By Bill Stark, HT.com blogger
For years I have had a great desire to play the piano. So, a couple of years ago I finally decided to do something about it and take lessons.
Soon after I started lessons, my wise teacher asked me what favorite song I’d like to learn. My saving grace, through the difficulty of lessons, was hearing parts of my favorite song come to life each week. But, I experienced many uncomfortable moments while learning to play the piano.
I was uncomfortable actually taking the first step. 4th graders do this all the time and many grow to be great pianists – what if I fail?
Early in the lessons, I was uncomfortable repeating the simplistic notes and songs over and over. I wanted to skip past the easy part. I was uncomfortable with my new student peers being a bunch of 9, 10 and 11 year old elementary grade girls and boys.
I kind of felt out of place. I was sort of uncomfortable being the only piano student who could drive to the lesson or the only one able to pay via credit card. I’m over-dramatizing a bit, but parts of the process were, in fact, very uncomfortable for me. I am convinced that God allows us to walk in uncomfortable places and uncomfortable circumstances for a reason.
In fact, I think at various moments in our spiritual growth we must walk through uncomfortable situations. God wants to stretch us and form us into something new (becoming Christ-like) and if we resist uncomfortable events we are likely to stagnate in our spiritual journey.
He also wants to draw us to Him during the uncertain and uncomfortable times, so we learn to be dependent on Him, not on our own brilliant (but, often faulty) wisdom. Author C.S. Lewis says “pain is God’s megaphone”. I believe the pain of uncomfortableness is also a megaphone God uses.
What are some of the uncomfortable moments you’ve experienced in your spiritual life? Here are a few examples that come to mind for me, and perhaps some of you.
• Deciding to attend a Bible Study.
• Praying before you eat dinner at Chili’s.
• Opening your Bible to see what God’s word has to say about a struggle you may be having.
• Giving $500 of your $5,000 bonus to a charity.
• Deciding to open up some “off limit” part of your life to God.
• Agreeing to lead a Bible study with mostly people you don’t know.
• Speaking genuinely to people at church as though you may actually want to be their friend.
• Asking God for help when you’re sure you’ve disappointed Him yet again.
• Accepting, but not being able to understand, some difficult aspect of God.
• Speaking up against having sports practice or games on Sunday mornings so you could go to church.
• Asking a co-worker if you could pray for them after learning that their Mom just passed away.
• Deciding to dedicate time to volunteering at church or at a faith ministry.
While I am not a very good piano player, I do know a few songs and I really, really enjoy playing. Playing piano is a great stress reducer for me, and it’s really fun improvising and creating new songs.
I want to take more lessons later this summer, and yet I know it will be uncomfortable re-entering that unknown world again, but it will definitely be worth it.
Surely Beethoven was uncomfortable as he became deaf in his 20s. What if he had stopped composing music because of his uncomfortableness with being unable to hear. What if Stevie Wonder had resisted the uncomfortable moments as he learned to play the piano blind.
If you believe that God is good, and that He has a great spiritual journey planned for you, then you should move forward spiritually right away –– in confidence. It will be worth it to get to the other side of any uneasiness.
Get comfortable now with being uncomfortable and trust God. It’s how you and I learn, grow and develop into the people God desires us to be.
Jeremiah 29:11 tells us why breaking through uncomfortable situations spiritually is worth it: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
With some degree of uncomfortableness, below I’ve posted a short video of me playing the piano. Prepare for the sounds of fingernails on chalkboard.
Bill Stark is a Greenville, Mississippi native who graduated from Ole Miss in 1983 with a BA degree in Journalism. Bill married his college sweetheart, Starwyn Strickland, of Brazil, Mississippi, and they have three children, including twins Mary Catherine and Ellen and son Will. He currently resides in Alpharetta, Georgia. Email Bill Stark at firstname.lastname@example.org