It would be foolish of me to speak for the entire male gender, so I’m not gonna try. I AM gonna go ahead and speak for myself and other good, stand-up, Christian fellas out there though… Because I’m fairly certain they’ll agree with or at least relate to the following thoughts. I’m also going to assume that most of you reading this are female, because…let’s be honest…if you’re here, you clicked on a blog about “what a guy is looking for.” There could just as well be a blog post about what girls are looking for, but I’m not the person to write that one (maybe YOU are). That said, here are some things that go through our often-oblivious, but occasionally-observant male minds.
What we’re not looking for…
Essentially, everything that a guy finds unattractive in a girl is rooted in one thing…
When a girl is self-involved, speaks highly of herself, and puts others down to make herself feel better… It’s probably because she’s insecure.
When a girl is constantly putting herself down, making self-deprecating comments, and lacking self-confidence… It’s probably because she’s insecure.
When a girl acts provocatively, says things to get attention, and dresses to turn heads… It’s probably because she’s insecure.
When a girl is clingy, needy, desperate, and assumes the worst… It’s probably because she’s insecure.
When a girl has poor self-image, doesn’t think she’s pretty, and the way she presents herself doesn’t reflect how God views her… It’s probably because she’s insecure.
See a pattern? Of course, no one will ever be perfect, and we all have struggles (us guys have our fair share of insecurity issues, trust me). Regardless of male or female, nearly every word and action can be traced back to the way we view ourselves.
What we’re looking for…
A girl who knows who she is.
The only way a girl (or person, for that matter) can know who she is, is to understand how God sees her…
How does God see you?
He created you.
“For we are God’s masterpiece.” (Eph. 2:10a NLT)
He knows you.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” (Jer. 1:5a)
He loves you.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (John 15:9)
He thinks you’re beautiful.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Pet 3:3-4)
No seriously, He thinks you’re really beautiful.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14)
He gave His life for you.
“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8b)
He’s there for you.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him.” (Psalm 145:18a ESV)
He has plans for you.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11)
This is how God sees you. He sees a heart that He created and longs to have divine relationship with through Jesus. A person who has embraced that relationship and can grasp how valuable the heavenly Father says they are, is a person who can share in a healthy, earthly relationship…and that’s what the good guys are looking for.
A girl who understands how she’s viewed in the Lord’s eyes, can be irresistible to a guy whose eyes are on the Lord.
“Follow your heart.”
There are countless sappy songs, feel-good movies, and self-help books promoting this idea.
It sounds quite nice. The heart symbol is well-recognized, representing love and happiness. Even Proverbs 4:23 calls the heart the “wellspring of life.” It seems like a good, reputable thing to follow, right?
Here’s what we know:
- Jeremiah 17:9 says that the heart is “deceitful above all things…”
- Matthew 15:19 says, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts…”
- Even though Proverbs 4:23 (as previously mentioned) says the heart is the “wellspring of life,” that same verse also says to “GUARD your heart,” which at the very least, implies that the heart is weak and vulnerable.
What’s the point?
I’m not saying that the human heart is inherently evil. I’m saying that what our hearts are “telling us,” and what God is telling us, aren’t always necessarily the same thing. If you’re a Christian, your heart has been forgiven and redeemed (yay!)…but of course, that doesn’t mean our hearts aren’t capable of sin and selfishness. We’re prone to wander.
Don’t follow your heart. Lead it, as you follow Christ.
Concert choir, drama club, track team, youth group, church praise team…. These are just a few of the things that I found my identity in as a 17-year old highschooler. Just days before the start of my senior year, I found out my family was moving. I learned the hard way that the things I was placing my significance in, could be taken away in a blink.
I remember it vividly. My sister and I had just returned from youth group on a warm August evening in my hometown. The sun hadn’t yet set, when my dad called us into the living room. He was the pastor at our church and had been my entire life. Being the son of a preacher is all I knew. There was an unmistakable seriousness in his tone that was nearly frightening. I knew something big was about to be revealed. He asked us to sit down, and began to fight tears as mom joined us on the couch. He attempted to explain the details of a difficult situation they were going through at church. Mom interjected at times. After a few minutes of talking, tears were flowing pretty heavy from both of my parents. When they finished their piece about the church situation, my father delivered the words I feared were coming: We were moving. I was devastated. I was a week away from starting my senior year of high school and everything I knew was about to be stripped away.
