"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Leaving My Comfort Zone (Giveaway!)

When I went to bed last night, I set my alarm for 9 A.M.

It went off right on time,

Playing music from the local Christian radio station.

I snuggled in bed,

Under all my warm covers,

Thinking "Just ten more minutes."

It wasn't that I was tired,

It was that I was comfortable.

Once I get out from under those snuggly blankets,

I know I'm going to be cold.

I don't want to be cold.

I want to be comfortable.

So I stayed in bed.

I stayed in bed until it was 10:00 and my alarm turned itself off.

I stayed in bed until I'd fallen back asleep and woken up again.

By then it was after eleven.

I had to get up.

See, I like to be comfortable.

Sometimes that leads to staying in bed an extra hour . . . or two.

Sometimes it leads to eating a snack an hour before dinner time.

Often it leads to me not answering questions in class,

Not speaking up during a discussion,

Not asking to have lunch with someone I'd like to get to know better,

Not stepping out and trying things that will scare me.

I.  Am.  Shy.

When I say that, I don't mean that you could be my best friend and I'd still hardly say a word to you.

I'm shy around people I don't know,

Shy when I want to share something others might not want to hear,

Shy when I make myself vulnerable and play a song that others might very well hate.

I'm shy.

And I don't know why God would take a shy person like me

And then lead me to write and share music -

Write and share myself -

Other than He uses weakest of the weak,

The most unlikely of all,

Just to show how great He is.

And if my music is ever going to go anywhere,

It will be solely because of how great He is,



I'm scared.

I'm scared to leave my comfort zone,

To put my music out there,

To ask people to pay money for something I'm not sure is any good,

To try to advertise something I'm not sure is any good,

To ask people to help me spread the word about this when they might not even like it,

To walk into a world that will require me to step outside my comfort zone for the rest of my life,

In writing,

In singing,

In performing,

In marketing.

But that's where I feel He's leading me,

So, as much as I would like to run away sometimes, I'm not going to.

And I know I shouldn't be scared,

That "Don't worry about anything" is a command,

That my fear means I don't trust Him enough.

Well, honestly, I don't.

I'm trying, but I still have so much to learn,

And I think the first thing I need to learn is how to step outside my comfort zone,

To take these risks that scare me,

And watch Him come through,

Because He will.

On a long drive home last Friday night

I sat in a van with several of my friends from school,

Some people from a church I attend regularly,

And I decided to work on a song

So that I wouldn't have to do it when I got back to my house at 4 on Saturday morning.

As I sat down and started thinking, a line popped into my head.

It wasn't exactly what I was feeling, but it had potential.

I went with it.

I chose my words carefully,

Putting rhymes in the middles of lines, not just the ends.

When I finished, I reread it.

And then I stepped out of my comfort zone.

I asked if anyone would critique it for me.

The person next to me took the book and read the song,

Said, "It's really good."

The people behind me insisted that I sing it.

I don't like singing songs that I've just written.

Even though the melody comes with the words,

It's hard to remember the melody I started with once I get to the second verse

When I haven't had the time to think about it and get it into my head.

So I warned them,

Asked the copilot to turn down the music he was playing for a couple of minutes,

And I sang,

And when I finished

They all clapped.

I couldn't believe it!

I'd just sang a song I wrote in a little over half an hour,

Hadn't really fixed yet,

And I'd probably sung parts of it incorrectly,

And they all clapped for me.

I asked what I could do better.

Most didn't have any suggestions.

One mentioned two lines that sounded "elementary",

Changing the melody on the refrain the last time through.

I thought hard and changed the lines,

Gave him the new version for approval,

And he did approve.

As if that wasn't enough,

Sunday night I went to church

And one of my friends asked if she could hear the song sometime.

She'd been in the van, but too far away from me to listen.

She said the driver had told her that the song was "incredible".

I could not believe it.

I would never describe one of my songs like that!

I was just blown away by the fact that people actually liked it -

And, apparently, they liked it a lot.

God has been showing me His faithfulness in this this past week.

Every single time I've stepped out of my comfort zone, there have been results.

I sent out an email to the 43 people who had downloaded my music off NoiseTrade,

Shyly, quietly letting them know I had a new album out,

And two people had downloaded the album by the next day.

Now, that might not sound like a lot,

But, to me, the fact that two people like my homemade music enough to download more of it -

Well, it's incredible!

And that's only the beginning of it!

The more I step out,

The more I learn of His faithfulness,

Of His trustworthiness.

He is so faithful!

So, now, dear reader, I am stepping out of my comfort zone again,

This time to ask for your help.

If I'm really going to do what I feel He's calling me to do,

I kind of need people to know I exist,

That I'm writing this music,

Trying to share it with people.

So, if you haven't yet, read this post about my new CD,

(My biography might be helpful, too.)

Go to either my NoiseTrade page or my Bandcamp page,

(Speaking of pages, I also have a new Facebook page!)

Listen to the CD (in its entirety - for free!),

And then write a review of it.

It doesn't have to be long.

