July 9, 2015
Jeff Stice, affectionately known as “Mr. Piano Man” has been on an incredible musical journey. His love for the piano started at the age of 6, and now Jeff’s music has afforded him the opportunity to travel all around the United States and Canada. In February of 2014, Jeff went through a season of reflection and change. “For 46 years I had known about God, but now I know how to BE with God. So now, I have a testimony to share and I have a new song to play as I start a new chapter for my life.”
Interestingly, I suppose that's how most letters begin, but I do mean this now more
than ever. You really have become dear to me. Because of who you are, I finally
became aware of just how dependent I am on God, my Father. Just so you know, I am
you, thirty five years from now! Now I know what your first thoughts are after reading
that it’s me (or you ) in the future. You’re wondering what you have, what you’ve
accomplished or who noticed! Let me first say, and this will be hard for you to grasp
right now, IT DOESN’T MATTER!!!! I love your “drive”, and I love that you’ve set goals
for yourself, but I need to point out some things. Sometimes, without knowing, you can
want something or some things so badly that the pursuit of the goal becomes the focus.
You see, turns out, you (we) are an “approval seeker”! BIG TIME!!! The anxiety that you
(we) feel about needing EVERYONE’S acceptance can be a little overwhelming at
times, can’t it? I never knew, until recently that that anxiety had a name! I just knew it
smothered me (you). Please understand that that’s probably not going to go away, but it
will be easier to handle. I promise! Also, I (you) have this burning need to be a
perfectionist! This, you will learn is called having “unrelenting standards”. Nothing is
good enough! It’s actually funny if you think about it! Because of the pressure of this
“standard” you WILL fall short.
You know, I understand you (me) now. and if I could just speak to your fears, I would
say that you WILL survive!!! You’ve got some bumps and bruises, but it’s through these
that you (I) became aware of some things. God has to be the center of your life! I know
that you’ve “heard” this all of your life, but you WILL KNOW this too! He has proven His
faithful love to you over and over and you will finally see this! You WILL see that
knowing your “faults” will only cause you (me)to depend on Him more. Jeff, I know
what’s important to you and I know how afraid you are that you won’t reach your
“destination”, and though you have “tunnel vision” and are completely focused on the
“prize”, you’ll come to know that the”prize” will change! You may not see now, but your
priorities will shift and you’ll “see” for the first time. People will come and go in your life.
Heartbreak will too. You Will survive!
SOME things haven't and won't change! You still are a bit "over the top" in your love
for Kentucky Basketball (I know you’re smiling about this!). You still love to entertain people
with your playing and you’re still a big kid at heart. You still love movies and you still run!
Most importantly, you can still laugh and you can still cry. The one thing you’ve added to
your life is a testimony of knowing what GRACE is actually about. To “just ask” you to
change may not happen at this point. I’m not sure how a letter from my future self would
(will) have influenced my (our) life. Just know that God loves you. I’d ask you to slow
down and be with Him more. I’d ask you to pray about decisions you will make. I would
ask you to value people in your life, and know we all have the same need…… to be
loved. Jeff, never take for granted the talent that our Father has given you. The key
words in this statement are “OUR FATHER HAS GIVEN YOU”. Continue to work hard
and “polish” your piano playing, but please remember you’re doing this so you can be a
vessel for His honor and glory. You’re not doing it for an identity or approval. I read
something not long ago that I hope sticks with you… it said: “While I am far more
incapable than I thought, God is infinitely more capable than I ever hoped”.
I love you Jeff,