A large part of my working life is spent around music. I am employed by Edgewater Covenant Church as the Worship and Ministry Director, an appropriately vague title implying I lead the “Worship Ministry” (read: music, arts, service planning, among other things), as well as doing lots of other stuff. Currently I am employed 3/4 time at Edgewater, and with my remaining time I work at Clubhouse Studios, a live event recording company in Livermore. A large part of my role at Clubhouse is mixing, editing, and other post-production work. It is a lot of fun, and a great challenge. I love being able to work with music; to tweak and shape sounds to reach what I think is the best outcome. But it is a time consuming, nebulous process. There is no formula to a good mix. Every project is different. Every project has different instrumentation, different sounds, different colors. I love that. But it does mean that every project starts from scratch. And every project I learn more during the process.
I mostly learn by doing things the “wrong” way multiple times until it is better. I say “wrong” not because there is a “right” way, but because I don’t like the outcome. There is no “right” way, but there are lots of “wrong” ways.
I was thinking this morning how much mixing is like life, and how similar my own personal and spiritual growth is to a big mixing project. I imagine God being the mixing engineer, and me being the mix. There’s a song I’ve been working on for months in my down time, independently. I have made countless changes, and “finished” it a hundred times. Each change takes work, attention, and intention. I carefully listen, craft, change, and sometimes outright start over with sounds or tracks. I have had probably 20-30 rough mixes I thought might be finished. I would put it on my phone, and take it to my car to listen and hear something off and go and change it. I am finally at a place that I am pleased with the mix, but I was wrong 19-29 times. I imagine if the mix were sentient it would be frustrated and confused what I was doing all this time.
Enter my metaphor from this morning. Imagine the mix were sentient, and able to change itself. It would try, and with great passion and honesty, to get itself to the best place possible. It would see the changes I made as random, sometimes painful and frustrating delays towards its beautiful end. It would undo things I had done. It would try silly things that make no sense (I know, because I do that all the time). Ultimately, it would work itself into exhaustion while not really improving anything. It would become bitter, and resent me, The Mixer, for letting things get so bad. It would look to other songs with envy, wondering why it can’t just sound like Fall Out Boy, or Bruno Mars, or The Who.
Here’s my point:
I don’t understand how or why God does what He does in my life. Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is hard. I often wish I had the life of That Person, or Those Folks. I get frustrated that I can’t get out of a rut, or I feel trapped or attacked. Why would God do this? Why can’t it be easy??
If God and His Goodness are greater than mine, it is very possible that my view of my life is hopelessly myopic, unable to see what is actually going on in the whole. God is making changes, however small, working towards something. He is tweaking, adjusting, reinforcing, rebuilding, restoring. He is crafting the song of my life. He won’t stop until He is satisfied. He is mixing my character, my heart, and my life.
The good news is He is a much better Mixer than I am.
He doesn’t make mistakes, but He has to correct and rectify the mistakes that I make myself.
I’m excited to hear the end result.