About 10 years ago, Adam Bevell experienced something he’ll never forget.
He had traveled from his home in Arizona to see U2 in Nashville during their 360 tour. Many U2 fans travel a long way to see the band, but Bevell is no ordinary fan. He is a blind guitarist, and he had come to Nashville in hopes of getting on stage to play with his hero, Bono.
Bevell came prepared with a sign that read, “BLIND GUITAR PLAYER. BRING ME UP.” He held it up all through the concert as he stood in the crowded pit near the stage.
The last song U2 played on the 360 tour was “Moment of Surrender.” As they finished the song and began to walk offstage, Bono noticed the sign and asked Bevell what he wanted to play. He responded, “All I Want Is You” (he and his wife’s favorite U2 song) and Bono had him escorted onstage. A stagehand gave him Bono’s guitar and Bevell began strumming.
Bono started to sing and the rest of band joined in for the spontaneous performance. When the song was done, Bono hugged Bevell and even gave him his guitar! You can watch the video here.
At the end of a long and exhausting music set, in front of 45,000 adoring fans, one of the world’s most famous musicians shared the spotlight with a blind guitar player. And that's something that is really remarkable. It takes humility to share the stage. When you share the stage, that means you are stepping back. But whether you have 45,000 fans or just four or five, it’s a challenge to share the spotlight and shift the focus to others. Here are three truths to help keep you grounded:
1. Your talent is on loan from God. You are a steward of the talent God has given you. It’s not really yours in the first place. You can’t claim any credit for the good things that happen as a result of your talent. All the glory goes to God, not to you.
2. Your true friends love you for you who are, not what you do. Those who matter most in your life don’t love you because of your talent or gifts. They love you unconditionally as a friend or family member. Talent comes and goes. Some of us are born with different talents than others. But that doesn't mean that anyone is more worthy of love than anyone else.
3. Your self-worth shouldn’t come from your success. It’s easy to be so emotionally tied to your art that you feel like a winner when things are going well, and a failure when things aren’t. Don’t base your self-worth on temporary success or failure.
Saint Augustine pointed out the true path to greatness when he said, “Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.”[iii]
These three truths will help you keep your creative gifts in proper perspective so you can focus on serving others and make a positive impact.
Questions for Reflection
1. How can you maintain a healthy sense of confidence, yet also remain humble?
2. Think about your fans versus your friends. Friends love at all times, but fans are much more fickle. Which group do you spend more time thinking about and serving?
3. Do you see yourself as a steward of your creative gifts, or as an owner? What’s the difference?
4. Have you ever done something out of rivalry with another artist? How can you avoid doing the same thing in the future?