MICHAEL BRUCE

What are titles you have now and in past?

I was a musician. Music was always something, and I was an actor at one time. I guess what that meant to me was that that was my soul identity at one time. Like owning singing in a choir, and leading a choir, and leading a band. I just felt like I got affirmation from people that were underneath me, when I was that title being the musician.

Yes, I was also a leader. President of my choir and also the drum major of my marching band. Music is something so powerful and speaks to so many people. I felt like, as a musician, I was able to touch people in ways that only music can. Maybe it was just playing saxophone and being able to be in a jazz band—not even singing real words, just scatting—and seeing that that could move people, I think that was cool. But again I was getting my affirmation kind of from that and from my success at that. It was always about wanting the next thing—always seeking for something better.

How did your title as a Christian intertwine with all these other titles you had?

I think my Christian faith was so in a box. I just did church; I didn’t live church. It didn't really intertwine much. I would always think I was very faith-led, but when I look back on it now I was never like, “Lord be present. Help me in the good and the bad.” It was always like when it was bad, “Oh Lord that audition didn't go well...could you do me a solid?” It was a one-way relationship, how he could help me and I couldn’t help Him. I mean I was going to mass every day. To me that’s what’s even more powerful, in where I’ve come in the last year, is that I live Christ every day. Now, I wake up every morning, and I don't have to put Christ on—He's already in me. The same as I don’t have to remember to put my socks on before my shoes, He’s there. So it’s not like a title for me anymore, it’s integrated. He is my every fiber. 

 

What was your turning point? 

I think I was getting comfortable feeling affirmation from other people’s success. But even moving to New York City, I honestly lost a job, and moved to the city after two of my friends from my a capella group said, “Move to New York City with us,” and I just did it on a whim. I was so desperate to start something new. I had all this success and kind of like pressure in this smallish town. Moving to the city I was excited to feel completely lost in the chaos. I didn't have to live under expectation—once you get to a certain level of leadership, there is a certain level of expectation. So I was forever in fear of disappointment. 

If I disappointed my family or my bosses or anybody I came into contact with, they had a certain level of expectation for me to deliver. They didn't even put that on me. That was me, putting it on myself. Putting this level of expectation on.

Moving to NY was a big turning point. But also, it was me; I was so lonely. True loneliness hits when you walk down the streets of New York City and don’t know a soul. I kept thinking that If I fell down there's nobody here to pick me up— nobody. I took that even a step further, and I was like, if i'm emotionally not right or I don’t even know what I want, there's nobody there for me. It was really me getting raw with myself and stripping myself down. I felt like I had disappointed myself. 

Stepping into C3 I realized I didn't have that expectation, and that wasn't something to be ashamed of—those are chapters in my book that will forever remain. This chapter of my life is all about humility, to peel all of that back. I don't need anyone to affirm me in my success and my identity anymore, because I have it. I have surrendered all to him and now I push myself to surrender more. As my relationship continues to just grow with him in this intimate level, I find that he’s opening up different areas in my heart and in my body or in my mind that I didn't know even existed. 

How in being in finance and having success in your career how do you find that day to day?

I think that’s Him. I think that’s Him working in me. Every time I start to feel down on myself or annoyed that I'm not getting the affirmation or appreciation I need and I continue to say, “I’ve gone on interviews, I've been getting turned down.” I just have to learn to say, “This isn’t a bad thing, this is just a season where maybe this is where I’m supposed to be.” This is more growth for me to learn or this is a place for me to bring life into a particular space. So, maybe it’s like always finding that silver lining. If I start doing that, I try to be more self aware. I don't know where that self awareness comes from. I can see when that trigger happens. I think it’s because I went so raw and so deep initially, it's part of my nature to continue that, to make sure that I do not step back towards that. It's so easy to step back into what's comfortable and what is normal to what you’ve done for more than 20 years. It’s not that I live in fear of stepping back, it’s that I'm actually getting assurance every day that I’m more and more strong in who I am.

What's an area of your faith you want to see how to live an untitled life?

The faith of patience. I think that’s an unwritten story. The story that may be going on right now. It’s not finished. It’s only just begun. I don't know what that looks like. It’s patience in only certain areas of my life. I feel like I'm good at being patient in other areas, but it’s being patient with myself that I struggle and also trusting that he will deliver on that. Wanting all the knowledge and all the experience I’ll have in 30 years, tomorrow. But knowing that you actually have to work through that, to get that is tough. That’s a huge area in my life that is untitled, but I don’t think that story will never be finished. He will always prove to that to me; I guess trust and patience go hand in hand. I need the patience to trust that He will deliver or that He will pull through and show up.