Here is an example of how God uses the foolish and weak things. My happy place is when I am alone, the space is quiet, and I am buried in a book or studying music without interruption. I can go many hours like this, content to be isolated from people. This works well for a classical pianist whose art demands a great deal of focus and reflection, not to mention the repetitive nature of practice. It does not bode as well for the performer. And here is the irony. That to be a performer of classical music, one must perform in front of people.
I battle this reality, because it is in my nature to withdraw. What, then, is my motivation to perform?
Music demands a listener. To some extent, the listener can be me, for when I’m at the piano I am creating as well as listening. But the music is not always satisfied with a single audience member.
Classical music is unique to all other music that I know of, excepting jazz perhaps, in that it requires a certain level of focused study in order to bring it to fruition. This kind of study happens at least twice, once in the mind of the composer and second in the mind of the performer. One could argue that, if it is a collaborative or orchestral work it is also required of the director and conductor. One could also argue that it is required of the audience who listens. (And of course, there are the teachers and mentors and coaches!) There is something about the thoughtfulness that goes into composing and studying a classical piece, the discipline and effort required, the investment of these things--that demands an audience.
Last year when I was working on recording my first classical CD I had in mind that I could straddle my introverted world with that of the performer in a happy medium, namely: recording a CD in the privacy and comfort of my living room, a “performance” that could be heard by vast numbers of people. And while this is true in a sense, the process of recording a CD is so far removed from a live performance situation, it really can’t be compared at all. I am left with the music, my introverted nature, the composers’ demands, and the necessity of an audience to listen. Here is where I think God has a great sense of humor.
He calls people who are weak to do things completely out of their comfort zone. My personal belief in the reason behind it is so that we always have to rely on Him for our success. As a Christian, God’s Spirit lives in me and enables me to push past my insecurities and even at times my personality, in order to serve a greater purpose. In terms of me being a pianist, the purpose is to share this great music with a wider audience than myself. My security lies in who God is as my Father, Creator, Redeemer, and Friend.
I was created to be a pianist. I was born into sin, which among other things, paralyzes with its doubts and insecurities. God, through the death of His Son, redeemed me from this paralyzing sin and set me free to live as He intended, not enslaved to my sin nature but freed to be and to do all that He intends as I depend on Him. As my Friend, I know God is with me on whatever stage He ends up placing me on, and He is for me even as I falter in my dependence on Him and am tempted to believe the insecurities and doubts that inevitably plague performers. In my weakness He is strong; I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. This is not a female-empowerment message: I am woman, hear me roar! This is a God-empowering message: that when I believe in Jesus as the Savior and Redeemer of my soul, God moves in to strengthen and empower me to do the work He created me to do. And so I need not battle against my introverted self, but instead rely on the God who intentionally made me that way so that I might rest fully in Him!