Thoughts from a Musician's Heart
GOD'S WHISPER INTO MY MUSICAL SOUL
by Kristen van Dyck
To be honest, I’m having trouble finding my musical spark. From high performance anxiety, physical pain in performing, feeling “behind” as a musician, and now a lack of musical direction…it has been a long season of sitting at the feet of Christ (sometimes with my violin in my hands and sometimes while it gathers dust in its case) and asking him, “Where are you leading me, Lord? What should I be doing with my violin right now?”
Why does music feel so personal? Conductor Delta David Gier recently wrote: “Music becomes very much who we are rather than simply what we do. This is not dissimilar to our walk of faith. As followers of Jesus, our Christianity is not a religion we practice but rather the very essence of who we are, and who we are becoming. We all sense these callings very deeply. How they intersect (or not) is vitally important.” YES, it feels so personal. God gives us this beautiful gift that can praise God so uniquely, so personally, yet it seems our (my!) sinful selves either divide these so strongly or combine them too selfishly.
So what do I do as I wait for God to whisper into my musical soul? In my work with Crescendo, God has been reminding me of Paul’s words, “But [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Boast in my weakness? As a musician?? How humble we must be as carriers of God’s spiritual gifts!
God is also teaching me that I can be a musician glorifying God in many facets. Last year, I strongly felt God’s calling to be on my church’s (contemporary) worship team. (Before this, I had zero interest in improvising or reading chord charts!) In improvisation, I’m learning to have an open-handed posture, saying, “Lord, I will play if you want me to play, and if you don’t want me to play, then I won’t.” I feel the Holy Spirit working in me in a way I’ve never experienced as a musician. No matter the musical setting (even if it’s covering pop songs!), this is no less of an offering to the Lord.
I recently read Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” It is faith that pleases God. Amidst my fears, disappointments, and waiting, God is reminding me that He desires and is pleased when I simply seek him, draw near to him, and walk by faith in whatever He calls me to do.
God, I know you haven't forgotten me or my musical gifts. Your power is made perfect in my weakness. In this season, I am choosing to believe that you are continually working in and for me, even if I don’t see or feel it. I am choosing to have faith that you have a plan for me, so I will walk by faith.