As sobering as these three letters are, they put anyone that reads them in the same state of mind. We stop — suddenly somber, saddened, reflective. For wherever they appear we automatically acknowledge that someone has died. Today we’re not talking about someone but something: EXCUSES.
I’m on my way back to Dallas from Austin. I was there for a big weekly festival called SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST, one the leading festivals in the country that showcases everything from technology, film, television, and music. Hundreds of thousands of people flock into the state capital to see their favorite artist do their thing.
This festival is for the true fans. They will come to not only see the household big time stars, they want to vibe with their favorite underground singer or rapper that’s right on the verge of blowing up and being the next Taylor or Kanye.
Yes, this is the festival where everybody comes to see what’s hot, and what’s next. But one thing that you would never see until tonight is an event sponsored by the festival that showcases Christian artists. From hip hop, choirs, soloist to poets, tonight was the first time that these types of artists whose content is clearly Christian would have a place to shine.
It didn’t come knocking on our door. I don’t know the main people in charge of the festival, and I’m quite sure they’re great individuals. But Christian entertainment is not a medium that’s just bringing the house down. No one’s losing sleep thinking we’ve gotta get a worship and praise team to open up for YEEZUS. It’s never been a genre in high demand from people outside of it.
So instead of waiting for them to knock on our door, we knocked on theirs.
They could’ve said no, and would have been justified if they did.
Who wants to worry about some holy rollers coming in town taking people to church? But you never know what will happen until you ask. Basically, instead of waiting to be invited to jump on their stage, we asked them for our own.
They said yes.
So that was the fist time in the festival’s history a gospel sanctioned event happened…
And it happened, because we asked.
Until the day you take your last breath, you’ll have a million reasons not to do something. And it don’t take long to pull them out. Fear always seems to make things very convenient. We get so good at excuses we start to believe them ourselves.
And if we’re super spiritual — you know the kind that even get on YOUR nerves — we’ll even find Bible verses to justify our lack of courage. So nothing gets done, the body of Christ becomes sterile and outdated, and the world picks up those dreams and ideas that we left abandoned on Regret Avenue.
Well, you’re too grown for this childish behavior.
People will get tired of you never moving and singing the same song of “why we can’t”. The Christian faith can sometimes do a bad job of that even when it comes to people accepting the father into their hearts. They hear more of what they CAN’T do after conversion than what they CAN. Everyone wants to be inspired to be better and not live the same life full of excuses. It’s time to have a funeral for the “I can’ts.” They’ve been alive for too long. Its time to have one good last cry, sing a sad song, buy some flowers for the casket, dig the hole, and push them into the ground.
Not trying doesn’t look good on you.
It makes you look weak, unattractive and not like your father.
It’ll take courage to refuse to let the lack of money, family support, or age stand in the way of having that funeral.
And don’t wait for anybody to give it to you. Build your own.
They won’t make your product. Make your own.
And I know… your dreams look a certain way. In your dreams, you accomplish your goal with more money, more convenience, less hassle.
If we can’t do it like we imagine it – right now! — we won’t do it at all.
Here’s the thing: revamped expectations does not equal failure.
Our event wasn’t packed at South by Southwest.
Bigger events happened at the same time.
But what we did was the stepping stone to the next one… and the next one. Maybe someday, they’ll be knocking on our door asking for a place at OUR table. If we would’ve let the crowd be the ruler to measure our success we’d give up and never try again.
But that can’t happen because we gave our excuses a funeral a long time ago.
Photography Credit: Shemaiah Production Studio, LLC: Photographer Debra Reed