Just 5 days later, I was sitting in a new school, hundreds of miles from what I knew to be home. I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time, but I was so bitter at my parents and God. I didn’t understand how they could let this happen. Deep down, I knew there was a bigger picture coming together in my life and the life of my family, but I didn’t want to see it. I wanted to be angry. As the first few months went by, I continued in my bitterness. I hated my new school and made no effort to make new friends.
One night about two months after we moved, I remember having a huge argument with my parents. I told them that they ruined my life. It was the biggest, loudest fight I can ever remember my family having. After the storm in our house had calmed a bit, my mom said something to me that I’ve never forgotten. Her voice trembling, she said “Son, I am so, so sorry that we’ve hurt you. I wish more than anything that we could have prevented this. But you have two choices. You can either continue to be angry and bitter at us and just get through this year, or you can hold your head up like a man, accept your circumstances and make the best of this situation.” That was tough to hear, but something about those words really hit me. Later that night when I was alone, I made a decision and prayed a prayer similar to this: “God, this hurts. I miss the way things were. I don’t know why this had to happen and I don’t understand what you’re trying to do, but I trust you. I’m gonna do my best.”
I began to let go of the bitterness. I stopped resenting my parents. I started opening myself up to some relationships at school. It wasn’t easy, but as I let go and changed my attitude, doors began to open. I began performing at school and playing in the chapel band. I got the lead in the school play. I even won winter homecoming king. All of these amazing blessings started falling into my lap. It turned out to be the most exciting and memorable school year I had ever had. It was as if God was saying “Caleb, just trust me. I know exactly what I’m doing.”
It was through this I learned that God’s plan is always better than mine. Sometimes change hurts, but that’s okay, because the growth you experience during the pain makes you stronger and more reliant on God. I learned that my identity isn’t found in where I live or what social groups I’m a part of, but in God and the work He has begun in me. He has a perfect plan for all of us. And if we let Him, He will be faithful to see it completed.
“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, ‘Do you understand what I have done to you?’” -John 13:12 (ESV)
Do we truly understand what Christ was doing here by washing His disciples’ feet? He was demonstrating His love with a bucket of water. Jesus understood the importance of serving others, because He VALUED people.
I’m afraid we don’t place enough value on people in our lives sometimes. I know I don’t. We forget that everything we do affects others. If you asked a mailman what he does for a living, he’d probably tell you that he picks up and delivers mail. If you asked a farmer what he does for a living, he’d probably say that he plants and harvests crops. What they may fail to include is the most important aspect of their job: how it affects people. While a mailman may deliver mail, what he’s actually doing is playing a part in keeping people, businesses, and organizations connected. His job affects how people in our society stay in contact. A farmer may raise crops, but what he’s really doing is growing a product that will eventually end up sustaining and nourishing people. EVERYTHING we do affects people in some way, either negatively or positively. It’s all about people.
In music, it’s so easy to get carried away with radio charts, record sales, and tour attendance. Numbers make us feel good. Slapping a figure on something strokes our egos. However, the ministry we do on the road can’t be measured. The smiles we give, the conversations we have, and the messages we share are ultimately what can affect a life for the better. It works the same way in any realm of life. Critical acclaim and success according to charts and lists is attractive, but if that’s where we find our motivation, then we’ve completely missed the love that Jesus was displaying in John 13. First and foremost, we are servants. The beautiful thing is we don’t have to do this alone. Jesus wants to wash the feet of others through us if we’re willing, but He’s not likely to use us if we don’t value people. So think about the people God has placed in your life, and grab a sponge…because after all, it’s all about people.
Well hello there. Let’s see… It’s late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning. Most of you are probably excited that the week is more than half over, and here my “work-week” is just about to start! We had the day off in Dallas today. I’m considering today a win in the record books because I got to go the Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop, where I spent my grandmother’s birthday money on a couple of new Cowboys hats (this is not to be confused with actual cowboy hats that cowboys wear). I’m a huge Cowboys fan. If you didn’t know that about me, you should. So now you do.
It’s been a fun week. Last Tuesday we shot a music video for our single “Can’t Shut Up” (check that off my life’s list of things to do). I’m constantly amazed at all of the fun things I’m getting to be apart of. We got to use flares and all sorts of fun stuff. I don’t wanna give away too much, because I want it to be a surprise. In the picture below, I’m behind the camera for my individual shoot. The person on the left is a stylist (who was trying to fix my crazy hair as I snapped the photo), and the person on the right is our fantastic director TK McKamy (check out his work… http://igoby.tk/).
