The past couple of months, I have been playing keyboard at our new church. We moved to a new city and state three months ago and the church we were invited to didn’t have a keyboard player. Although I was still “wet behind the ears” I volunteered to play. I tend to let my excitement over something override my rational thinking. I failed to consider I’ve only been playing songs a little over a year, and exclusively in the privacy of my home-by myself.
I practiced with the group for about a month, trying to sync up with the other band members. Then I began playing on Sunday mornings-and that’s when the trouble started. By the second week I was overcome with anxiety. All that went through my mind, while playing on stage, was to get through the song set and no more! It was quitn’ time! On more than one occasion, I told my husband,
“I can’t do this. I want to quit. The fear is too great.”
Each week seemed to bring more and more fears and anxiety. The moment the service started, the nervousness came like waves over me. I had to grit my teeth and bear through each song service, only finding relief when I was seated in my seat?off the stage! You ask, why didn’t you just quit. No big deal. The funny thing is I wanted to play. I enjoyed playing but that nagging fear kept raining on my parade.
So here I am crying (literally) to God on how I can’t do this anymore and it’s too hard. How I need His help…But giving up was not easy. Actually, it wasn’t really an option. Now rewind to a year prior. I was just beginning to get a grasp on putting chords together to play smoothly-nowhere ready to play outside the home; and the Lord showed me a quick image of myself playing keyboard in a church. At the time, we had no intentions on moving, nor did the current church we were attending need any extra keyboard players. It didn’t make sense then, but in time it all unfolded. Fast forward to now, the Lord reminded me of what He showed me the previous year, and despite how I was feeling, I was in the center of His will
I was reminded of how we are given “cups to drink,” if you will. Plans that God has for our lives that don’t always line up with ours. Ones that definitely don’t come easy. Mountains that seem too big to climb. Trials that feel too heavy to bear. Times that our circumstances make us feel anything but peace and joy.
These places have a way of bringing us to a fork in the road. Will we take the road that requires complete surrender and reliance on Jesus? Or the road leading to our own will and self-sufficiency? We wrongly believe being in control is the easiest path to take. Controlling our future is supposed to make life easier, right? To anyone who has chose it knows it’s the weightiest most worrisome route we could ever take.
That trouble brought me to a place of surrender. My prayer changed to something like this,
“Lord I can’t do it on my own. I surrender. I surrender wanting to do things MY way. I drink the cup You have placed in my hand.”
This sounds like an oxymoron, but I found freedom in submitting. Knowing that I didn’t have to fight and stumble and struggle with this decision anymore, but completely give it to Jesus and let Him determine the outcome, was so liberating. It was a weight lifted. How we often think we must carry every trouble we face. We do this by mentally planning escape routes or ways to carry the burden easily. When all that is required is to empty it in the Father’s hands and wait. Watching. Patiently.
It reminds me of the scripture in Romans 6:20, “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.” Similarly, when I was a slave to fear, I was free from peace. It took becoming a slave to God’s will, God’s control, to be free from the fear that plagued me.
Submitting ourselves to God brings the greatest freedom to our lives!