Friday, September 21, 2007

#8 I Stopped Measuring Myself By Singular Activities

Hello All,

It began on a Saturday night during the early days of Saturday Night Life, a community service that used to be held at Calvary Chapel of Redlands. It was a great musical experience from the very beginning of the evening until the very end. The musicians were great players, assembled from all kinds of churches and had a real desire to play. It was an exciting place to play.

On this particular night, I just was not playing as well as I had become accustomed to. I was missing cues, dropping beats and playing ahead of the tempos. I felt the frustration of the leader and the rest of the band. It began to discourage me when I thought that I was letting the band down, most of whom looked forward to this evening together.

After the first set, I walked outside, wanting to quit the band and quit playing the drums! I thought that nobody would want to play with me again after I had blown it so badly.

Now, repeat this over and over again in every aspect of my life. Drumming was just one area. Later, the same scenario would happen when I delivered a sub-standard sermon. How about the nights when as a worship leader, the list did not turn out as cool as I had imagined! And then there were the days when counseling appointments went awry. Each of these instances caused me to question whether or not I should stay in ministry or in the calling and function that I was working in.

Then, I came to some epiphanies. First, God never requires perfection from His servants. He calls upon us to be skillful (Psalm 33:3), so I work hard on my various crafts. I practice before I play drums on Sundays, even if I have played the songs a thousand times. I spend hours working on sermons, poring over books and notes, restlessly re-writing until I feel that I have said something as clearly as possible. I will even practice responses to counseling scenarios, thinking through problems that I hear about, and thinking how I would respond to them. In all these ways, I work on my skill set. Additionally, God calls on us to be faithful (II Timothy 2:2). We are called to be reliable and "there" when we are called upon. But perfection is outside of the realm of possibility. (Yes, Jesus tells us to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, but the context of that verse and the actual Greek word would necessitate an alternate interpretation. The idea there would be to be completed, full or mature, meaning that we become whole and one in heart and spirit just as God is whole and one in heart and spirit...but I digress!)

Second, I realized that I was looking forward to experiencing my gift and relishing that, over the the desire to please the Lord. My service, whether it be preaching, teaching, drumming or counseling, had taken a front seat in my heart. I don't think that I recognized it then, but I see it clearly now. I was never bummed in those days, if my heart was not right. But I would GRIEVE when I made mistakes behind the drums or gave less than perfect counsel. This reveals now a gravely misappropriated service unto the Lord.

More than anything, I was making church, ministry, performance to a certain extent, the marker for my worth. And it made me miserable!

So I stopped! I stopped measuring myself on one sermon or one session or one worship set. I realized that more often than not, my purpose was bigger than I thought and at the same time, not as big as I thought! What I mean is that I am never just a drummer on any given Sunday. I am a drummer who is a friend and counselor to the other musicians. I might also be an inspiration to someone else who is aspiring to play the drums and an encouragement to others that might want to be involved. My purpose is always bigger than my job!

My purpose is always to glorify the Lord and to lift His name above my own. That purpose might be served in an unplanned comment or moment of prayer and ministry. It might be accomplished more in my countenance when I play, than my count off for the band! His purpose through me might be accomplished before or after the service and have nothing to do with the fingerpainting that I just presented the Lord with!

The result of all this thought really surprised me: I enjoy everything so much more! I enjoy drumming, speaking, and counseling a million times more than I used to. I can go home after a "bad" day, still wanting to do better the next time, but not crippled mentally that I didn't! I take it all in the context that I have a life that is to be lived out before the Lord, and each day I have the opportunity to be consistently His. Everything else is icing on the cake.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

No comments: