Romans 12:3 NIV
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Fast forward to 1996. I was enjoying the growth, learning, and experience I was attaining while serving in the music ministry. Another song leaders conference was taking place in Los Angeles, CA in July; I was hungry for more learning and for more networking with other brothers and sisters with this gift, as I made many friends the year prior at the conference in NYC. Therefore, after asking the church staff, I was sent to LA for more training. The conference took place in conjunction with the AMS conference entitled "Taking It Higher". Unfortunately, I went to this conference with the mentality that I had it going on, that I could sing with the best of my musical peers, and that I should be on stage with them as well. I was humbled immediately by God once I saw that I didn't know as much about music as I thought I did and that I couldn't keep up with the other singers around me. My arrogant chest was deflated; at the same time, I felt defeated, feeling like I didn't deserve to be there and that I should just go back to South Carolina. However, it was then that God began to encourage me to lean on Him and to learn from the new friends I had made, like Peter Wade and his wife Monica. They helped me to get my head and my heart back on track; they even introduced me to the delectable combination of fried chicken and waffles! (Hey...don't knock it until you try it. Remember the story "Green Eggs and Ham"?) By the end of the conference, I was on stage that Sunday morning with Peter during worship service, singing in a mini choir that was put together just the day before. It's true what Jesus said:
Luke 14:11 NIV
"For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
What made 1996 a milestone for me? It was a lesson in humility. Be confident in God and what He does through you, but don't toot your own horn--it's not wise to do so (Proverbs 27:2). Always remember that you wouldn't have the gifts, talents and abilities you have if God hadn't given them to you in the beginning. Stay grateful; stay grounded; stay humble.
May God be glorified through my entire life!