Stuff you learn doing (attempting) custom guitars 2.

Ohhh, yeah…


Survey the magnificence. That, my friends, is project ‘warhark’. Ain’t she a beaut? of course that picture was taken with all bits having arrived in mail and the paint job finished. It’s now drying off its 3rd coat of lacquer before things are wired in and bolted together.

For the guitar nerds; (For everyone else just skip to the first point below) we’re talking; a 2005 Squire ’51, one of a very limited number they made with that birdseye maple fingerboard. It’s been hotted up with:

  • Scahller stainless steel locking tuners
  • Seymour Duncan Hot Rails neck pickup.
  • Seymour Duncan Distortion bridge pickup.
  • Bigsby b5 tremolo
  • 500k volume pot with coil splitting on both p/ups.
  • ….and of course custom paint job

So it’s been a bit of a journey. Like all journeys things have been learnt along the way. Here’s two so far.

1. I don’t know everything.

I know, it was a bit of a shock to me too. But as you pick yourself up of the floor let me explain.

One of the big problems with doing the same thing for quite some time is that you tend to stick with what you know. The more you stick to what you know, the more you think you….know. This works the same for committees as much as individuals.

Meanwhile, one of the best things that I have learned through tackling a new thing that I had utterly no idea about when I went into it, is that everything is more complex than you think it is. You simply wouldn’t believe how complex getting a perfect finish on certain surfaces is.

Warhawk matters, it’s my first complete guitar and I don’t want to stuff it up.  So therefore, I have had to rely on other people’s expertise in areas that I have no clue about, not mention borrow certain tools, and you what I’ve discovered?

People love being asked for help. It honors and affirms them. I have had some fantastic conversations with folks in community that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise had if I hadn’t had to ask them for help. I think the implications here for leadership and ministry are enormous.

If you are a leader, one of the best ways to get people on board with a cause is to be honest with them that you can’t do it without them.

If you are a leader, your ministry, church or organization will run so, so much smoother the more you abandon the effort to do everything yourself, and say: “hey um…does anyone else know how to do this?” Just thinking off the top of my head in a Church context we need to…

Say less: “you’re a teacher so you can teach Sunday school,” and a lot more “you’re a teacher so teach us some tips on how to engage with kids.”

Say less: “you’re studying early childhood so can you do creche,” and a lot more “Can you let us know how to do better risk management for little kids ministries.”

Say less: “George never does anything on any rosters,” and more “George, you are the CEO of a successful company, can you give us feedback on how to better communicate the church budget to church members?”

Say less: “you’re young, hip and cool you should be a youth leader,” and more “tell us how to engage with teens, what would your friends respond to and how do we need to change?”

You get the idea.

I guess relying on other people to complete a guitar rebuild is reminding me how much I actually rely on people to do everything else, especially in ministry.

2. Don’t be a perfectionist unless your skills can allow you to be.

I hate, like….hate when things don’t work out exactly as I planned them to. Don’t we all? I think we’re all perfectionists at heart. We want stuff to turn our perfect that’s why shows like ‘the bachelor’ get made. Everyone wants to re-live the fairy tale. (And then feed off the gossip of the breakup 3 to make us feel more righteous than they are.)

I realized recently that I hate when things don’t turn out because I like to think that I can do it perfect. I like to think I’ve got the skills.

Life never turns out perfect. The fairy tale is exactly that; a fairy tale. That is exactly what is so frustrating about it. We like to think that we can somehow engineer the perfect life. Engineer the perfect communities. Engineer the perfect society.

But here’s the problem. If we believe the lie, that stuff can be perfect, we’ll either all our expend energy to the point of exhaustion or we’ll give up frustrated.

….Or we’ll give on the lie, realize that we need help that we don;t have what it takes. Only one person has what it takes. The only one who is perfect. Jesus.

No big new discovery there I know, but it doesn’t make it any less true, we need Jesus, who invites us to one day share in his perfect kingdom.

Back to the guitar. Weirdly, the more I have stopped trying to do it perfect, the more I have enjoyed it. The more I’m ok with the idea that I don’t have what it takes, the better it turns out.

I think it’s because I’m getting better and better at asking for help.

So; life, don;t try to engineer it, ask for His help….and just wait and see how much more enjoyable it becomes.

Bless ya:)

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