“God can use you right where you are with what you have in your hand”. These words, spoken to me more than twenty years ago by my former worship pastor Ross Turner, have helped me COUNTLESS times throughout my life.
I was expressing to Ross how much I wished I could play like the keyboardest in the worship band. Ross encouraged me to not worry about what I couldn’t do and just be faithful with what I COULD do. I needed to stop bemoaning what I couldn't do and face up to the real truth. The truth was at that time in my life, I was enjoying singing on the worship team more than playing. Another truth was that if I wanted to, I could learn new skills... and I did! Now I teach students how to play in worship bands!
For years, I would say "I wish I had big blocks of time so I could learn to write music!" Finally, I just started using what snippets of time I did have and realized I actually could write music!
When I decided I wanted to record a CD, I came up with every excuse in the book why it would never happen. Finally, I just decided to be faithful with the steps that I COULD take, like finishing my songs so they would be ready when the time did come to record.
Here is a VERY RECENT example of how “using the tool in your hand” took me to the next step!
I HAD A CHOICE TO MAKE. Either I could let comparing myself to all the amazing people ahead of me shut me down, OR I could step out of my comfort zone and risk embarrassment and JUST DO IT! I chose the latter. The result? I happened to be paired with fellow pianist, Ed Bazel, and we had a momentary connection as we both stepped out of our comfort zones together! As a result of that moment in time, Ed invited me to be an artist on his streaming station “River of Calm”.
No step is too small! I am reminded of the words in Zechariah 4:10 "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin"! (NLT)
You just never know where the next step can lead you!
For years, I have missed out on opportunities because "comparison" crippled me. I have chosen not to do things out of fear that I wasn't good enough or that I might embarrass myself. I would think, "Someone else can do it better so why should I do it?"
Before the internet, the only people we compared ourselves to were the "Jones's next door". Now we have the whole world, with their best foot forward on social media, hitting us in the face every single day! Which one of us doesn't scroll through our pictures to make sure we post our 'better side'? Guilty as charged!
Which of these pictures do you think I posted? DUH!
Here are a few honest thoughts that help me fight against being crippled by comparison....
1. "You probably would not have wanted to walk in their shoes to get to where they are!"
I have lived long enough to know that is does not profit your soul to be envious of another person's title, talent, or even character traits. You most likely have not seen the struggles, the heartaches, the losses, the hard work, the persistence, the tears, the travail in prayer, or anything else it took for them to daily overcome in order to get to where there are today.
Just this week I was reading Psalm 21 and my thoughts were captured by verses two and three.
2. "Remember that Comparison & Envy are Close Companions!"
When I start hearing the "green eyed monster" whispering in my ear, I find I have two choices - LET IT INSPIRE ME or LET IT DEFEAT ME. I have to face reality - I am either willing to do what it takes to achieve an accomplishment I see in another person, or I would rather take a different course with my life and I have to be OK with that. I can celebrate what I see in them without being envious!
....to be continued
Feel free to leave a comment on how you fight being "crippled by comparison".
Have your cheeks ever hurt from grinning too much? Twice in my lifetime I have greeted the day with sore cheeks. The first was the morning after my wedding day. The second was the morning after I went snorkeling on a coral reef.
I was laughing at God – yes – laughing at the sheer joy God must have had in creating all these amazing creatures with such incredible beauty and variety! It was almost too much to take in!
My mind was blown again recently when I heard the number of galaxies in the universe surpass the number of grains of sand on the earth. If King David were living today, perhaps he would pen the words of Psalm 139 a little differently?
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand [galaxies of the universe]
Just this week, the church choir I am privileged to accompany sang these words from Psalm 147 in Chris Tomlin’s song, Indescribable...
Now THAT is something to grin about!!!
Enjoy my video below of Cosmos set to Hubble images!
Shock and Awe is one way to put it! I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard for me to process that I am actually 60 years old. Maybe because I'm the youngest in my entire extended family, or maybe because my parents both died young, I never really pictured what it might feel like to be 60!
I remember when I was in my thirties having a conversation with a friend of mine who was in her sixties at the time. (Of course I thought she was old ha!) She said to me, "Oh, being in your sixties is a wonderful stage of life! You can look forward to it!" She lived to be in her nineties and though that conversation seems like just a few years ago, I am counting on her words being true!
At some point, we do stop wishing to be older. I am sure that magic number is different for everyone. I don’t remember the exact age, but I remember the EXACT MOMENT when I stopped wanting to be older.
Well, you know the saying, “I wish I was as old as I was when I first thought I was old”! Never a truer saying, so that is why I am heeding my mother in law’s advice and reminding myself on this milestone birthday...
“BUT YOU'RE STILL SO YOUNG!”
Many things in life are like that, we get out what we put in. I am finding that marketing is very similar. I can track direct results any time I do any type of promotion.
I can see how many times each song has been played, as well as the geographical location of those streams. These maps show the countries where my music has been streaming the last 90 days. Pretty Cool huh?
Lest you think these listeners are making me rich...right now it's just a trickle. Hopefully, this trickle will continue to grow with time, but only if I keep learning, working, and promoting. I have learned that artists who make an income with their music have worked very hard over a long time to get there. Successful artists promote themselves.
Self promotion is really distasteful to me.
I hate it actually - it is WAY out of my comfort zone! So then, why do it?
Just the other day I was feeling kind of low and wondering if I should just stop all this “internet stuff” and go back to the way things were when it was just me and my piano. After all, playing and writing is the fun part for me! That very day, I received a text from a friend who said she had been feeling really sad. She started playing my Pandora station and was “so blessed….feeling a sense of purpose and peace…thank you from the bottom of my heart!” she said.
Can you imagine how that made me feel? It was just what I needed to keep going!!!
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