Hey, everyone! My name is Meredith Kinleigh. *insert lengthy, choreographed handshake here* I’m a new artist in the Christian Music scene, and I just completed my first tour! I was out with Jason Crabb and Natasha Owens in February, and then Natasha and I jumped over to the Bring It On Tour with Kutless and 7eventh Time Down. I couldn’t have imagined this adventure that was awaiting me.
I’ll tell you what…my blog title is easier said (or typed) than done, and I’ll tell you why. If you were to ask me to describe myself as a character in a book, I would say “’Bilbo Baggins’ from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.” Ok so, no, I don’t have hairy feet, and I’m considered fairly tall as a person. I’m like Bilbo in the way that I enjoy the comforts of home. I like my daily routines. I enjoy knowing where I’m going to be and what I’m going to be doing “tomorrow.” Know what I mean? I’ve never considered myself a huge adventurer or risk-taker. I dislike saying “goodbye” to who and what I hold dear, and I’m not a huge fan of major change. The Lord played the role as “Gandalf” in my life and called me on this grand adventure that is seemingly quite the opposite life for a person like me.
See, on tour, you have no idea what “tomorrow” will bring or look like; some days you may not even get to shower, which isn’t awesome. You might as well throw routine out the window...along with your shampoo...(totally kidding). Overall, we had sufficient shower privileges, but little things like that can really stretch you as a person. Being 1 of 4 girls on a tour of 25 people was quite adventurous, I’d say. It was definitely “the land of the bros,” but all the guys were great. The tour pranks were kept very much at bay, which I was grateful for. :) I wasn’t used to staying up so late, so that took some getting used to. Sleeping on a bunk in a moving bus is an adventure in itself. And so is trying to curl your hair in a bathroom on a moving bus (I really think that should be added as an Olympic sport.) Furthermore, it was not an easy thing to say goodbye to my family and church for a month and a half, nor saying goodbye to dear friends on tour made in a short period of time not knowing when/if we’d ever cross paths again. If I could have it my way, I’d have best friends forever and ever who would all be across the street all the time. Hahaha. I also have never been a huge fan of “the spotlight.” I am an extrovert, but I’m one of those introverted extroverts. In other words, I deal with a lot of shyness. Putting myself out there and putting on a show on the stage is something that I have really had to work on. I have literally had to practice “getting outside of myself” because if I don’t feel super “in the zone” during a performance, I’m tempted to “revert to form,” which in my case is just standing there and singing. Ok...all this banter to say…TOUR LIFE = GOODBYE COMFORT ZONE.
As hard as it was and is at times, I’m so grateful that God decided to call me into this kind of ministry and gently pull me out of my coveted zone of comfort. Looking back, I see how His plan was completely flawless. He has taught me SO many things on this journey, but I’d like to share two specific ones with you all. The first truth He has shown me is that this journey has been propelled SOLEY by His sufficient and unending grace. I’ve realized that my own strength is nowhere to be found, and that is pretty wonderful. Now, I’m not saying that people who are totally adventurous and made for the road are at a disadvantage to receiving God’s grace if they’re called to tour life. Not in the slightest! They rock and roll and receive His grace in other ways. My experience, however, has been quite different.
This is a picture that I saw on Facebook right before I left for tour that really inspired me:
Awwww snap! So much truth in that simple picture!! God often calls us to a purpose that we can’t imagine ourselves being able to fulfill, but that’s a beautiful thing because God’s grace is able to SHINE through our successes and victories. We don’t have a single chance to give credit to our own abilities. Stepping out of our comfort zone where life stays ordinary gives God the opportunity to do extraordinary things in our life; it gives Him a chance to “show off.”
The second truth God has revealed to me during this journey is that not only does He want me to step out of my comfort zone for my own benefit, but also for the benefit of others. Now, hang with me for a second…I’m gonna bunny trail really quick. I’ll make it back to the original point, I promise. :D Whatever reason that we are paralyzed to our comfort zones (fear, anxiety, worry, pride, inflexibility, stubbornness) stems from selfishness…whew, that’s heavy, I know. You might be thinking, “How could being afraid come from selfishness?” Well, who are we looking at and focusing on if we’re not looking at Jesus? Ourselves! We think we know exactly what will happen if we step outside our comfort zone; we worry about silly things and expect the worst, not even considering what God can do. When we’re afraid, we’re not trusting in Him; we’re putting Him in a box and limiting His power. Oftentimes, we think WE know what’s better for us than what GOD has in store for us to help us grow and mature. As I reflect on when I took the somewhat nervous leap into this career 2 years ago, I can say without a doubt that I am not the same person that I was. I cannot put a price on what God has allowed me to experience. There have been hardships and struggles along the way, yes, but there has been SO MUCH fulfillment, joy, and victory- things I doubt I would have experienced at my desk doing children’s ministry at my church in my little hometown (AKA “comfort zone”). I have overcome so much since then that wouldn’t have been possible staying in that comfort zone. So, the best way to overcome selfishness and all the mess that it brings is looking at Jesus and loving Him so much that we desire to please Him. What has He called us to do? He has called us to “make disciples of all nations.” (Matt. 28:19) Don’t you think that the heart of God is to bring joy to His children and then send us out to tell others about that joy? In other words, His perfect plan will be for the benefit of our lives AND for the benefit of others’ lives. This is your cue to say “Yessss, she finally brought that bunny trail back to her point!” ;)
All comfort zones have a limit. You can only advance the Kingdom of God so far by staying in one place. I have found that the best antidote for overcoming any negative feeling that would keep me from stepping outside of my comfort zone is realizing that I have been given life to pour it out. And that comes with the best fulfillment we could ever desire. By first dedicating OUR heart to the Lord, He will then give us HIS heart for others. But do not think that God won’t take care of you while you’re constantly pouring out. He will constantly be pouring into you. God has promised that He will be with you always. Joshua 1:9 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” And we all know that there is nothing but perfect peace, perfect joy, and perfect love in His presence.
Thank you all so much for reading!! I hope this post was a fun break in your day and encouraging to your heart. I had so much fun reliving some of my recent tour adventures with you. And a big thanks to Mrs. Rachel Parrish for allowing me the privilege of sharing on her blog. <3 If you would like to see some pictures from and hear details about the Bring It On Tour and keep up with me during future adventures, go follow me on my social media pages Instagram: meredithkinleigh; Facebook fan page: Meredith Kinleigh; Twitter: @mkinleigh; Blog: meadowlarkmusic.weebly.com; Snapchat: mkinleighmusic. Blessings and love to you guys! -MKinleigh <3