I decided to change things up a bit and title this post with a French hymn that we sang together during our church weekend. I actually had the joy of playing this song and others on my bassoon, but it honestly took a little while for me to realize that it truly was a joy.
As many of you know, I am a perfectionist, and this caused me some stress last weekend. I am not very good at picking up a piece of music and playing it right away, and I am not good at moving on and acting like I didn’t just make a bunch of mistakes. I like to have time to practice and make everything sound just right. However, during the church weekend, I was given some music I had never seen or heard before. After a small rehearsal on Saturday night, we all went to sing, play, and worship with one song together. As to be expected, I did not play very well. I was so mad because I knew I could have played so much better had I just had time to practice. I was also nervous because I was going to play the next morning at church, and I didn’t want to play badly again.
The next morning arrived, and I reluctantly put my bassoon together and waited for our run-through to start. In those moments, my attitude completely changed. I spent a few minutes being worried and mad at myself, and then I began to pray. It was as if the Lord whispered directly to me, “I don’t care,” and I knew just what this meant. God did not care if I missed a note here and there. God did not care if I had to take a breath in the middle of the phrase. God did not care if I had a bad tone or even if I squeaked. I realized that I was missing the point completely in focusing on these things. God was simply delighted that I was there worshipping him as he deserves to be worshipped, and He was delighted that I was doing my best. After this somewhat of a revelation, I had a wonderful time in worship. I got lost in the hymns and praised the Lord for who he is. I don’t even remember all of the mistakes I made because I was focused on the beauty of the Lord.
This lesson I was learning reminded me of a time I was in the car with my sweet aunt (who is probably reading this :)), and my cousin. We were listening to Christian radio, and my aunt was singing her heart out, praising the Lord. My cousin told her to stop singing because she sounded bad, and my aunt responded with something to the affect of, “If God had wanted me to have a good voice, he would have given me one, so just let me sing!” I laughed at it in the moment, but there is so much truth to it. Psalm 98:4 says:
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
There are so many times the Psalms say to make a “joyful” noise, but I can’t find one place where it says to make a “good” noise. Like my aunt said, God doesn’t care if we sound good, he only cares that we are joyful, praising him with everything that we have.
Up until now, I have spent this post talking about serving and worshiping the Lord through music, but I want to remind you that this truth applies to any capacity in which you serve. You don’t have to be the best Sunday school teacher, or the best evangelist, or the best preacher, or the best blogger (haha! :)) or the best encourager, or the best organizer, or the best leader, or the best volunteer. The list goes on and on. You simply have to do your best, joyfully serving the Lord. The Bible doesn’t say you have to be perfect at serving God, but you have to “love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and with all you soul” (Deuteronomy 11:13b). If we are willing and give our all, God will take what little we can give and use it in mighty ways. He is just so awesome like that.
A missionary we know used to say “The way they are doing it is better than the way I’m not doing it.” The fact is, I am certainly not the best bassoon player in the world, but I am there. If I am present, willing, and ready to worship the Lord to the best of my ability, God takes delight in that. I want to encourage you to simply be “present” in the ways God has called you to serve!
I want to leave you with the words of the third verse of this hymn in French first (because it is just so beautiful :)), and then my rough translation. It is called “For this Immense Happiness,”and it talks about all of the reasons we have to praise the Lord. I rest in the fact that God doesn’t care if this praise sounds “good.”
Que chaque jour, à chaque heure, alléluia
En moi, tu aies ta demeure, alléluia
Que ma vie soit une fleur, alléluia
Un parfum pour toi, Seigneur, alléluia !
That every day, at every hour hallelujah
In me, you have your dwelling, hallelujah
That my life would be a flower, hallelujah
A perfume for you, Savior, hallelujah!