Back in 2008, I was in a high school filmmaking class. Naturally, for each project we received to film, I would try to take it and turn it into an opportunity to broadcast my band with my brother, which in those days was still in its relatively early stages. ‘The American Beat,’ that’s what we called ourselves back then. We were actually doing pretty well for ourselves, too, playing a show just about every week, sometimes two. We had some new recordings coming out, new songs in the works. So for my first filming project, there was no other option than to make a…
Using a “day in the life” format, this masterpiece of quality filmmaking would follow myself, my brother Taylor, and our best friend/drummer Marcus through everything – waking up after sleeping on the roof, showering with clothes on, warming up, choosing our wardrobe, and bickering over songs to play – that inevitably led up to us playing a huge, sold-out show to a whopping…four people? It may have been three.
Since the amazingness of this video already speaks for itself, I want to hone in on one precise moment of this video, which comes at the 1:45 minute point. Let’s ignore the more obvious details, such as me wearing an oddly fitting shirt, me sporting a totally whack haircut (that I think I cut myself), and me preparing to give a supposedly funny monologue about breakfast that is not funny at all.
No, I want to just focus on one word. “Important.” During the editing process, my friend Brandon (who also helped film the project) laughed when he heard me pronounce this word. Ever since then (yes, nearly five years later), I have been extremely conscious of how I pronounce this word. If I’m speaking quickly, it always comes out as “imporDant” or “importanD,” and I don’t know what to do about that.
Just this morning, when I said the word, I immediately stopped and repeated the word
with as much
(which also sounds silly because of how harshly and clearly I’m pronouncing my T’s).
And then I continued talking.
It’s stupid and it’s silly and it’s embarrassing. So I usually just try to avoid the word altogether.
(But it’s a very important word!)
It’s crazy how things stay with us throughout the years. It’s different than holding a grudge for years (no, I’m not angry at you for pointing this out, Brandon), and it’s different than regretting past mistakes. It’s simply a lingering self-consciousness.
(For the record, I was planning on stopping this blog here when I conceptualized it earlier today…but now I feel like I should keep on going.)
Self-consciousness can be a tricky thing – even a dangerous thing. Was it not a self-consciousness that caused Adam and Eve to clothe themselves?
When we spend time focusing on ourselves, we lose the ability to focus on others. Have you ever had one of those moments when you feel like you said something silly or rude in a conversation, and so all of your thoughts linger on what you could have said or should have said and all of a sudden you’ve lost your track in the actual conversation at hand? This is more than true in regular life situations, beyond simply the words we say (or the words we mispronounce). A focus on our own actions belittles our care for others.
Little known fact about me, I actually have two words scratched out in my Bible. Philippians 2:4 NIV usually reads, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Well, the Chase-special-edition reads, “Each of you should look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”
You see what I did there? I can’t remember exactly when or why I made this edit. It was one or both of these options: I was trying to really push it into my head to stop being self-conscious; and/or a teacher told me that this edit would give a better understanding of what Paul actually meant in Greek.
Jesus’ primary teaching was not to beat yourself up and give yourself a lot of rules until you finally stop sinning. His teachings were to believe and to love…and with a life of loving and believing, the sins start to fade away. A good friend of mine once told me about how he had a calendar on which he would mark off the days with a big X for the days that he committed some certain sins he was trying to stop. It was only when he got rid of this calendar and stopped trying to work on himself like a project that he actually began finding success in separating himself from those sin habits.
So, yes, caring for others instead of worrying about yourself…this is the moral I have accidentally wound up at after wanting to simply share an embarrassing story from high school. Hopefully this means I’ll be sleeping well tonight!