God's Answer Loud and Clear

Recently I've been struggling with making everything fit into my extremely busy schedule.  Between writing, blogging, marketing, teaching (both a college class and a Sunday School class), playing the piano for church, singing special music and/or with the choir, keeping up with housework and grocery shopping, doing favors for friends and loved ones, exercising and trying to make a little time for Jason and the dogs, I've found myself running like a hamster on the wheel.  I'm running as fast as my little legs can carry me, but I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere.

This is not the first time I've been in this situation, so I knew what I needed to do.  It was time to sit down and once again evaluate my life and my priorities.  Which of these things has the Lord called me to do? Which of these things do I need to do, and which ones can be delegated to someone else?   Which of these things do I enjoy doing?  Which of these things causes me the most stress?  And lastly, which of these things am I merely doing out of a sense of duty or obligation?

In the end, I had some definite "yes, this is the Lord's will for my life" deeds, a couple of "maybe I need to learn to say 'no' more often" deeds and one "I don't think I'm supposed to be doing this".   The last one was playing the piano for church.  You see, when we joined Bible Baptist 12 years ago, I had no intention of becoming the pianist.  In fact, when I first started playing, it was as a "fill-in" pianist.  Somehow over the years, I became the full-time pianist.  The bad part is that I'm very limited in what I can play.  There are certain keys I'm unable to play in.  I can't transpose music on the fly.  I can play by ear to a small extent, but don't expect me to just pick up a song and play along with you. . . especially if I've never heard it.  Because of these limitations, playing the piano is often very stressful for me.  In addition to the stress of playing congregational and choir numbers, I'm also required to come up with at least three offertories each week.

So, you see, playing the piano for me does not just involve sitting down during the service and plunking out the song.  I have to practice and prepare.  I have to be there early and stay late.  I have a part in nearly every play or program and am obligated to attend every practice for said play or program.  In short, it's another part-time job, and one that I felt I was doing for all the wrong reasons.  In fact, this is how I described the situation to Jason:

I enjoy playing the piano for myself because it relaxes me, but I don't ever get to do that anymore.  What little time I have to play is spent practicing for church.  I don't know that I ever felt called to play the piano at church.  I just happened to be there when the church needed a pianist, and I've been stuck there ever since.  I feel like the only reason I'm doing it is out of duty and because no one else will step up and take over.  I don't feel that's a good reason to keep doing something, so I'm thinking about giving it up.  I'd like to just sit back and enjoy the service for once.  I'd like to have time before and after the service to chat with people instead of having to rush up to the piano and get my music ready.  Yep, I don't think this is God's will.

Jason didn't agree.  He urged me to pray about the situation and to keep playing until I knew for sure one way or another what God's will was.  I agreed to do that much.  That very night, the wife of our choir director called to ask me about learning and playing a new song for the choir.  After listening to the song and seeing the sheet music, I had to inform her that it was beyond my present ability.  Sure, I could learn it eventually, but I just don't have the time to invest in it right now (nor did I want to).  I felt bad (as I usually do when I feel like I'm limiting our music program), and I took it as a sign that God was confirming my suspicion that I was outside His will in the regard of playing the piano for church.  That is, until Sunday morning.

Our preacher's message hit me right between the eyes.  He spoke of being weary in well doing.  He talked of becoming so tired and overwhelmed that we no longer remember or realize why we're doing the things we do.  He went on to talk about doing things out of duty or obligation and how sometimes those thoughts are Satan's way of pulling us out of the will of God.  The main point of the message was about asking God to anoint us with fresh oil each and every day so that we don't get burned out.  By the end of the message, I knew I had my answer.  Honestly, it wasn't the answer I wanted, but I know it was the answer I needed.

So, I've decided to keep playing the piano at church, but I'm not playing for Bible Baptist Church; I'm playing for the Lord.  I'm playing to bring honor and glory to His name.  With His help and with the anointing of fresh oil, I trust that the position will be less stressful and more joyful.  And who knows, He may even provide the time and energy for me to improve my skills.

Have you grown weary in well-doing?  Are you tired, frustrated and discouraged?  Do you find yourself wondering why you're doing what you're doing and if you're still in the Lord's will?  If so, ask the Lord for His direction, and while you're waiting for the answer, continue to do what you're doing.  Believe me, He'll make the answer loud and clear.  And then, no matter what answer you receive, follow His will.  You won't be sorry!