Four years ago, my husband began encouraging me to learn to play piano. I always wanted to and had even taken a couple lessons, but I felt I was too impatient to learn. Maybe that's why I needed to learn!
Somewhere in my life, I heard you're only useful if you are the absolute best. I remember not wanting to sing at church because I couldn't hit high notes. I remember not wanting to try to do well in school because being smart wasn't me. It was a lazy mindset and a cop out even, but that is truly how I looked at things. I figured I was one of those people who wouldn't achieve much. I wasn't down about it, that's just how I saw things.
I remember my heart on all of that began to change when I heard a youth choir sing a while back. They weren't the greatest singers, but they were praising the Lord and it blessed me. Their willingness to give their best, not the best, but the best they had, made a huge impact on me. It wasn't long after that when I began to sing at church in spite of any insecurity I had.
I decided to play the piano because I wanted to be a help to the church. I wanted to be able to accompany myself or Josh if no other musician was able. I wanted to play pretty stuff. I was encouraged to play each time I learned something new, even if it was the most basic thing. And the Lord blessed. With the Lord's help and tips from others with much more experience and knowledge, I reached my goals.
That doesn't necessarily mean my unhealthy mindset has left me. I've been evaluating my piano playing a lot lately and as someone who is impatient and has a hard time taking correction, I've gotten discouraged. I've thought, "I can't play like that guy or read sheet music very well like that gal. I stink at this." I think because I haven't arrived at some level of achievement, I just really need to sit out and quit. Hide under a rock and hum to myself or something.
But quitting isn't an option. After I botched a new song Wednesday night at church, I sat at my piano this morning and played it again. I could hear where I got lost and where I struggled ... and I decided that instead of throwing in the towel, I'd fix it.
I said all of that to say this: sometimes God lets us go through some trials in our lives because we need to evaluate ourselves and see the areas we need to improve. Do you think messing up in front of 50-60 or more people is fun? Nope, it's not. My face turns fifty shades of red. It's not fun when Josh asks, "what happened there?" But it's necessary. If I'm ever going to learn or improve, I have to be corrected. God does that with us in the spiritual mindset, doesn't He?
Last night, Bro. Kevin said, "get your mirror out and preach to yourself." I thought of the verse in James 1 that says "23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." This verse is talking about someone who looks at themselves in their "spiritual mirror", so to speak, and although they see a need for change and improvement, they walk on and don't fix it. However, the Bible goes on to say that if the person is a doer of the Word, or someone that tries to correct the issue, they will be blessed.
God uses things in our lives to shed light on areas we need to improve in. A lot of the time, those experiences are not the most pleasant and we see many things about ourselves we would rather not look at. If we just surrender to the Lord, though, and allow Him to change us, we will be thankful for those times of correction.
Another illustration to think of is if you had food on your face. You can't see your own face, so you are completely unaware that you've got a hunk of ketchup on your cheek. Once a friend tells you, you kinda blush for a second and wonder how long you've walked around like that. You're embarrassed because you've looked silly. "Who saw me looking like this?" However, in spite of slightly being embarrassed, aren't you glad someone told you?
That's the same thing here. Whether we are learning how to follow and serve Christ, learning an instrument, or learning just how to do life ... It's an important to be corrected and to follow as needed. It's necessary for growth.
I may never be the best pianist in the world and that's cool. However, I want to be the best that I can in the capacity God would have me to serve. I can't let discouraging thoughts over messing up or having issues that need fixing allow me to think its time to quit or just ignore the correction altogether. The devil has a field day when I go there because then I'll start hitting myself on other things like being a bad mom or bad wife. Just take the hint and get back up. I've got to keep moving forward.
My experience playing piano is very much a reflection of things going on with me personally and spiritually ... So I think it's funny how one seems to intertwine with the other. It's a definite possibility that God put me in the position to learn piano a few years back because He knew I'd need a challenge. He knew I'd need the love of music. He knew I'd need more changing to become more like Him.
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
- Philippians 1:6
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
- Galatians 6:9