Sunday, April 18, 2010

Better than I was

Today I got home early from orchestra practice - not because I had to leave early, but because they only needed the first four stands in each strings section for certain songs. Every time I go to orchestra practice, I'm reminded of the fact that I'm last chair in the second violins. It's not the most encouraging thing in the world. Sometimes I think I should be at least one stand up, but this is where I am. When I first found out which chair I got, I determined that I was going to be the best player I could be, regardless of position.

Even so, it's still kind of discouraging to take my seat in the last spot in the violin section - especially when they forget to put down a chair for me. Lol. Oh sure, there are advantages, like always knowing where to sit, and being in the back so no one hears any mistakes you make. But still.

Now all that's at orchestra. Outside of orchestra, I play at concerts and events with my dad, who plays piano professionally. I've gotten many compliments, tips (as in money), and encouragement.
I play at church with my youth group, and can improvise and play by ear. I'm still learning, but I'm better than I used to be.

And that's the key phrase here: "I'm better than I used to be." I may not be concert mistress of the orchestra. I may not even be in the first four stands that are playing the other songs. But look how far I've come! From scratching out notes on the violin in an attempt to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, to playing well advanced songs like Tchaikovsky and worship songs like "The Revelation Song." And the good news is I don't have to stay here. I can keep progressing; practicing my violin and being a good steward over the "talents" I have been given from the Master. (See the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14.)

That's something I heard Joyce Meyer say recently - that we shouldn't be discouraged by always looking at how far we have to go, how good someone else is compared to us, etc. We shouldn't be content to stay where we are - we should always be progressing - but we can rejoice at how far we've come in our relationship with God, our instruments, sports, writing, and whatever else you're working on.

And that's another thing - comparing yourself to someone else. And really, that's not doing anyone a favor. God has placed unique gifts in you. Yeah, several other people may play classical music on the violin better than I could ever imagine, but I know that I'm not called to play in an orchestra for a living. So I work on the kind of music I'm supposed to be playing, and get my training from orchestra. Only you can do what you do. No one else will or can ever play exactly the way you do. Some will play worse, some better. But we don't look to other people for the standard - you look to God's expectations. He wants your best, not a half-hearted try. So do it for Him above all else.

Lately I've been realizing how precious and fleeting time is. Between school, orchestra, work, and everything else, it's hard to really find time to do everything else one is supposed to - such as practice different kinds of music, exercise, do chores, spend time with family, and for me, studying to get my license, being head admin of two message boards and actually trying to keep them active. (The last I've always had trouble with, with or without time.) But all this is especially hard when I use free time to get on face book, edit pictures, etc.

So this is where prioritizing comes in. Which, I've done several times before, but I never really stick with it because my schedule keeps changing. So that's why we really need to pray and seek God about which things we should be working on first, how long we should be working on them, etc. Yes, we can spend time relaxing and doing things we enjoy, but don't use every spare moment doing it.

So as soon as I finish this post, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to pray, and then figure out what I need to be spending the most time on. And if that means fasting some things like face book, so be it.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for the day. Blessings to you all!