Trading Inspiration

 

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about what inspires me.  With life running so fast, there’s little time and energy left once I’ve met my obligations. So it’s becoming more important to me that I not waste it with the mindlessness I have in the past.  I need to find things that are gonna fill me back up and ready me for what’s ahead… I need and want to be inspired.

 

I thought it would be nice to share some things that inspire us with each other.  I’ll start.

 

On his project, “Living Room Songs”, composer and pianist, Ólafur Arnalds, committed to writing one new song each day for a week.  At the end of each day, he gathered a small string section, and there in his living room, they recorded what he’d written that day.  At the end of the week, it was done, finished – created and shared with the world. And to me, it’s masterful.  Each note has purpose.  The melodies are unique.  Emotion is ever-present.  It takes me on a journey every time I listen. Sometimes it breaks my heart. Sometimes it heals it – but I always feel something.  I’m always inspired.

 

I’m inspired by what he was able to accomplish in a day – in a week.  And I can’t help but consider what I could do if I lived with that kind of intention and fearlessness.  If I’m honest, it’s scary for me to commit to something before I’ve got it figured out and know what the outcome will be.  Listening to this cd makes me want to fly without a net. And it makes me think I can.  It makes me braver.  Not because it’s perfect and grand – but because it’s imperfect, but still powerfully touching.

 

It’s beautiful in its imperfection. Each time the piano bench cracks, the pedal squeaks or a violin string falters in pitch for a moment, I smile to myself.  I love that they moved ahead, not feeling the need to repair or hide the ‘mistake’. And somehow, the song actually becomes more beautiful for it.

 

Just like you and me.

 

We spend so much of our lives trying to cover up our shortcomings, but what if we could just embrace them and move on?  What if we didn’t let them stop us?  What if they simply became part of the song we’re sharing?

 

Regardless of the type of music you like, I think almost everyone reading this will fall in love Living Room Songs by Ólafur Arnalds. It’s perfect background music, especially on rainy days, Saturday mornings, or when you have friends over for dinner.  It has become one of my favorites – because it’s more than a piece of music. It’s an exercise in fearlessness.

 

Look it up on Itunes, get it, and be inspired.  As you listen, consider that he wrote and recorded each song in a day.  And ask yourself…

 

What if I didn’t have to have it all figured out before I was willing to begin?

What if I were willing to fly without a net?

What could I accomplish if I committed to a deadline and kept it no matter what?

What if I lived my life with intention and focus?

What if I made peace with my imperfections and shortcomings?

What if I even embraced them and made them a part of my song?

What could I share with the world?

What might it inspire in others?

 

Your turn… What’s inspiring you these days?  Maybe it’s a book – maybe a song.  Maybe a person, or even a kind of pain.  Take a moment and tell us where you’re gathering strength and inspiration these days, especially if you think we might be helped by it too.  Then share this with your friends.  If we all join in, imagine the inspiration we could trade.

 

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20 thoughts on “Trading Inspiration

  1. karen says:

    I am deeply inspired by a little 1 1/2 year old baby boy, born blind, with other disabilities who continuously teaches me what it means to ” see “. He can’t see, nor can he do things other little ones do,including walk, or crawl, but he hears, and he smiles, and he shows me that life isn’t about doing ,it’s about experiencing , and learning from the sounds that are around him. And as he laughs, and he smiles,he inspires all of us that know he, and his parents just because of his perception of what it means to live freely.

  2. Rebecca Vajdos says:

    Bird by Bird (writing advice by Anne Lamott). This book is my soulmate. I had to stop reading after 5 pages because I suddenly had so much to write. I kept reading, and will surely continue to re-read it for the rest of my life.

    Every one of your blogs has been refreshing and inspiring, Chance– thank you for sharing your thoughts so faithfully.

  3. What is inspiring me is learning to play guitar for the first time. I am rediscovering my creative side and remembering what made me fall in love with music and life!

  4. Dian Belbeck says:

    I am continualy inspired by my precious grands. They call me to be my best. They call me to new adventures. They call me to be fearless. They call me to look at ‘old things’ with new eyes. They call me to take our God at His word.
    And–I LOVE the picture at the beginning of this post!
    Oh yes–and I LOVE you!!

  5. Kristin says:

    I have a new found friend that is inspiring me these days. Their willingness to be completely vulnerable and open during a difficult season makes me want to try to be vulnerable myself even though I have a fear of being rejected or hurt.

  6. Kristi says:

    Thank you, Chance, for inspiring us to seize the day…embrace the call…take a leap of faith!

    That opens the door for God to do “immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine”!

  7. Jeannie Androsoff says:

    The older I get, the more I am inspired by true authenticity. It takes courage to REALLY show up and be 100% yourself in a world that seems to demand perfection, or looking like one “has it all together”. I believe that God’s grace is most available to us when we are authentic – with Him and with others. He has no interest in supporting our pretense, but when we are real, He is too! Sometimes it requires humility, sometimes a difficult conversation that we would prefer not to have, sometimes it means saying no and disappointing someone, but whatever it is, living from the heart, and being true to one’s self is the life that is really worth living. Chance, YOU are living that life!!