It doesn't have to be all about how wonderful it is.

Be honest.

Be sincere.

Critique it for me.

But let people know it exists, and where they can get it.

You could write a blog post,

Or just write a few words on Facebook.

Be creative.

If you can get the link to what you've written

(And, if you post on Facebook or use another social networking site that uses brief messages, copy and paste what you wrote in addition to giving the link)

And put it into a comment,

Leave that comment on my blog by next Wednesday (January 16th),

I will put your name in for a giveaway.  (My first ever!)

(If your review talks in-depth about each and every track on the album, I'll put your name in three times.

If you share about the album in more than one place, I'll put your name in once for each place you shared.)

For every ten people that share about my album,

I will randomly select (using a computer program) one person to receive a free copy of the new CD.

I will mail it to you with my eternal gratitude.

And, if you really like the CD (or if you just really believe in my potential), I'll sign it for you.

Just, please, if you would share?

We independent artists don't have fancy marketing departments working for us.

We rely on the fans,

And, right now, I honestly don't have that many.

So would you help me?


I am so grateful for each and every one of you.

(Whether you help or not.)

God bless you, friends!

Reasons 2803-2861 today,

Starting this new habit of stepping out of my comfort zone,

Learning how to trust in who He is:

  1. His city is beautiful in its loftiness (Psalm 48:1-2)
  2. His city is the joy of the whole earth (Psalm 48:1-2)
  3. He is in the citadels of His city (Psalm 48:2-3)
  4. He has shown Himself to be the fortress of His city (Psalm 48:2-3)
  5. When kings see His city, they are astounded (Psalm 48:4-5)
  6. When kings see His city, they flee in terror (Psalm 48:4-5)
  7. When kings see His city, trembling seizes them (Psalm 48:4-6)
  8. When kings see His city, pain like that of a woman in labor seizes them (Psalm 48:4-6)
  9. He destroys kings like ships of Tarshish (Psalm 48:4-7)
  10. He destroys kings like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind (Psalm 48:4-7)
  11. He makes His city secure forever (Psalm 48:8)
  12. His people meditate on His unfailing love (Psalm 48:9)
  13. His praise reaches to the ends of the earth (Psalm 48:10)
  14. His right hand is filled with righteousness (Psalm 48:10)
  15. Mount Zion rejoices because of His judgments (Psalm 48:11)
  16. The cities of Judah are glad because of His judgments (Psalm 48:11)
  17. He is His people's God for ever and ever (Psalm 48:14)
  18. He will be His people's guide even to the end (Psalm 48:14)
  19. He redeems His people from the realm of the dead (Psalm 49:15)
  20. He will surely take His people to Himself (Psalm 49:15)
  21. He is the Mighty One (Psalm 50:1)
  22. He speaks and summons the earth (Psalm 50:1)
  23. He speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets (Psalm 50:1)
  24. From Zion, perfect in beauty, He shines forth (Psalm 50:2)
  25. He comes (Psalm 50:3)
  26. He comes and will not be silent (Psalm 50:3)
  27. A fire devours before Him (Psalm 50:3)
  28. Around Him a tempest rages (Psalm 50:3)
  29. He summons the heavens above (Psalm 50:4)
  30. He summons the earth (Psalm 50:4)
  31. He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that He may judge His people (Psalm 50:4)
  32. The heavens proclaim His Righteousness (Psalm 50:6)
  33. He is a God of Justice (Psalm 50:6)
  34. The heavens proclaim His Righteousness, for He is a God of Justice (Psalm 50:6)
  35. He testifies against His people (Psalm 50:7)
  36. He brings no charges against His people concerning their sacrifices, which are ever before Him (Psalm 50:8)
  37. He brings no charges against His people concerning their burnt offerings, which are ever before Him (Psalm 50:8)
  38. He has no need of bulls from His people's stalls (Psalm 50:9)
  39. He has no need of goats from His people's pens (Psalm 50:9)
  40. Every animal of the forest is His (Psalm 50:10)
  41. The cattle on a thousand hills are His (Psalm 50:10)
  42. He knows every bird in the mountains (Psalm 50:11)
  43. The insects in the fields are His (Psalm 50:11)
  44. If He were hungry, He would not tell His people (Psalm 50:12)
  45. The world is His, and all that is in it (Psalm 50:12)
  46. If He were hungry, He would not tell His people, for the world is His, and all that is in it (Psalm 50:12)
  47. He does not eat the flesh of bulls (Psalm 50:13)
  48. He does not drink the blood of goats (Psalm 50:13)
  49. His people call on Him in the day of trouble (Psalm 50:15)
  50. He delivers His people when they call on Him in the day of trouble (Psalm 50:15)
  51. He delivers His people, and they honor Him (Psalm 50:15)
  52. The wicked person has no right to recite His laws (Psalm 50:16)
  53. The wicked person has no right to take His covenant on their lips (Psalm 50:16)
  54. He arraigns the wicked one (Psalm 50:21)
  55. He sets His accusations before the wicked one (Psalm 50:21)
  56. He tears those who forget Him to pieces (Psalm 50:22)
  57. He tears those who forget Him to pieces, with no one to rescue them (Psalm 50:22)
  58. Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor Him (Psalm 50:23)
  59. To the blameless He shows His salvation (Psalm 50:23)

(Sylvia's already made it to - past - 10,000!  So amazing to think of who He is like this!)

