Why Can't I Be Like Her?

If I may, I'm going to pry for a moment, but don't worry, for there is a purpose to my prying.  Is there someone in your life that stokes the fires of self-pity within you?  When they're around, you feel like less -- less of a person, less of a worker, less of a Christian, less of everything, though typically not through anything that person says of does.  After all, he/she is just being himself/herself, but for whatever reason, in that person's presence, you feel inferior.

In my own life, the person that evokes these feelings in me is the former pianist for our church.  Please don't misunderstand me, this lady is as sweet as they come and has NEVER done or said anything to stir such feelings.  It's what others have said when comparing me to her.  You see, this lady was very experienced at playing the piano and had years of training to reach such a level of accomplishment.  I, on the other hand, have only had a few years of training, during which time circumstances made it necessary for me to be bounced from one teacher to another.  That process alone involved backtracking and learning from different viewpoints (i.e. only play what's written, play by ear, add some flair, improvise, and so on).  The good thing is that the various approaches have given me a lot of areas to work with.  The bad part is that I never got far enough in any one area to reach a level of mastery.  Competent?  Yes.  Proficient?  Hardly.

So, when this young lady married and left our church, I was left to fill the position as church pianist.  Talk about having big shoes to fill!  I've worked and practiced, but to be honest, with all my other obligations, I just don't have the time to devote to the hours of practice I need to become even half the pianist she is.  As if I don't already know that, a few people carelessly throw comments my way that remind me I'm an inferior pianist.  I want to scream, "I know, but what are the options?  I can walk away from the piano, and the church can be without a pianist.  Until you find someone better, you're stuck with me!"  And truly, that's how I often feel--that the church is stuck with me.  I've even tried to back away from the position, but God will not give me peace about doing so.

Sunday night, the former pianist and her family visited our church.  Naturally, she and her husband were asked to sing a special.  They sang a song that our choir director (her father) had given me weeks ago to try to learn to play for the choir.  It's coming along even though the timing is awkward and the song is unfamiliar.  But as soon as she began playing Sunday night, my heart sank.  I'll never be able to play it like that, I thought.  The choir director will surely be disappointed if that's what he's used to hearing.  So right there in church, I had myself a little pity party.

It wasn't long before the Spirit whispered to me (not audibly, of course), "Child, I'm not concerned with your level of talent but with your level of faithfulness".  What?  You mean He doesn't care if all I can do is peck out "Mary Had a Little Lamb"?  If that's all I'm truly capable of and I do it from the heart with the proper motive, then no, He doesn't care how pitiful it may sound.  He doesn't care how many mistakes I make or about the level of flourishes I can add to the melody.  All He cares is that I'm serving Him to the best of my ability and with a heart of praise.  When I do, even "Mary Had a Little Lamb" sounds better to His ears than anything Beethoven or Mozart could do.

I am not the best pianist.  I am not the best writer.  I am certainly not the best housewife.  But you know what?  That's okay!  God didn't call me to be the best.  He called me to be faithful, and as long as I am, He's proud of me.  Since that's the case, it really doesn't matter what anyone else says or thinks. . . including me!

But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. - Galatians 6:4