This year, God has been challenging me to take myself seriously as an intercessor, worship leader, and shepherd. And a big part of that has meant choosing to cut certain things out of my life. In order to gain something, you often have to forfeit other things. So I’ve been rearranging the way I live, the way I prioritize my time. I’ve been cutting out things like TV to make room for things like prayer and people.
Now, God has been pressing upon me that it is time to take myself seriously as a musician.
It has been two years since I have practiced the piano regularly, or even touched any real pianos (rather than dinky keyboards). Two years! Seeing that written down is startling…That’s how long it took to get my Master’s degree!
I wouldn’t say these past two years were wasted musically. The hiatus has been good for me. Idols have been uprooted, unhealthy performance mindsets have been unlearned, and I’ve been developing a keener ear focusing on improv as a worship keyboardist. But, at the same time, I have also been ignoring God a bit in this area.
Over the past two years, there have been a number of distinct moments in which God has shown me that though classical music may no longer be a visible part of my life, He still sees it as part of who I am. (Most of these moments have involved tears.)
But up to this point, even when God has very clearly told me to practice the piano, keep up my skills, etc, I have only had bursts of inspiration to practice or do anything classical music related. So, God has been challenging me once again. (I love how persistent God is, how patiently He prods me.) This time, the tone is a bit different: I’ve given you the vision. I’ve given you the gifts, the calling, the passion. Now it’s up to you.
My Part: Taking Ownership
God calls. Doing the calling is God’s part. But how I respond is my part, my responsibility. Will I take the call seriously? Or will I just go with the flow of the circumstances around me?
The thing is, God is always there to assist me, every step of the way. God doesn’t expect me to do it on my own. (Whew.) So when I asked God what specific steps I should take in order to “take myself seriously as a musician,” God didn’t slap me upside the head, He simply answered,
Start practicing an hour a day.
It was one of those duh moments. Of course. It always starts in the hidden place.
So, I have rearranged my morning routine, started getting up an hour earlier, and I’ve been working on Chopin’s fourth Ballade again! Picked up right where I left off a few months ago. It’s always crazy to me how naturally and quickly everything comes flooding back. My love of the music, my enjoyment of perfecting every little detail, my technique and musicality are all there, waiting to spring back to life.
But it also strikes me: Sacrifice is required.
This is just going to be another one of those short-lived moments of inspiration unless I take myself seriously this time. God is right. He has given me the vision, He has showed me how (in vague pictures and ideas) He wants to use my music. God has given me the gifts, it’s all right here. God has given me the passion–I feel more alive when I am practicing piano, it’s true. Now it’s up to me.
Only four days in, but I have to say: I’m feeling really good about this. Let’s see where this goes!