30 While 30

Thirty While Thirty

1.) Read 30 Books & check out at least 15 of them from the library if not all
2.) Have 30 different people over for a meal or coffee
3.) Wear a swimsuit in a public place
4.) Get (At Least) One Tattoo
5.) Run a 5k
6.) Make 30 new/different recipes
7.) Memorize 15 different verses of scripture
8.) Try 30 New Foods
9.) Travel to the West Coast
10.) Submit to Moth/Hope to be on a Story Slam
11.) Do 30 Hours of Community Service
12.) Write handwritten letters to 30 people
13.) Go to and participate in a Standup Open Mic Night
14.) Watch at least half of the movies I’m missing from AFI’s 100 best movies list (74-embarassing!)
15.) Do the OCM/No Poo Method for 30 days
16.) Do a gig with Nate again performing our original stuff
17.) Play a percussion instrument during a gig/worship set
18.) Go on 30 Different Dates With Nate
19.) Learn to Pickle Things
20.) Menu Plan for 3 Months in a row/3 Months Out
21.) Discern my vocational calling-Seminary? Yes? No?
22.) Fast from Facebook for 30 Days/Fast from TV for 30 Days
23.) Leave The Country
24.) Go to 15 new (to me) dining/drinking establishments in St. Louis
25.) Buy 15 Records/Vinyl and listen to them while lying on the floor doing nothing else
26.) Preach a Sermon/Speak at a Special Event
27.) Go see 6 Pieces of Theatre/Live Art
28.) Drink Bourbon in Kentucky
29.) Do 30 things found on Pinterest (not recipes)
30.) Establish a Morning Routine with Scripture/Prayer/Mediation
Yes. That’s right. Last night for the FIRST TIME EVER, I played a percussion instrument. A tambourine, on a stand, with a drumstick to be exact.
Nate and I leading worship.
Notice I am sans any rhythmic accoutrements. 
If you are my husband, or if you have ever played music with me, worship or otherwise, you know my apprehension to rhythmic adventures. Many a time during rehearsals I can drum, shake, or beat with complete abandon. But when it comes to the service, or when it comes to the gig, something happens. I freeze and all of a sudden my body refuses to drum, shake, or beat whatever it is it is supposed to do so to. Even at Clayton or Saturday 5 PM McCausland services there may be times when you have seen the tambourine on a stand in front of me, and you wonder “hmmm nothing ever happened with that”.
I can’t explain it other than I have some vague memory in my life of someone telling me that I didn’t have rhythm, and that all I could do was sing, so that’s all I should do, because I didn’t want to mess it all up.
Stuff like that sticks with you. It becomes ingrained in you. You form who you are based on who and what other people say you are.
Up until yesterday I didn’t know when I was going to get this item on my list done. I just knew I needed to, it needed to happen this year. That as a 30 year old woman I was going to say to whoever it was who said that, (I honestly don’t remember, and perhaps it’s a conglomeration of things. That’s what memory does) and more importantly to myself, you are not what someone else says about you. You are only what Christ has and is formed/forming you to be.
Now let’s be honest. It’s a crapshoot. Because I might be the worst percussionist God ever created. And that would be ok. But I need to find that out for myself, not live into something based on fear.
Rehearsal began for last night’s service and as we started to practice “Beautiful Things” by Gungor, I gingerly went back to the drum kit, picked up the tambourine on the stand, and a stick, and brought it by my music stand.
It didn’t phase Nate or Angie who have been down this road with me many a worship set. They probably figured it was par for the course. And it went great during rehearsal. . . as it often does.
Then the service came. I wasn’t really thinking about it until we got up there and the imposition of ashes started. I didn’t really realize that my right hand actually picked up the drum stick laying on my music stand. I didn’t realize anything until about 4 beats before the start of the chorus where I was supposed to come in with the tambourine. The panic set in for the first beat, and my hand thought about putting the stick down on the second beat. On the third beat God said “sing the words you are about to sing to me”. The fourth beat came, my energy went to holding back tears as to not go into ugly cry, and on the 1 of the next measure (is this song even in 4/4? Geez, I don’t even know, hence some of my trepidation with percussion) my mind went “Oh s%^t this is happening” and the drumstick met the tambourine.
These were the beautiful words by Michael and Lisa Gungor that we sang as I hit the tambourine:
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us
As people were coming forward to have ashes imposed in a cross on their foreheads to remind them of their mortality, and of their dependence on Christ, I was experiencing some of the most incredible, deep, beautiful fullness that happens when we attempt to live into that dependence. Fullness that happens as we depend more, and more, and more, and more on the Risen Christ, and less, and less, and less, on ourselves or on what/who others say we are.
Thirty thus far has been amazing, and jolting, and full.
I’m guessing that the more I live into that dependence, the better it’s going to be.
My list involves a lot of silly, and a little bit serious. I don’t think any of those thirty things will be experienced to their fullest unless I am striving for a constant awareness of Christ making me into a beautiful new thing.
And seriously, I want my thirty to be the fullest year I’ve ever experienced.
Don’t you want your 14, 57, 91, 32, or whatever your age is, to be your fullest too?
Let’s do it.
peace to you,

4 thoughts on “30 While 30

    1. Kristi, thank you! You are quite awesome yourself. It was one of those times that I am very thankful our foreheads don’t have little tickers running, telling what is going on inside our heads. Ha!
      Happy lent to you. 🙂

  1. Awesome (and ambitious) list, Meredith! I definitely want to come watch you and Nate perform your own stuff!

  2. Meredith, you’re awesome. Also, one of my thirty while thirty things on my list is to run a 5k too! I am not a runner. This might be more challenging than the trapeze lesson 🙂

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