Saturday was my 23rd birthday. I didn’t do anything TOO different or exciting that day, but a bunch of my beloved family came out to a show on Sunday that we played in Springfield, Missouri. It was so wonderful to see everyone. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to have a strong supportive family at home. Seeing my grandmother waving her hands in the air on front row at our concert is a memory I’ll treasure forever.
Oh, also… Very important news… I have a new nephew named Greyson and he’s pretty awesome. I haven’t met him yet because he lives in California, but I’m pretty sure he’s gonna change the world. He’s so cute.
Despite all the wonderful things that are going on in my life, I’m realizing human nature never changes. I always find myself battling two extreme mindsets. I either want to think I’m awesome and entitled to certain blessings, or I drift off the other direction and become self-conscious or insecure. Both of these are wrong. I’m not typically an arrogant person, nor am I usually an insecure person…but it’s weird how I can find myself having both of those attitudes at different points in a given day. God continually reminds me to find that sweet spot in the middle of being thankful and faithful with the resources and opportunities I’ve been given. It’s that beautiful middle where I know that God doesn’t need me to accomplish His plans, but where I also know that God wants to include me if I’ll let Him. Through this I’ve learned that being thankful and faithful is pretty much the best response to any situation. Thankful and faithful. Thankful and faithful. Thankful and faithful. Got it?
Ok ‘tis all from me. We always, always appreciate your prayers for health and safe travel…so please keep it up!
Go be thankful and faithful, ok? Cheers.
*Sigh* It’s 3:28 AM. We just wrapped up the third weekend of the Rock and Worship Roadshow Tour (and by “just,” I mean like 6 hours ago). I’m sitting with the fellas in the lobby of a Holiday Inn, waiting to catch a shuttle to the airport, so we then can catch a flight at 6:15 AM back to Nashville. This is a very unusual night, but I’m finding “usual” isn’t something you see a lot of on the road. I’ve been living on a tour bus, and that’s the thing that people always ask me about when talking about touring, so I thought I’d throw together a list of tour bus essentials for fun. These are things NOT to be without on a tour bus…
1. Earplugs. A must-have for any light sleeper. I pop these babies in at bedtime to block out noise from fellow travelers who don’t want to catch quite as many Zs.
2. Hand-sanitizer. I shake a lot of hands out here, and never know what I’m coming into contact with. There is running water on the bus, but it’s not worth the hassle sometimes. I keep a bottle of Purell handy at all times.
3. Granola bars. Large amounts of catered food are put in front of me three times a day, but if for some reason I miss one of these meals, it could be hours before I get another chance. I keep granola bars near for those emergency hunger moments.
4. Gum and mints. I make hundreds (maybe thousands) of first impressions each week. You only get one chance and fresh breath is a must. I keep a nice stock.
5. Slip-on shoes. In inclement weather your shoes get snowy and muddy. You can’t have that stuff on the bus, but you don’t want to tie and untie your shoes every time you climb on and off. Slip-on shoes make it easy.
So outside of the obvious essentials (Bible, iPod, Toothbrush), those are a few things that are nearly necessary on the tour circuit. I’m learning it’s always better to over pack, then under pack. When in doubt, throw it in the suitcase!
We have a couple days off from tour, but Tuesday we’re shooting a music video for one of our singles “Can’t Shut Up.” We’d appreciate prayers - that the shoot goes smoothly and that it can be used as another tool to get the message of hope in Jesus out to all who will watch/listen.
We’re gonna call this post “Quick Tour Update #2.”
Until next time.
We are currently under way on our 3rd weekend of the Rock and Worship Roadshow. We’re just arriving at the Sears Centre in Chicago, Illinois where we’ll play show #8. I’m so excited to be back in Chicago because when I was a kid we visited Chicago, and it was my FAVORITE family vacation ever. We went to Six Flags Great America, a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley, and went to the top of the Sears Tower. I loved it.
Last night we played in Dayton, Ohio, and it went really well. We ran into THREE different fans that we recognized by corresponding with them through twitter, facebook, or youtube. It’s amazing how you can see a familiar face in a random city, only to realize you’ve never even met that person. I love seeing fans in person that we’ve talked with online. So cool. On a side note, it was so cold. Some of us are still fighting sickness, so please pray for that!
