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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Keep playing

There was a little more doubt and discouragement behind my last post than maybe was apparent. I have been frustrated and confused musically lately. It occurs to me at 35 that I'm probably not going to be anything more than a mediocre keyboard player for a worship band. I'm long past that window of opportunity to study and be great musically. There have been many times lately that I've wondered if the time in the band, away from my family, unavailable for many other ministry opportunities - if that's selfish. If it's selfish for me to pursue my passion. If in my hunger to meet my need for music, I am neglecting other things. Especially if there is not a future there for me.

And yet the music will not stop. It plays louder and louder in my head, desperate to escape. It had been years since any lyrics came to go with the music, but I can sit for hours and play. Just playing my emotions - playing the depths of my soul back to God. For me it is by far the most honest form of prayer. I am most naked and vulnerable with God through the keys on the piano - much more so than any words I have ever prayed. I can't imagine life without it.

This whole workout journey actually even began as a result of me asking God about my musical future and Him saying I had not been obedient yet in the last thing (exercising) that he told me to do. So I became obedient, honestly expecting musical miracles. And still there is silence about what is next in my future.

I have realized that I have no clue what God has planned, and it may be that I retire old and gray as a first grade teacher, but at least tonight He spoke. At band practice tonight we were going through the worship set. I was playing through "Heart of Worship" when God said "don't give up. Keep playing."

I've blogged the story before of how 9 years ago I was frustrated and unable to play with chord charts instead of notes. One night after another miserable practice, I cried myself to sleep, planning to quit the worship band because I was just that inadequate. The next day, I sat down at the piano, ran my fingers across the keys, and the notes and chords and runs of "Heart of Worship" flowed freely into the air. It was a God gift. Not my ability or talent at all. I took it as a sign to just keep playing.

Now I find myself many years later still playing and exploring and finding God in my music. It was a neat moment tonight to hear God speak again that same message from many years ago. "Just keep playing."

So I have no answers, I cannot see where I am going, but it was nice to hear God reassure me that I can continue to play without guilt. It's not selfish. It's obedience. And that was good to hear.

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