  8. Rodney says:

    Certain phrases in different conversations that I have been a part of have been very inspiring to me. An example, just today a friend had said, “that the true litmus test of love is when someone still admires you even when u are at your lowest.”
    Wow! That’s a deep statement when you think about it. Jesus loved us and admired us so much at our lowest, that he chose to lay down his life for us to atone our sins. I think about how many times I really screw up in my marriage and my wife still admires me as a person and looks past my flaws.

  9. Elaine says:

    What inspires me? People. People inspire me….like the young friend of mine whose name I wore on my back as I ran the Race For The Cure 5K this past Saturday in Atlanta. She fought like a girl and has won her battle against breast cancer. On days when I want to complain about being tired or I’m having a bad hair day?? Uh uh, none of that!! And then there’s the young lady I know that is currently parenting her parent because her mom doesn’t have her head on straight. And then there’s Katie Davis (“Kisses From Katie” – if you haven’t read it, stop what you’re doing NOW and go buy it or download it and read it) who gave it all up to live in Uganda to love people and teach them about a Savior that loves them.
    And then there’s this young man that he and his sister used to sing at Orange Hill Baptist Church on Sunday mornings when they were in high school, and it always blessed me beyond words (I miss those days terribly) and he went on to follow his dream and his passion and his calling and I do believe he is right in the center of God’s will for his life……yep, you inspire me, Chance Scoggins :)

  10. Deeob says:

    Why is it every time I read one of your blogs….I cry! I guess because you reach down into the soul of a person as you share your soul. thank you Chance! :-)

  11. Jacquelyn MacDonald Anderson says:

    I make homemade soap and lately I am inspired by colors.

  12. Anna says:

    Chance, I find your blog so inspiring. I have been asking God for the last year to give me music. I would love to write. That has never been something that I can do, but it is a hearts desire. The last few weeks I have taken my keyboard out on the front porch and just played what ever I feel as I watch the sunset. I have to say it has been amazing to just play as I feel the inspiration. Not there yet, but I know God gives us the desires of our heart.

  13. Lilly says:

    I find inspiration in the quiet moments with God. I’ve been home the last few days recovering from an injury and at first I was restless. Then meditating on the Word, reading positive quotes and journaling have been very soothing to my soul.

  14. Anna-Emily says:

    It’s a wonderful idea to think about things that inspire people! I thought it over for a while before starting to write this comment. I found out simple things inspire me. They are so familiar but they never fail to make me feel blessed. The first thing that inspires me is the sound of piano. I’ve started learing it some weeks ago and everytime the way it sounds makes me want to learn to play more songs. Another thing is warm summer evenings when the sun is slowly goes down, the shadows get longer and the air smells fantastic. It’s a perfect time to take a walk then come back home, open the window, grab a pen and a notebook and start writing. Bright sunbeams that appear after a cloudy morning, sudden thunderstorms, rainy nights and the way it smells after the rain – all those things inspire me as well. There’s so much more! Thanks for inspiring me to think about all these!

  15. Tara says:

    I too, am inspired by music… all types of music. It speaks to me sometimes more than the spoken word can! MUSIC is such a gift to so many people. Thanks for sharing this with us Chance. I will go listen to your inspiration now.

  16. mark says:

    I am inspired by you Chance!

  17. Matt says:

    A friend of mIne introduced me to Barbara Brown Taylor, an author who combines a scholarly knowledge of Biblical history and context with a spiritual sensibility and heart that never cease to blow me away. She takes all to familiar biblical stories and retells them with fresh insight in a way that I’ve never heard before. I feel like the Bible is becomIng real and truly precious to me like never before. An absolutely fantastic devotional – start with “home by another way”. Her book, “an altar in the world” is more chapter-structured, and equally fantastic.

  18. Great post, Chance! My writing mentor always says, “Leap, and the net will appear.” I am an emotional writer, so I find inspiration wherever I am: exercising outdoors, in church, seeing new places, from friends or family. I was recently diagnosed with cancer and that has led to lots of new writing avenues. Thanks for your inspiration!

  19. Eva says:

    Great blog, Chance! Where do I go for inspiration? The first thing that came to mind was a gift from my mom. I find myself going back to an old book called “First We Have Coffee” – Margaret Jensen has a way of stretching my heart…challenges me to live stronger. And to not give up. On anything. Or anyone. Ever. It’s subtitled “Life Lessons from Mama” – you should read it…it’s rich!

  20. Judy says:

    What inspires me?….YOU!
    *I don’t have to have it all figured out, but I am willing to begin.
    *I will fly without a net.
    *I will commit to a deadline and kept it no matter what.
    *I will live my life with intention and focus.
    *I will make peace with my imperfections and shortcomings.
    *I will embrace them and made them a part of my song.
    *I will share with the world, with hope it will inspire others.

    :-) xo

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