Getting off the performance treadmill

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In this video, Dick Ryan addresses an issue all too common among artists: the problem of defining our identity (personhood) by our successes or failures in our art (performance). Dick Ryan compares this mentality to an upside down pyramid, very unstable and insecure, resulting in fear, perfectionism, anxiety, self-centeredness, slavery, and jealousy.

We then discussed what it would look like to turn the pyramid right-side-up, if our personhood was grounded and secure and our performances were simply the overflow of our lives. Words that would describe such a person include: confident, joyful, peaceful, hopeful, and free.

Dick then posed the question: How do we get from one pyramid to the other? Some of the responses included being willing to have our pyramids toppled and set right side up, being open to God changing our hearts. Others included relinquishing control of the outcome of our own performances, which we cannot control, and simply doing our duty with what we have been given to do. Or letting our performances be a gift we offer to others out of love.

We will continue discussing more aspects of this picture as the series progresses. Join us next week!

FCM Meeting 11.3.13: Grace for the Perfectionist

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Perfectionism is easier than being who we are:  imperfect beings.  Perfectionism says, “I can control everything and make it perfect to my standards.  I can cover up my faults and appear successful.”  However, it is harder to admit that we are imperfect and to accept God’s grace.  We lose the ability to control and become vulnerable.  However, this vulnerability is something very beautiful because it shows other people that we are not afraid of our failures.  It reveals who we really are, people that are imperfect but being molded slowly into the image of Christ.  This vulnerability is scary, but it truly allows us to connect with people and not put up a façade.  Additionally, realizing that we and everyone else are imperfect helps us share the grace that Christ has given us to other people.

In music, this means being vulnerable for our audiences and knowing that, while we work hard for excellence, it is okay to be imperfect and make mistakes.  By replacing our perfectionistic standards with God’s grace, we can give our music as a gift to the audience instead of an art that is focused on ourselves.

Imperfection is beautiful because if we were perfect, we would have no need for the redemption of Christ.  True, we would still be in the Garden of Eden.  However, we would not have experienced the greatest love story of all time.

I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.