I should have known. God had me pegged right from the start. My path, whichever way it turned, would always involve an effort to bring joy to people. Trying to run from it, trying to ignore it, was a futile as trying to run from God. You can’t run from something that’s an innate part of you. And nowhere was this more on display than in a grade school gym on August 9, 2001.
On that day, I was fulfilling a life-long dream. I was recording my first album! Since I was short on funds, I decided to organize a concert and record the album live. The plan was for another band to serve as the opening act, pause for a short intermission, and then my band would play our set. During that intermission, a friend of mine asked me if I was planning to play “Mexican Café”, a funny, but dumb song I made up during a retreat a few years prior. I told her that it wasn’t part of the set, because my intention was to make a serious Christian album. (This, of course, was a ridiculous answer because I was already planning to include “Chickenwire Joe” and “Matilda the Gorilla” on the album. Serious is not a word I would use to describe either one of those songs). Anyway, after some discussion, I agreed to play the song during a part of the concert where I had already planned to sing “Happy Birthday” to someone. The concert went very well, and a few weeks later, I found myself sitting with a guy named Joe, who would mix the album for me. As we listened to the various tracks, he asked me which songs were planned for the album. After I shared the list with him, he asked me about one other song he had captured. Sure enough, unbeknownst to me, “Mexican Café” had been recorded. I told him, “no”, it wouldn’t be on the album. He then asked, “Are you sure? The audience reaction to this song was the better than any other song.” I was stunned, but in the end, agreed to keep it as a “hidden track” at the end of the album.
This moment of my life is significant to me because it represents one of many times in which God reminded me of my gifts, reminded me of one of my vocations. For some reason, God created me to help spread joy. I often feel I am at my most effective when I am making people laugh or leading people in a song that lifts their spirits. I can and do write and lead solemn songs of prayer and worship, but I am always drawn back to that which spreads the humor and joyfulness of God. I’m sure my joking nature isn’t always appreciated, but I have been told countless times the positive effects my attempts to be jovial and funny have had on other people. I know it’s a gift and I know that gift needs to be shared for the glory of God.
What is that gift for you? Which part of your nature is so strong that it defines you? Could God be calling you to share more of it with the world?