Listening…Listening…

This morning I was reminded, in a book I’ve been reading as part of my daily devotional time, that the single season of life is my best chance to be effective for the kingdom of God. 

It reminded me of a sermon I was listening to, a few weeks ago, while I was on the treadmill.  The point was to be dilligent with spiritual disciplines, and the pastor began with an illustration about being disciplined in other areas.  He spoke of a high school girl who was musically talented, but didn’t work hard at it.  Her natural abilities carried her through high school, and she was the best in her “small pond,” and she was used to being the best.  Then she went to college and she wasn’t the best anymore, and she wasn’t used to being disciplined and dilligent in her practice, so she became discouraged and she quit.  The pastor said that she went into another field of work, and now she was singing in her church’s music ministry, but “imagine the effect she could have had on the world, for the kingdom of God.”

(Ouch.)

(I swear to you, I do not personally know that pastor.  He was definitely not talking about me.)

(No, really.)

Regret is such a powerful thing.  It’s toxic.  It’s poison, and if you let it get the best of you, you miss what is right in front of you because you’re convinced you missed the only good thing you could have ever had.  And, most importantly, I don’t believe regret is always valid.  The regret is more an issue than the thing you are regretting.

I would like to think God wouldn’t let me miss out on what I’m supposed to be doing.  But there’s this thing called free will.  If I am not listening, if I choose to take an action against what God wants me to do…He isn’t going to stop me.  It’s my life to live, and it’s my choice whether I live it for Him and His will, or for something else.

Still, the regret must be dealt with.

First of all, when I quit music, I was most certainly not listening for God’s will.  I’m not saying I would have made a different choice, but whatever I would have done, I would have done it for a different reason.  Second of all, as I have said before, I know now that God is not calling me to be a high school music teacher, which is where I was headed.  Third, I have to believe that I made the best decision I could with the information that I had at the time.

The business I need to be concerned with is making the best decision right now, with the information that I have right now.  Right now I have to live.  I have to move forward in some way.  That’s what I’m doing with this masters program.  It’s a step.  Towards what, who knows?  Who cares?  God knows where I’m going, and I don’t always need to.  There are logically good reasons to do this.  I’m finding the classes interesting.  And most importantly, I asked God, and He gave me peace about this. 

Teaching is hard.  I’ve had a hard year this year, and an especially hard last couple of days before the weekend.  But I could not be more convinced that this is what God needs me to do right now.  These little people whose minds and hearts are in my care, God wants me to be good to them, and do my best at shaping their young minds, within the situation that He has placed me.  This isn’t an accident.  God placed within me a heart for children, and a passion for relationships, and an interest in education.  Those three things show me just what I should do, and how I should do it.  I’m not the teacher that yells and screams, that doles out punishment like crazy, etc.  I’m the one who, right or wrong, lets them stay with me at recess to sharpen pencils and draw on the board, who gives them snack several times a week, even if I have to buy it myself, who wants to know what happened at home, even when it’s hard for me to hear.  My classroom is based on relationships.  That’s just how God made me.

However…You know the “other” passion that wages war within me.  It shouldn’t be a war, but sometimes it is, because of that poisonous regret.  I told my sister about a concert I’ll be attending in a couple months, and she said, “You live such a musical life.”  And I responded, “Yeah, ‘cuz otherwise I’d just be dead.”  🙂  And you can laugh, and I meant it to be funny.  But it rang of truth.  Absolute truth.  I wouldn’t die as a result of not doing anything musical, I don’t think.  I can’t be certain.  🙂  But I know for certain that I could never, never live without anything musical. 

You can’t kill yourself by holding your breath.  But you can’t go on not breathing.  Your need for breath makes you breathe.  That’s the best way I can explain it.

Now that I’ve explained myself clearly, I will no longer apologize for using the phrase “I can’t live without it.”  I will no longer concede that it’s over-dramatic.  🙂

I watch this:

Just the first 40 seconds is all you need to see.  I would give anything to be any of the people onstage, but particularly the cello ladies.  (Oh why didn’t I take cello?)  🙂  But the truth is, I get to be those cello ladies, all the time.  Every Sunday morning.  Every Wednesday night.  Some Tuesdays and Thursdays, during the season of the community band that I’m involved with.  Heaven only knows what other opportunities will present themselves.  The tricky part is, we know musicians because they are musicians.  It’s too easy to think that they just play music, all the time.  But truth be told, they are more like me than unlike me.  They have husbands, wives, parents, children, siblings, friends.  They exercise, do yoga, play sports.  They read their bibles and go to church (or at least, some of them do!).  They get obsessed with movies, t.v. shows, songs, books.  They have to pay the bills, clean the house, feed themselves, clothe themselves, brush their teeth, take care of their pets.

Just because I can’t live without music, I start believing that if I could just do music, all the time, I would like it.  I wouldn’t.  What you love the most, you still need a break from it.  If I were very busy with a career related to music, I still wouldn’t think about music all the time, all day, every day.  If I did, it still wouldn’t be enough.  It could never be enough.  Wonderful as it is, I’m afraid music is a construct of this world, and this world is never enough.

This weekend my sister also asked me if I thought I would marry a right-brained person.  I said I have no idea, whoever God wants me to marry, and why would she ask?  She said she just wondered if I would want to marry someone who is into music as well.  Of course, no, I will marry the person God wants me to marry, if God wants me to get married at all, into music or not.  But, at this moment I can’t imagine joining my life permanently with someone who doesn’t get it.  And my sister said, well, I can’t imagine that any nice guy would have a problem with you being ineterested in any particular hobby.  She’s right, and I certainly wouldn’t join my life with someone who felt it was okay to criticize or belittle anything that was important to me.  But I can’t imagine joining my life with someone who doesn’t get it, who doesn’t completely understand how playing my piano all alone can be the best part of my day, how what music I choose to play in my classroom after school makes a huge difference to me, how not being able to sing is the worst part of being sick.  How proud I am of all the work I did to get to be this good at clarinet, even if I don’t use the extent of my skill very much right now.  So, yes, I suppose I would like to marry someone who is into music.  🙂  If the person God has planned for me isn’t, then He’ll have to work on me and my expectations first.

So…

So, I’m listening.  I’m listening to find out what God wants me to do with this teaching career that He’s given me.  I’m listening to see what God wants me to do with this passion and talent and need for music that He has placed within me.  I’m listening to see if God wants me to get married, and to whom, and whether or not he is calling me to have children.  I’m even listening for the little things.

Yesterday is done, tomorrow is not my business yet.  I’m listening to see what God wants me to do with today.

Advertisements

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Doris Jacobs
    Feb 17, 2010 @ 09:34:30

    “Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed.” Dale Carnegie

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: