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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Two More Sleeps

There's just two more sleeps until Spring Break. I've been waiting for this...an entire week off of classes and obligations. But the days leading up to it have been hell.

Monday was okay. Nothing great, nothing completely awful. It was just strange. Tuesday on the other hand...Tuesday was a day all on it's own. Tuesday, I cried in my lesson. I am still pretty bitter about that. I'd made it so long before I lost it...oh well. Don't worry, it wasn't anything bad. It was the push that I needed, just at a bad time.

I walked out of my lesson with new goals and new plans, but when I went to implement them in the practice room, all I could do was sit and cry. I didn't know what was going on. All I knew was practicing made me weep.

That night was the senior piano recital of a friend of mine. It was fantastic and beautifully done, as was expected. But I couldn't truly rejoice. After the recital ended, I went to practice, but just stood and cried in my practice room.

I didn't want to do this anymore. I still don't. I don't want to do my junior recital. I don't want to do my senior recital. I don't want to perform. All I want is to play in orchestra, study music literature, write papers and conduct. No more of this solo violin stuff. I became increasingly apathetic and borderline depressed. I was giving up. I felt it, coursing through my veins. My spirit was breaking. I was broken.

This morning was praise and worship chapel; my favorite one. We just sing praises the entire hour and it's a beautiful moment. But today, I sat with my arms wrapped around my knees, crying out to God. I couldn't understand why I was so apathetic to music and had no desire to do anything with it. I couldn't figure out the root to my apathy. More than anything, I wanted to want to play my recital. I wanted to love my major, even though I'd been questioning the performance track since I declared it freshman year. I wanted to live my life of worship.

Then God started speaking through the music.

The violinist on the worship team began to be more pronounced in the texture. I could hear the smooth lines caused by the bow on the strings. That's when I remembered that my music is my worship.

And I'd made it a chore.

I still don't want to do my recital. I still don't want to be a performance major. But now, my attitude has shifted to aim for remembering how to worship with my practicing. That's my worship. Wanting to play my recital will come with time. Until then, my prayer is to continue to worship the Lord with every note that rings from my violin, whether it's in tune or not, whether it's part of a scale or the most lyrical part of a concerto. Every note is worship. 

Psalm 150:4
Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.

Psalm 33:3
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It's Still a Process

I still have revelations about how to become a butterfly. It never really ends; I just go through dry spells. Today in chapel, we sang about the love of God, waiting for God and how he always provides. That whole time, I was remembering Ash Wednesday and Lent. I've never been a part of a church that made a big deal about either of those church events. But today, in the spur of the moment, I decided I wanted to give something up for forty days. I wanted to get in the practice of giving something up in order to grow in God.

The first thing I wanted to give up was doubt. I wanted my faith to strengthen by giving up doubt in God and his will for forty days, and ultimately for life. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. It just doesn't go away like that.

That's when my revelation came; the faith of a butterfly. Butterflies follow the path they have been called to even though they don't know where it leads. Even though they don't know what dangers lie ahead. This is how they worship their Creator.

This is how I want to worship my Creator, my Father, my God. I want to follow the path I have been called to, even though I don't know where it's going, where it'll end up, what I'll come across on my way.

This is how I will live a life of worship: by being a butterfly.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Of Faults and Freedom

Break down our pride
And all the walls we've built up inside
Our earthly crowns and all our desires
We lay at your feet

As my college semesters go by, I become increasingly more aware of my levels of pride. For years, I had believed that I had extremely low levels of pride and no feelings of entitlement. I always had thought I'd managed to keep my pride in check and hold a very humble attitude. (See the problem with this?) I didn't feel like I ever acted as if I was prideful or haughty. I never felt like I acted as if I was any better than anyone else. 

But I did. It just manifested itself differently in me. For me, it was through my sensitivity to criticisms, my guilt complex, and through comparing myself to others.

When people criticize my ability, when I feel good about something I've been working on and I'm told I didn't do quite as well as I had imagined, I get offended. My feelings are hurt. Sometimes, I even tear up. I always say that I'm bad at taking criticism, that I'm uber-sensitive to negative comments. But that's really not it. It's because I don't feel like I should be criticized by anyone but myself. I have excuses.

I have pride.

I am constantly discouraged by where I am experience-wise and in my musical ability because I have been comparing myself to those who have come before me, who have invested in me, who are better than me, who I admire. I unknowingly made life into a contest, a challenge over who could be better instead of setting these people as examples, as role models. A role model is someone you look up to and someone you strive to live like. A role model is someone you learn from. A role model is not someone who you try to become. 

That's something that's taken me years to understand.

I am unsatisfied with where I am, yet I am not wholeheartedly committed to reach my personal goals. I have become swallowed by my pride. I have unconsciously given in to my ego. I have become consumed with feeling like I'm less than everyone else. Feeling like I'll never reach the same level as some of the best students at my school. Feeling as if I could never make my teacher proud because I wasn't as good or diligent as so many other students he's had. 

Funny thing, my teacher. We've had many a conversation about this in my least three years at college. He's told me several different times that my problem is hubris, a false sense of pride. I continuously brushed it off, not believing him because I'd never felt prideful. Not until recently. Not until God woke me up. 

But you know what?

I praise God for my pride. I praise God for my guilt complex. I praise God for how I compare myself to others.

Why?

Because it's through our weaknesses that God works the most. That's where he reveals himself. That's when I learn about God, about myself, and how much God can work in me, through me, and with me. It's through my failures and my faults that God shines the most, because He's greater than anything I have done or could ever do. God has such great power to be able to work through me and help me become better, stronger, and free. 

I'll be waiting from the "I told you" from my teacher. And this time, I won't be offended. I'll be one step closer to freedom.