Until next time.
p.s. We ran into these girls waiting in line last night. They did this awesome cover of our song “Circles” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAnSUBl73ts
I haven’t posted in a while (If I had a nickel for every time someone has opened a blog entry with that sentence…). I’m not certain why I’ve put it off. It’s not like my life has lacked activity lately. Perhaps that’s the very reason why I’ve haven’t posted. God has poured out so many blessings recently; I’m terrified that talking about it will be misconstrued as bragging or self-indulgence. That’s the last thing I want. I thank God daily for the amazing experiences I’m getting to have. He placed these dreams and desires in me as a child, and He’s been so faithful to see them fulfilled.
A lot of people have asked me what touring is like, since that’s what I’ve been up to. Granted I’ve only spent a total of about a week on a real living, breathing music tour, but it’s long enough to give you a quick run down of what my day looks like. For those curious minds, here it is…
I wake up in a different city every morning. That alone is very unnatural, yet really fun. The only true change you feel though is the weather. I usually awake, when I feel the rumbling of the rolling bus come to a stop. I remove the earplugs from my ears and half-jump, half-fall out of my bunk on the top level, where my feet meet a very cold bus floor. While others are still sleeping, I stumble to the back of the dark bus, where I manage to locate my shoes, and jacket (we’ve been in the north a lot lately. Winter clothes are a must). I also make sure to grab my tour pass. The arenas are heavily secured, and none of the security guards care what your name is or what band you’re in. You show your pass, or you don’t get in.
I hop off the bus that we share with one other band, and land in a little neighborhood of tour buses that have settled behind the venue. I make my way to the bay of our bus (the storage slot on the side), where I dig out my suitcase. Then I walk up to the arena, where tour crews are already hard at work setting up the stage, scurrying about with lights, and audio equipment, etc. Still half asleep, I look for signs that point me to the dressing room.
After finding a place where I can leave all of my stuff for the day, I follow the signs to the beloved catering room. By the time I get there, the breakfast items are pretty picked over, but I don’t care. I’m really only there for the much-needed coffee. I grab a cup to go and butter some toast. The time between breakfast and lunch is really the only down time of the day. I usually use this time for devotions, email checking, facebook, etc. We all eat lunch around noon. This is a good time to catch up with the other artists, musicians, and crew members. After lunch, the four of us in Anthem Lights set up our merchandise table. This was complicated for us at first, but we’re starting to get the hang of it. It takes about an hour and a half in total.
At 2 or 3 PM, we use as our workout time (as if loading and unloading a trailer weren’t enough). Some places have workout facilities; others, like beachside Biloxi, Mississippi, have great weather and a beach to go running on (which is what I did. It was amazing). After working out, we hit the showers and start getting dressed for the show.
By this time it’s about 4 or 5 PM. We’re in a hurry to get dressed, so we can make it outside to meet people waiting in line. We’re a new band, so we find it really helpful to go out before the show and meet as many people as we can. This is one of the most fun parts of the day. People start lining up outside as early as noon. By the time we get out there, there are hundreds and even thousands of people waiting to enter. We go up and down shaking hands, introducing ourselves, making conversation, and playing songs.
People generally respond well to this, especially if it’s cold. It takes their minds of the miserable weather. We try to get inside before the doors open so we don’t get trampled. Once back in the dressing room, we huddle up for the most important moment of the day, which is pre-show prayer. Finally, we go backstage where we get our microphones and packs, and prepare to perform. This is by far the most fun 15 minutes of the day.
After we perform, we relax back in the dressing room or grab some dinner in the catering room, until the end of the concert. After the last chord is played from the last band, we go out to our merchandise table where appreciated volunteers are hopefully selling t-shirts and wristbands with out name on it. For the next hour or two we meet people, thank them for coming, and sign autographs. I love this part.
After everyone leaves, we tear down our stuff, change clothes, pack up and climb back on the bus. We watch movies or play games, until we get tired. When I can’t keep my eyes open any longer, I journey back to my top bunk, and fall asleep. The next morning I do it all again.
That’s the gist of what my day looks like. I hope this didn’t completely bore you. Chances are if you’ve read this far, you were somewhat interested. I’ll try to keep posting fun little stories from tour. I’m truly having the time of my life. Please keep praying for us! Pray for emotional strength, as we’re away from our family and friends. Most importantly, pray that we will be invisible on stage, and people will walk away not thinking about us, but about the God we we’re singing about.
