do woman who works for a non-profit organization. She shared with Felix that she used to be a high-level record executive in Nashville for a prominent studio. She described the professional music industry as being hard, cut-throat, two-faced, immoral and unethical. She told him stories of how musicians who sabotaged other musicians or talked cruelly behind each other’s backs. She told Felix how glad she was to be out of the professional music world.
Then at another home, Felix had a conversation with one of the top jazz bass players in the world (his connections in the music world often provided him some good work as a contractor). This musician bemoaned the fact that studio work was drastically declining, that he was getting tired of touring, and that he needed to downsize his lifestyle because of lower income levels. Such is the common case for many a professional musician.
Finally, Felix shared with me that, when fixing people’s homes, he had many opportunities (too numerous to recount) to have amazing conversations with the home owners. His warm personality engaged them and they opened up to him, even sharing some of the deepest, darkest secrets of their lives. As a result, Felix got to encourage them, to pray for them, and to share Jesus Christ with them. To them, he was more than a “Fix-It Felix.” He was their confidant, their spiritual mentor, and messenger of God’s grace.
The conclusion that Felix came to was he was glad God didn’t give him what he wanted. God had something better in mind for Felix than being a full-time, professional musician. God wanted Felix to become a full-time man of God. God had something better for Felix than just making music on his bass. God wanted Felix to make music with his life.
God wants so much more for us than what we think we want. But we cannot see beyond what we can ask or imagine. It is only through the process of surrendering our hopes and dreams to God in Whole Life Worship, that we begin to see how much more is beyond “what we want.”
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived the things that the Lord has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Cor 2:9, Jer 9:24)