I started out thumping on a mandolin and then a guitar when I was child. My brother had a mandolin and so I learned a few chords and then eventually learned a few chords on a guitar. My first cousin James Webb across the road where I was raised in Stidham, Ky., taught me G, C and D, E and A and I was on my way. I played music and basketball as a kid and not always in that order. Music was something I could do regardless of the weather and basketball was just great exercise and fun. I only had one television channel and watched plenty of TV but my hobbies of music and ball were clean and entertaining. My father found things for me to do to like mowing lots of grass with a push mower and cutting bushes on hillsides. Life was good.
I had some friends I played music with growing up. We weren’t that great but we played music together for hours and had a lot of fun. Music or playing ball never got us in trouble. Our energy was focused on being creative and having good fun.
I put my guitar down when I was about 16. I had played for about eight years and was getting better. I had a cheap electric guitar that came from G.C. Murphy’s and James; an instrument craftsman today, eventually made me one. By the time I was 18 I had given up music and traded that guitar to my brother Clyde for an eight-track tape player. Yes, really stupid.
I started speaking in church when I was 16. Yes, I was too young but youth always excels and is greatly sought after. Churches and organizations are starved for youth who stand up and demonstrate leadership. By the time I was 17 I had an old car and was driving everywhere preaching sermons and speaking to church groups. Several small churches called me to serve as their pastor and they all came back to life. I enjoyed it. I still enjoy it today. After 40 years I still am thrilled to talk about God’s grace and love in most any pulpit in America. I have not found any place today that is not starved for grace and love. For 15 years I have been privileged to work with men and women around the planet who are training for Christian service and ministry. I have a great privilege.
However, as I said many years ago I had laid down my guitar. Most of the church people were glad about that because I didn’t play traditional church songs. Over the years I totally lost my ability to sing in front of people. I actually tried a few times and I was a nervous wreck. I had lost it. The old saying is true if you don’t use it you will lose it.
The way to get better is to keep trying. Over the last five years or so I’ve sung in front of several groups and messed up plenty. However, in the process of trying I’ve regained my confidence, which is the coolest part of it all. It’s been like climbing a mountain in a way.
I may never sing in front of a group again and we never know. However, I don’t worry that much about messing up. I just have fun. Doing something we enjoy is what it’s all about.
Find something to do that inspires and motivates you. It may be writing, golf or gardening. You need a meaningful hobby and an outlet of your energy. Have some fun; it’s good for you.
Glenn Mollette is the author of 12 books. His column is read in 50 states.