Songs are good at making you feel something. Most of the time you can’t even figure out why. Music is mysterious like that. Have you ever thought about why you like the kind of music that you like? I used to think that everyone listened to music the way that I did. I grew up listening to amazing singers. As a naïve pre-teen, the singer was all that mattered to me. Of course I wanted the lyrics to be meaningful and I probably loved great melodies on a subconscious level, but I only truly cared about what the vocalist sounded like. Hearing great singing made me feel happy, which is what made me want to sing. As a young kid, I didn’t understand the allure of rock bands, because the singers weren’t “as good.” I always thought if you were a singer in a rock band, then you just weren’t good enough to be a real singer (obviously now I know that’s not true…in most cases). I would sit and listen to Brian McKnight, Whitney Houston, Mariah, Justin, Christina, etc… (some of whom are amazing writers and instrumentalist in their own right, but I didn’t figure that out until later!). They could sing the alphabet for all I cared. That’s just how it was, until my appreciation for music developed.
Other people listen to music for other reasons. My dad, for example, really listens to lyrics. He would never say, “the drum pattern or groove really fits this melody” or “that guitar tone is fantastic.” He just wants the words to speak to him. If they do, then he likes the song. It’s that simple. Some people only really listen to the instrumentation, or the melody. They couldn’t care less what the words are about or how gifted the vocalist is. They just want the music to be what their emotions would sound like. They want the tune to make them feel good on a surface level, rather than filtering the meaning of the song through the psychoanalytic process. It’s different for everybody, which is what is so interesting to me about music. Almost everyone is affected by it, but in so many different ways.
It wasn’t until I started writing and playing did I start to recognize the genius that goes into writing interesting lyrics, based on well thought concepts. Until I tried to write a catchy melody, I didn’t appreciate the work involved in creating one! But as I’ve studied music and it’s creation, I’ve fallen even more in love and have an even greater appreciation for it. I liken this process to getting to know God. Did I love Jesus before I started to understand different facets of His greatness? Yes. But the more I’ve learned about His characteristics, and the more He’s showed His unconditional love for me, the more my love for Him has grown. That’s another thing I find interesting about music. It can teach me things like that indirectly, even when the volume is off.
Every time I think I have my musical tastes adequately defined, I find a new song that I love that doesn’t really fit in that box. Have you ever heard a song that recites back to you exactly what you’re feeling, as if somehow it knows? Every time I think I’m the only person in the world who understands my situation, somebody goes and writes a song that tells me exactly what I’m feeling.
Music can’t really be explained. It’s one of those gifts from God that can be used for His glory and our edification. It’s a language that everyone speaks and unlike anything else, it’s somehow linked to our emotions. There are times while I’m writing a song, when it doesn’t feel like I’m creating anything at all, but merely discovering something that existed all along. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a great song, but it’s as if the song was waiting there for me to find it, so it could bring me some level of comfort or personal fulfillment in that moment. Maybe it was. Or maybe it just feels that way. Music is mysterious like that.
What are some of your favorite memories? Do some enjoyable times come to mind? Now, how many of those memories were of you when you were alone? Probably none of them. I’ll bet the times that are dearest to you and stick out to you in your mind are the times you spent with other people, yeah?
I’ve been learning a lot about working in collaboration with others lately. Being in a band of four different, and unique people is such an amazing blessing. And with that, like any other endeavor comes distinct challenges. There are four different opinions, perspectives, and interpretations on every situation. It’s an interesting intersection where fellowship with brothers in Christ meets working with colleagues in business. It takes awareness to go out of your way to see one another’s point of view, but when that happens, the levels of respect for each other grows and a greater level of understanding of each other is acquired.
As well as working with the guys on a day-to-day basis, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in a lot of songwriting sessions here in town with established songwriters. It’s been an enriching experience. The most important thing I’ve learned from these sessions is that I need to surround myself with people who are gifted in other areas than I am. If I’m consistently drawn to people just like myself, I won’t complement the talents of those people as well as I might if they were different than I (and vice versa). It’s easy to want to be with people who see the world just like you do and have strengths in the same areas, but I’m finding that I learn and grow more when I spend time working with people unlike me. Not only do we produce a better product (in this case, a better song), but I gain a keener sense of myself and what I can bring to the table.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to surround yourself with people who are far MORE talented than you. Stop feeling intimidated, and start viewing working with more talented people as an opportunity to absorb everything they can teach you. Chances are, that person has just as much insecurity as you do, but perhaps in other areas. And hey… Maybe that person might even learn something from you!
At the end of your life, are you going to wish you had spent more time by yourself? Doubtful. You’re going to wish you had spent more time with people. We’re all going wish that we spent more time learning, growing, creating and ministering to people who need it.