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It’s a gift from God, so don’t let frustrations cloud your sight!

In Church, Ministry
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Photo grabbed from Kamyl Manchus. The cutie ring was also from her. <3

Music has played a great part in drawing me closer to God.

I may not be the most excellent pianist, but could you believe it, my very weaknesses in playing the piano are the ones used by God to reveal to me a lot of things.
Tears are streaming down my face right now.
Minutes earlier, it was out of utter frustration. Why? Many questions lured me to fear and to doubt. Man, was I so emotional lately! But then again, it is moments like this that give memorable lessons to me.
Music is from God, and so is my Piano-playing
 Before I even got serious with God, I got piano lessons. My ninong gave me an electric piano as a gift. I do not even know what came to his mind when he gave me that! During that time, I did not realize how expensive that keyboard was. I only thought that it was some toy I could play with.

One time, on a field trip, I bought a bamboo recorder that comes with a paper with a little tutorial. “Close these holes if you want to play a ‘G’ and so on..” It has famous songs on it, with the melody translated into these letters. As soon as I get home, I tried these melodies on my dusty keyboard, untouched and almost forgotten. My brother, knowing a few stuff from their music classes, put masking tape on every key so I would know which key is C, or whatever. My mom saw how happy I was to play the melody of “Lupang Hinirang”. My mom immediately suggested that I take piano lessons the next summer.

The next thing I know, I was taking classical piano lessons. I was very bored! I thought it would be cool, but it was contrary to my dream piano lessons. I always tried to feign sickness just to have an excuse to skip lessons. But my mom nags on me about that all the time! She almost dragged me to the piano, even when I tried to fake sleep, just to have piano lessons.

After 3 years of “forced classical piano studies, I stopped. I thought I would be busier in high school and I wouldn’t manage if I still continue my music lessons.

But it was not out of my life just yet. When I was in second year high school, I started attending Gencon. It was an unexpected time of the year – there came conflicts with the pianists so the worship team needed pianists so badly that I was forced to learn how to play Christian songs. Classical piano is way waaaaaaay different in playing in church. It’s an entirely different game.

But I don’t regret entering this ministry. I might have thought earlier in the ministry that I was forced being there, but when I think about it, I had a choice! And I chose to play for God just because I thought it was the right thing to do.
I consider our music director, Pastor Jordan, as my mentor in piano-playing. Also one of our ex-pianists, Kuya Gino, taught me some stuff. I am sooo blessed to have them!

True enough, choosing to be involved in this ministry was a good decision. I have encountered so much of God through this ministry.

In being involved in the music ministry, I learned so much about
commitment.
I learned how to set aside my comfort just so I could play the piano for God. I would wake up early in the morning only to practice with the team. Imagine, I would be sacrificing a couple of hours of more sleep just to go to the P&W practice and hear our music director’s frank criticisms. :))
At first I did it just because I had to – we were only two pianists back then. But after a while, God transformed my heart and I learned to do it for Him.

My family saw how much devoted I was with what I did. Sometimes, my mom would get angry because I choose to play for our youth service, instead of going out with my family. I held on to Matthew 10:37 back then. As long as God does not tell me to put my family affair first to minister to them, I would play the piano. After years in the ministry, my family finally understood. 🙂 Praise God for moving in their hearts!

I also learned a lot about
humility.
They say that the number one enemy of a church musician is playing for their own glory.
But for me, it was not the case. The music ministry was very humbling for me. Because in it, I saw how undeserving I was. I saw how much improvement I should sweat for. Thanks to our praise and worship team, I always received the harshest words about my piano playing… which in turn changed my attitude towards it for the better! 🙂
Criticisms are hard to take when you have so much pride in your skill. But when you humble yourself, that’s when you become more teachable and more versatile.

Being in the Praise & Worship team, of course, I had a deeper understanding of
worship.
When you have a ministry such as this, it’s your gift being offered as worship.
I realized that God is not pleased by how good you are in that gift, He is more interested by what’s in your heart. The true worshipper does not stop worshipping when circumstances are less comfortable. The true worshipper worships regardless of where he is, whether it would be on the stage, on the church benches, or even when he’s alone. Worship is a lifestyle.

I first took to heart this word because of music,
excellence.
Yes, God’s most pleased with what’s in your heart. But when your heart seeks to offer what’s best, God is also delighted.
I learned to aim for excellence, not to lift up my name, but to glorify God. Not to gain His approval, but to bring back all the praises to Him.
I learned how important giving my best for God is! However, I comprehended how limited I am, the more I seek to give my all. When we’re at our wits end, that’s the time we remember that it is God that would mold us into excellence. Moreover, it is a worshiping heart that allows God to do so. 🙂

Now why am I suddenly blogging about this?
It is because I had an inner battle earlier. The enemy, doing his job of stealing from me the joy of encountering God through my piano-playing, confused me.

I am taking piano lessons again. (Yes, after 7 loooong years of unguided piano playing) After 4 sessions, I felt as if I have not improved and I am not getting it. I sobbed at the idea that I could be wasting my time taking these lessons. I almost beat myself every time I practice, because I become frustrated of how much I do not grasp in what my teacher is trying to teach me.

Because of that, I started asking God, is it really Him who placed me here? I doubted the reason why I am pursuing piano today. I questionned whether I was meant to continue pursuing piano or this isn’t my gift and I should just stop and start pursuing other stuff that could be my gift.

Then God reminded me how he brought piano into my life. He refreshed my memory.. He was moving, when  my ninong was thinking what to give me. He was there when my mom heard me playing the melody of Lupang Hinirang. His hands were guiding mine when I was taking my piano lessons back then.

Just as “hands on”, God is also here with me as I see my limitations in piano playing.
I know that He led me to take these piano lessons, not to make me frustrated but to teach me fresh new lessons. I’d do my part and remember those four things I learned from P&W ministry – commitment, humility, worship and excellence.

What’s your gift that you’re insecure about? One which you always thought you weren’t made for but always appear right in front of your face when God encourages you to be involved?

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