Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Out on a Limb

Guess what I with my homemade and hand-foamed mocha this morning? A touch of God's grace.

Let me explain.

Lisa leads the choir and music at church. She's a gifted musician and singer herself, so she knows music, and, like many of us who perform, she wrestles with perfectionism. Now, when it comes to singing and music, a little perfectionism isn't a bad thing. It pushes us to do our very best, to deliver the performance with excellence. Too much, though, and you strangle the music and the performer. It's a tough balance to achieve.

So anyway, Lisa called this morning and asked if she could come over. I could tell, from the tone of her voice, that this wasn't a visit she wanted to make. Thing is, I was pretty sure I knew why she wanted to talk with me. Our church choir is doing a challenging piece for Easter, The End of the Beginning. We performed it several years ago, and I got to do the solo. GREAT fun! So, of course, I auditioned to do the solo again this year. When Lisa called, I was pretty sure she was going tell me she wanted someone else to do the solo. Why, you ask, couldn't she just tell me that over the phone? Well, for one thing, she has a kind, kind heart and hates to disappoint anyone. For another, our church has been dealing with some inner turmoil of late, and I think she just wasn't looking forward to what might be a negative encounter.

I am, at heart, a performer. I love being in the spotlight. I love using the gifts God has given me to bless and touch people. And, though I hate to admit it, I can be a Diva. So it wasn't unreasonable for Lisa to worry that I might react negatively her news. In fact, I reacted badly several years ago when she had someone else do a song I really wanted. Petty, I know. I don't like that aspect of myself. But when I heard the hesitant tone in Lisa's voice...

It shamed me. That someone who had known me for so long would be afraid to tell me something? Be worried about my reaction? That wasn't right. So I asked God to forgive me, and to make my heart as kind and tender as Lisa's. As His.

When Lisa arrived, she looked so...fearful. I knew I was right, that the solo was going to someone else. I waited for the Diva to appear...

Enter God's grace.

The Diva was nowhere to be found.

Instead, all I felt was the desire to ease Lisa's heart. I let her know it was okay. She shared that when she prayed about the solo, God whispered to her, "Not Karen this time." When I heard that, all I felt was excitement. Then Lisa said, "I'm out on a limb with this decision. I know you'd do a superb job with the solo, but it's clear God wants this other person to do it." And at that, I teared up at God's kindness and mercy. This person will be so blessed by Lisa's obedience. And I knew, in my heart of hearts, that Lisa wasn't alone on that limb. That God was there, holding it steady, not just for her, but for me and the other singer and the people who will hear and be moved by the song when it's done. Because this whole issue isn't about the song. It's about obedience. And letting go of ego and self to embrace God's direction.

I don't know if the Diva is dead for good. I hope she is. But I know this, if God calls me to a limb, I want to follow Lisa's example. I want to climb out there, seemingly in midair with no safety net. Because when you're out on a limb with God, even if you fall, He'll catch you.

And, in His will and way...
...He'll show you how to fly. 

Peace, all.



Sandy said...

Wow! Thanks so much for sharing. Have fun flying!

Susan Basham said...

Beautiful, Karen! I can relate. And it's not obedience until it requires a sacrifice. :)
Blessings, Susan Basham