An open schedule can paralyze me.
Instead of pursuing all the personal projects I’ve been putting off, I usually just watch TV, take naps, and generally waste time. I lose my sense of direction. I’ve been putting off a lot of things lately: Moving, applying for my new visa, buying a keyboard, finding piano students…
Instead of taking hold of this next season of my life, I was dragging my feet.
But on Friday night, I got shaken awake.
It was during one of those powerful Friday night prayer meetings I am always mentioning.
After the message that night, the speaker asked us to remember promises God has spoken to us, and I suddenly remembered how He spoke to me over 6 months ago and told me I was going to be a piano teacher in Korea. It was during a morning subway ride to language class, and His voice, though not audible, was unmistakable.
You are going to be a piano teacher in Korea, and your students are going to love you.
It was before I knew for sure I was staying here, it was while dreams and ideas were just floating around in my head and I wasn’t sure what to make of them. And yes, I cried.
I don’t know how I had forgotten about that, but I guess now that I knew for sure that my plan was to teach piano here, I had started to think of it as just that: my plan. The part about it being God’s promise completely slipped my mind.
So that was powerful. But then it got even better.
Near the end of the night, my pastor called up two groups to the altar for prayer: people who work in the business world and people who have aspirations in the entertainment industry. I briefly wondered whether I belonged up there with the entertainment people, but I quickly told myself, “No, you’re just a teacher, your focus is education.”
But as my pastor moved from praying for the business people to the entertainment people, proclaiming a powerful prayer over the group that made me double over in my seat, I asked myself again, “Do I belong up there?”
I thought about the secret song-writing dreams that have been stirring in my heart recently. I thought about the way God keeps telling me not to just assume my performance career is over. I thought about the picture a girl in my Sunday School class drew for me last week of me performing an original composition, composed by me, on the piano. And I asked God, “Should I go up there?”
I felt Him answer, “You may not be sure of what your future holds or have a concrete plan outlined for entering the entertainment industry, but if you want to receive blessing and anointing for these dreams in your heart, then go up. If you don’t go up, you’ll miss out.”
So I went up. I was scared, afraid I didn’t belong up there, afraid I was being presumptuous or ridiculous. But I went.
As I stood up on the stage, waiting for my pastor to come bless me, the lies came.
You don’t belong up here. Just look at the other people on the stage with you. Look at how ugly you are compared to them. Your pastor isn’t going to have anything to pray over you. When he sees you up here, he is going to wonder why in the world you came up.
I was shaking with fear. I felt ugly, confused, and afraid I was making a fool of myself. But then 1 John 4:8 cut through the lies:
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.
I clung to that verse. I told myself, “Even if I made a mistake in coming up here, I have nothing to fear.” I repeated it over and over to myself. “There is nothing fear, there is nothing to fear.”
And then I remembered that it hadn’t been my idea to come up here in the first place. I came up because I felt prompted to by God.
In that moment, I realized how quick I am to put myself down,
to shut down my ideas for the future, to assume I wasn’t made for anything great. I realized that the swiftness with which I say, “I’m not a performer, just a teacher. I never wanted to be a performer,” was me limiting myself. My habit of saying, “No, I don’t write music, it just isn’t something I do,” was me putting limitations on myself. And in that moment, something broke inside me.
I told God, “I’ll do whatever you call me to. Even if it means being in the spotlight, even if it’s bigger and more public than I ever imagined, even if it’s something I’ve never done before or never thought I could do. I will be obedient to you.” And then I burst into tears.
When my pastor finally reached me, I was still a little worried about what he would say,
but he immediately declared:
“The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I come that you may have life and have it to the full!” (John 10:10)
Wow. That was exactly what had been happening up on that stage and in my life. The enemy was trying to steal my dreams, kill my hope, and destroy who I was.
That night my pastor didn’t pray for increased creativity or inspiration for song-writing (which he prayed over me several months ago and which I half-expected him to repeat), he released life over me, something I never expected, but exactly what I needed. He declared I was filled with life and meant to release life into the entertainment industry.
When I had just finished recovering from that prayer,
his wife, Pastor Erin, prayed for me too. “It’s time to dream big again,” she said.
By this point, everyone else had returned to their seats. Pastor Christian was giving some closing words while Pastor Erin and I stood behind him on the stage. So when she whispered in my ear, “No more limitations, no more boundaries, it’s time to dream big. This is going to be a time of moving forward for you,” everyone could see my face scrunch up in emotion, but I didn’t care.
I was completely absorbed in receiving.
Do I think I’m destined to be a famous singer/song-writer or concert pianist? I don’t know. But I am no longer dismissing those kind of ideas from the realm of possibility. I am done limiting myself, confining myself to dreams that seem reasonable or safe. I am ready to dream big. I am ready to explore my creative potential. And I am ready to be used by God however He desires to use me.
First step: Buy a keyboard this week.