Yesterday and into this morning, seemingly all things in my mind ceased except my circumstances (ie- senior recital extravaganza).
Now that "today" has turned into "tonight," I have been reflecting on that state of mind and how my new state of mind is back to thinking about normal life and classes and homework and the next four weeks (also known as the last four weeks of my college career).
It is truly amazing to me how easily I can forget what it feels like to be stressed out. This past week I was more stressed out than I have been in a long time, so much so that my mind was numbed to anything not having to do with my senior recital. The problem with that is that there were other things happening besides my senior recital preparation, including a paper, a test, various homework assignments, and my Praxis II test (to get my music teaching license). Preparations for the recital, as stated, were enough to keep me preoccupied-- dress rehearsal, reception details, program details, family visiting, boyfriend visiting, practicing and final touches on music, dress and hair and make-up details, etc. Needless to say, my mind has been swimming in the to-do lists covering the various surfaces of my desk.
Now, I feel a huge sense of refreshment and relief. I can't really remember the last time I was truly this relaxed. I feel like I am ready to rock out these last four weeks, and I find great joy in knowing that accomplishment breeds motivation in my life.
Just this morning I was thinking about why I was getting ready to perform and what kind of impact my performance had on eternity. The wonderful thing that I realized is that I am performing not to my own standards or the standards of the music department primarily. I perform for the standards of only my God who loves me and him alone. The great thing is that even though God is perfect and desires that perfection for us, his perfection is one of character and not solely of deed. I realized today that if I am performing for the standards of humans, I have to feel bad about making mistakes because I (as a human) care about performing all the notes right and expressing emotion perfectly as to inspire my audience to be captivated by the music I am playing.
If I am performing for the standards of God, I have only to worry about my attitude in performance. If I am performing solely for the glory of God and am working to humble myself in a way that his character shows through me, that is the most rewarding performance. All pressure to be perfect is off because I know that no matter how well I do, God loves me and is pleased with the approach I am taking toward the performance. I don't have to be nervous about what the audience will think of my performance if the only person I am seeking to please loves me even when I am not seeking to please him at all.
After all, it was God who prompted me to switch to studying music. It was God who, consistent with his prompting in my heart, enabled me and motivated me throughout these past four years to study and improve my musicianship. It was God who gave me a vision of teaching music that focuses on caring about people and teaching people to love beauty because God delights in beauty and creativity. It was God who called me to follow him, and it was he who brought me to Taylor to do so. It was God who provided for me financially in order to get me to Taylor. It was God who provided me an immensely loving community of people who have helped shape who I am while being at Taylor. It is God who continues to provide for my every emotional, spiritual, and physical need.
I have so much to thank God for. So why shouldn't I praise who he is? Psalm 150 says we can praise God through any instrument, through our voices, and through dance. That was my intention for today. I praised God, I showed the audience how loving and gracious God is, through my clarinet playing. It was not for my posterity, but it was to show God that I love and appreciate him and all he has done for me. Can you imagine where I would be if I had just relied on myself or other people around me and not on the Almighty One who reigns over all people and all circumstances? Yeah, it would be a very different place. Probably a really sad and boring place. Instead, I'm at a place of joy and passion, finding peace and rest in the presence of one who is in control when I am completely out of control, frazzled, and stressed. God's goodness and power triumphs over all circumstances.
We serve a God who is so good. We can never be as good as he is.