No more being afraid!

The recovery period began. The accident was fresh in my bones and definitely deep down in my neck. I was on serious pain meds and seeing a chiropractor every other day for 6 months. I tried to go back to work, which was installing floor covering, but by mid week, I was so worn out and then sleeping all weekend long. I lived on ibuprofen. I needed about 12 a day and that was before I would try to go to sleep.

Finally Donna and I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t do this. Maybe I was messed up for good. We weren’t sure but what we did know was that I couldn’t recover while doing the same physical job that I was before the accident.

I remembered a few years back in Indiana when I heard about this guy named Dan Miller. He had this book called “48 days to the work you love”. I figured if I was changing jobs I might as well find one that I loved. So I picked up his book at the library and started reading.

I went through all the tests and read the book twice. Everything came back the same stronger and stronger. I wanted to be a musician. Same as always. I’ve always wanted to play music. I was writing songs way back when I was 12. They were horrible songs but I was writing nonetheless. I knew this was what I wanted to do but now the cards were even more stacked against me. We had a brand new baby, Lyssa. She made that 5 children in our house. We lived out in the suburbs of Chicago in  Aurora, IL and the cost of living was so high that I was working 50 hour weeks at a really good paying job just to make ends meet. So I must really be out of my mind thinking that I can do this now. I knew I should’ve been more assertive while I was single and younger. Surely God or karma wouldn’t give me a second chance at music. I’d wasted so many opportunities.

Of course growing up I had heard every word that people would say about wanna be musicians, “You’ll need to get a real job someday”, “You’ve got great talent but you’ll never be able to pay the bills doing music”, and many such phrases that stick inside you like briars when you walk through the weeds. So easily stuck and so hard to dig out of your soul.

I think the most interesting part of that whole process was challenging my thinking that I had about God and life. It wasn’t God’s fault, I was a lazy youth and a lazy musician growing up. I had the talent and I think that’s actually what set me back. I didn’t have a good work ethic to go along with the talent and so my talent got wasted on thinking that my dream would just come to me. But nonetheless, I still thought that God gave me something, like a carrot before the donkey, that I would ever reach for but was not meant to have on this earth.

It took a long time and many hours of listening to motivational speakers to finally start to believe again that just maybe my musical talent was given to me for a purpose. So God attacked the weakest place in my life right then and there. He put the story of the talents in front of me. In this story there were 3 people who were given “talents” to invest while the master went away. Two of them multiplied their talents and gave them back to the master when he returned. The final one, who was given the least, which I find very interesting too, buried his. The master asked why he didn’t do more with what he’d been given. The man replied, “I was afraid“. I’m sure in some respects he felt slighted as well that he was given less than the others and so why bother.

Then God asked me the question, “What have you done with what I gave you”? “Very little” I replied. Then he asked, “Why”? I had no other answer but “I was afraid” and that just wasn’t good enough for me, for my family, and for God, the giver of the talent. At the age of 35 I decided that was not what I wanted as my legacy to my children or in the world or before my God and savior who gave me so much more than musical talent. He gave me a story of redemption. A story of hope. New beginnings and a meaningful existence that would be more than just earning money to get my family things they wanted. After the accident, I needed a life with substance.

I decided then and there that I will no longer be the lazy sod who buried his talent because he was afraid. No more! No more fear! No more doubt! No more believing that I’m not good enough!

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  • Mike Tiefenbach
    Mike Tiefenbach Bridgman


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