I feel a long, rambling story coming on - so for those of you who are only interested in the bottom line, here's the point - "Whining is not a spiritual gift and discouragement is not a fruit of the Spirit." That's it, all done, now the bottom-liner people are free to return to their internet surfing.
For those of you who enjoy a ramble now and then, here's the story. I must admit that it's a bit embarassing to confess my issues with pride, but that's all a part of the tale.
Over the last several years, music has become a great, often consuming, passion in my life. When I wake up, I am thinking about music, I think about it during the day, and even sometimes dream in music instead of pictures. It has been my great privilege to participate in worship for over 24 years. I began playing the piano in church on a regular basis when I was 9. Sometimes I was the only pianist, but other times I just filled in occasionally. Over the years, I have definitely grown as a musician. Sometimes this growth has happened through the teaching of others, or through conferences, and even a couple of times through quantum leaps of sorts that occur overnight after much prayer.
In the last year I have become very frustrated that I have hit another "wall" with my musical ability. I feel as though I have not been able to grow very much this year and have become rather stale. I have spent a great number of hours on my face in prayer whining about this issue. As I have continued whining, and focusing on what I am not able to play that I wish that I could, discouragement has gradually crept in. I have been fairly successful in fighting off the discouragement until just the last few weeks. I have had the awesome opportunity lately to spend time listening to musicians in other churches who are very capable on keys and have allowed myself to become convinced that I am inadequate to fulfill the role in worship that God called me into.
So this morning in the shower, I was really quite upset about the whole mess and was whining obnoxiously about my lacking ability and wallowing in my discouragement when God spoke to me. (You know - my first thought was - "It's about time, I've been complaining about this for a year!") Now, it was not a loud, audible voice, but it was certainly a very loud, clear thought that interrupted my pity party. "Whining is NOT a spiritual gift, and discouragement is NOT a fruit of the Spirit! Shut Up and focus on ME!"
Now I would love to end this story with a happily ever after, that God incredibly showed up and helped me to achieve the new techniques and styles that I would like to learn. However, I don't know yet if that is a part of my story. I do know that focusing on myself does not lead to great and mighty things and is simply wounded pride disguising itself as humility.
God reminded me this morning that worship is not about me, and my ability. Worship is about Him. I am blessed simply to be redeemed and allowed into His presence.