<a href="http://maryschieferstein.blogspot.com/search/label/10000%20Reasons" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8zkGH23srZ8/T2i3Bun0O9I/AAAAAAAABSw/8giPvnJmCPI/s320/10000ReasonsButton.jpg" /></a>

Counting in community:

Also linking up over here,

Walking with Him in new habits,

Struggling to leave my comfort zone behind.

Would you take time to read some of the other posts?

It'll mean the world to those bloggers if you'd read,

Maybe even comment?

Thank you so much!

Linked up here, too, once I discovered it.

This dream of mine is definitely God-sized.

No one but Him could ever make all this work!

And He has truly amazed this week!!!



kelli woodford said...

Hi Mary! So nice to meet you!
It is crazy how much my post and your new album seem to be thematic cousins. So glad you stopped over to my place and introduced yourself today. I am blessed to see such lovely, honest lyrics and melodies from such a young person. Really. If you don't mind, I will share your new album on fb, in case any of my friends would be interested.
Bless you and congrats on your new release! :)

Susan said...

Hi Mary,
I'm linking up from Ann's site. Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone and sharing your heart. It's clear that God has given you a gift and wants you to share it.

Blessings to you as you step out in obedience!
Susan in VA

Mary said...

Hello, Kelli!

Yes, it was pretty crazy! Definitely a work of God! So beautiful how He does these things!

I'm glad I stopped by, too! Your post really was a blessing to me! I've bookmarked your blog so I can stop by more often!

Thank you so much! It's good to hear other people's opinions about my music - especially when they're good ones! It's easy for me to be overly critical of myself and believe that none of my songs are any good.

Yes, please, share it wherever and however you want! Knowing that you want to do that means more than you know! And please come back here and share it with me!

God bless you, friend, and many, many thanks!

Mary said...

Hello, Susan!

Oh, Ann's blog is one of my favorites! Thank you for visiting here, finding me in the midst of all those links!

Also, thank you so much for your encouragement! It really means a lot to me!

Blessings to you, too friend!

Christina said...

I feel exactly the same about my writing. But God likes to work through the weak, the unlikely, those whom the world thinks wont make it. I'm looking forward to hearing your work! I know God will use you to bless many and bring Him glory.

Pam said...

Mary, this post really hit home with me on several levels. I have felt shy the way you describe. I too, feel called to writing and putting myself out there. I know what you mean about feeling unsure of what to charge, if people will really like it etc. I just experienced that with my artwork, totally underselling myself because I didn't know if people would really think it worth it. God used my neighbor to help me see that worth by what she was willing to pay me. I want to listen to your music...been trying to set up some speakers on this old computer and when I do, I will listen. I think music is one of the greatest gifts! Blessings to you... and I'm so glad you stopped by at my site too!

Mary said...

Thank you, Christina! It's good to know I'm not the only one! It really is amazing - the way He works through the weak and the unlikely - it's just harder when He's asking to do it in your life than when you're looking at someone else's.

Thank you! I'm glad to be able to share it with you! I hope He does bless people through this, and get glory. It would be such a privilege to be a part of that!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Mary said...

Oh, Pam, thank you so much! It's so good to know that someone else has had similar experiences, fears, and insecurities to my own. It is amazing how He uses the people in our lives to show the value of what we're doing, though. The response to this post in and of itself - and only hours after publishing it - has just blown me away!

I can't wait to hear what you think of my music - both the good and the bad. I think music is one of the greatest gifts, too, and being able to share my music with others is one of the greatest privileges I could ever imagine - even if it scares me sometimes.

God bless you, friend, and thank you so much for stopping by!

Pam said...

Mary, I just posted a referral link to your post here and to another blogger - just because I liked what you each shared and wanted to pass it on... :) Hope it brings even more to you!

Mary said...

Oh, thank you so much for all those kind words, Pam! It is truly amazing that God can take my small, imperfect efforts and use them to speak to others. Thank you for the link to the other post, as well. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

sonyamacdesigns said...

Yes, HE is ever so faithful!

hlb said...

Thanks for bravely putting these words out there, Mary. They resonate deeply with me; you're not alone in your journey of stepping out, having a God-sized dream. Don't give up! Persevere, sweet sister.

Mary said...

Hello, Sonya!

Yes, He is! So wonderful to not just know it, but see it!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Mary said...

Hello, hlb! I'm glad God used my imperfect words to bless you. Thank you so much for your encouragement! I always need all I can get. God bless you, friend!

Deena said...

Dear Mary, I loaded your music to my MP3 player I will listen to it at work tomorrow and give you a review.

Mary said...

Oh, thank you so, so much, Deena! I can't wait to hear what you think!!!

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