Unexpected Reminders: Classical Music

Almost two weeks ago now, I was sitting in church when something unexpected happened. A realization hit me so hard I ended up leaning against the wall sobbing during closing praise.

On the verge of starting my first full time job (as a kindergarten teacher) and of leading my first small group at church, I assumed that all my energy and all my thoughts should be devoted to those two things. All other relationships, hobbies, and future dreams could be put on the back burner for awhile.

But instead, God reminded me of one of the last things I would have thought appropriate to contemplate in this particular season: My love of classical music.

It keeps coming back at the most random times.

More Than a Pianist

My love of classical music is a passion I have been hesitant to take ownership of.

“So I take piano lessons, so what? So I happen to be pretty good, that doesn’t mean I was obsessed with it!”

“So I’m a piano performance major, so what? That doesn’t mean I’m a classical music nerd.”

I always resisted letting my talent define me. Because it’s true, I am more than a pianist. I am much more than just that.

But while I may turn my back on classical music for 9 months, try to tell myself I can live without it, not consciously think about it for weeks, it always comes crashing back. God reminds me that it’s not something I’m meant to forget.

True Desires

Two weeks ago, my pastor preached on Psalm 37:4:

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

During the prayer time after the message, God revealed to me what my true desires are and showed me that that is what He wants to give me.

He reminded me of a vivid dream I had had earlier that week.

canstockphoto12354069I had been at a piano recital and been given the opportunity to play, but I simply had nothing prepared. In the dream, I stared longingly at the piano, racking my brain for pieces I could whip up in the spur of the moment, but I was so rusty that I had absolutely nothing I could perform with any semblance of ability, so I just walked away.

When I woke up, I was filled with an intense longing to perform. I hadn’t felt that desire in a long, long time. I had thought that desire had fallen asleep, or maybe died.

My pastor prayed from the stage, “Some of you feel desires deep inside that you just can’t shake. Those desires are pointing toward the calling God has for you.”

I remembered all the times God told me in the past year not to let go of this desire and dream. Despite all my excuses––it’s impractical, unnecessary, unfashionable––God keeps telling me that this hiatus from classical music is just for a season. He keeps sending people to me with encouraging words about it. He keeps putting me in situations that uncover this hidden desire so strongly that I can’t ignore it.

Power to Change the World

God even reminded me of a vision someone had for me once about my music going out across North Korea. I had naturally assumed they meant worship music. I’d begun thinking that worship music and song writing might be enough music for me for the rest of my life, that that was the kind of music that would most powerfully transform the world anyway.

But as my pastor talked about calling and deep desires from the stage, I knew that I had been wrong. Worship music isn’t enough for me. Contemporary music isn’t enough for me. And it’s not supposed to be. There is a particular beauty in classical music, and that beauty can change the world.

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After living in South Korea for over 7 years, Elizabeth is back in the States finding a new normal. In the tension of brokenness, resilience, and conviction, she chooses faith and depends on grace. She leans into empathy, curiosity, divine whispers, and childlike wonder.

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