At the end of May, I was fortunate enough to attend the GMA Immerse Conference. (See previous blog post for details.) I wanted to bring some advice with me to share with new and emerging artists about life on the road. I reached out to several artists that had stayed with us (my husband, Greg and I have a Host Home in Albuquerque, NM) during their tours and proposed this question:
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing, one very valuable, life-saving, piece of advice before you set off on your very first tour what would it be?
I received awesome responses. Everything from the practical to the Spiritual. I love every single one of them, and will post them here someday – for it is all excellent advice. Today, though, I offer this post to my friend, Joshua Fink. You’ll be inspired and encouraged and in the end, you will long to embrace the unexpected.
Julia Saites, RYFO Communications Coordinator
Guitarist, Shine Bright Baby
In the 5 years of our existence, the band has been blessed with opportunities to tour with dozens of incredible artists. With each passing tour we learn a little more about God, ourselves, each other and how to travel more effectively.
If I could go back and tell myself one piece of valuable advice before I left for our first tour it would’ve been to embrace the unexpected.
When you tour you expend enormous amounts of energy making sure everything is as organized as possible. Spreadsheets brimming with hotel confirmations, venue addresses, and merchandise inventory guide you and your daily itinerary forward. By quantifying the entire tour you save time, energy, and money. The end goal is to evaporate any chance of the unexpected occurring. Eventually though, the unexpected will occur and while on the road, the unexpected can challenge your faith and erode your passion for music ministry altogether.
You see, our society has been recalibrated to center life around predictability, comfort and convenience. Hamburgers at McDonald’s taste the same in Ohio as they do in Florida, or Maine. We’ve been programed to a crave a safe, expected environment.
Let’s face it, we’re sheltered as a country so when something unexpected happens our response is one of shock, and then overreaction. We’re told that the unexpected is bad, that it can only come at the worst possible time. And while some unexpected events can be unfortunate I’ve learned that the unexpected can be good. It can become an opportunity.
I’ll never forget when our van was broken into in San Diego and we had $4,000 worth of personal electronics stolen. The feeling of helplessness and desperation was overwhelming.
As a band, we recognized we were under a spiritual attack and in that very moment lifted the situation (and the individual(s) who took our belongings) up in prayer. During that prayer, we surrendered our feeble attempt to control the situation. We embraced the unexpected and through that, God provided in astonishing ways.
Our band has dozens of stories where we encounter and rediscover God when we embrace the unexpected.
On one tour our van broke down in rural Montana and within minutes of being stranded we met an eccentric, and rather disheveled gentleman who happened to be a diesel mechanic. Twenty minutes after our breakdown, we were cruising down the road once again.
Those stories are just brief examples that show what can happen when you embrace the unexpected. I’m thoroughly convinced that on some tours we’ve encountered angels. It’s in those vulnerable, unexpected moments where Christ can show up and speak the loudest.
With each passing tour I’ve been slowly learning to embrace the unexpected. Realizing that our capacity to tour won’t last forever I’m beginning to consciously attempt to enjoy every moment, even the unexpected ones.
When you abandon your own selfish personal agenda you create space for opportunities to flourish, and for lives to be transformed.
Constantly reminding yourself that it’s not about you creates room for God to work.
With that being said, I want to encourage you to embrace the unexpected, to say yes, instead of no. I want to encourage you to give up control of your life, and allow God to take over.
When you give up control He will do something bold for you. He will challenge you. He will be your sustenance, your strength, and your unexpected.
Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.