improvising life and dreams.

I have been blessed these past few days for many reasons.  First of all, I met with one of my small groups (I know I’m just a super Christian because I go to multiple small groups ;), but this small group is multi-generational.  There are three college age girls, myself included, and 3 women who are older and in different stages in their lives.

I love this small group because of the diversity of thought and ideas.  It’s cool to share my life with people who have experienced where I am at and survived.  A few of the small group members were able to make it to my senior recital which was also another blessing for me.  One of the things they were dumbfounded by was my improvising on my recital.  They just couldn’t wrap their minds around the fact that I walked on stage with no music, and made up everything I was doing on the spot alongside my accompanist who was following me.

This was interesting to me and I explained to them how much I’ve grown as a musician through my experience with improvising.  See, improvising really fits me.  I’m an adaptable person who really isn’t great at planning or organizing.  I accomplish things I need to get done, but usually it’s on my own time, when I decide I want to do it.  Deadlines and I usually don’t get along.  I’ve always had trouble reading music and learning music, and I think my ability to adapt has been a roadblock in this.  This is because I don’t have a lot of focus to get everything right the first time.  That’s just who I am, it’s a part of my personality.  That’s why improvising has become a part of me and how I perform.

Improvising gave me the freedom to mess up, sound bad, and move on.  It gave me the freedom to step away from the notes and sing the songs of my heart without fear or worry of playing the “wrong” note at the wrong time.  Improvising gave me confidence that I know my instrument, I’m comfortable with my instrument, and I am talented at my instrument.  I worked hard to get to that place, to be comfortable with my instrument enough to just play, but it was worth it.

I’ve been learning that life is exactly like this.  I am living my life and improvising as I go along.  I can make plans, have the notes written down, but things won’t go as planned no matter how much you prepare in life.  You have to learn to improvise as you live.  Go with the mistakes and changes that life throws at you and make it into something beautiful.  Make it sound like it was always meant to be that way.

Sometimes we work so hard towards perfection that we lose sight of the beauty in imperfection.  We spend so much time to plan out our days and our lives that we lose sight of the beauty in our failures and bumps in the road.  In my journey towards graduation, I’ve learned that life isn’t easy, and it never will be easy.  The money to pay for Wheaton wasn’t handed to me on a silver platter.  I had to work multiple jobs to pay for school.  Aural skills, wasn’t easy for me and it never will be easy for me.  But the character those classes built in me I will take with me for the rest of my life, and I am thankful.

These past few days I’ve talked with various people at Wheaton’s Conservatory (the conservatory is the school I’m at- an intensive school focused on developing musicians, for those who don’t know) about my options for graduation.  I have been received with nothing but love and encouragement.  I’ve been encouraged to not worry about it, and to just trust that God will work something out.  It’s funny because I’m getting good at that.  I’ve been through so many things that require this immense amount of trust in God that seriously, it’s almost becoming natural to just trust that it will work out.

Do I know what is going to happen next semester?  No.  Let’s just be honest, do I ever know what is happening next semester? Nope.  Do I know where I will be? No, although I did tell someone I would housesit for them, so I will have a home to myself.  I don’t know the answers, and there is no reason why I should know the answers.  But I do know that God has already figured this out.  My seemingly improvised life is his, and he knows me well enough to know the next note I’m going to play.

It’s interesting because today’s sermon was given by Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales and Big Idea Productions.  I’ve heard him speak before, and although it seriously felt like the same message as he gave before, God used his message in my life.  I  need to realize that God is enough.  There is nothing more I need beyond God.  This degree, I don’t need because I have Christ.  I don’t need anything more than God, because he is sufficient for me.

As Americans, we are fed this lie that we can do anything we want and be anyone we want to be.  We were always told as kids that we could be anything we wanted to be and the sky is the limit.  But really, I couldn’t be a professional basketball player at the height of 5’2″ (and a half!).  I couldn’t be the president of the United States because I suck at communicating and I also have no interest in politics whatsoever.  We were made for a purpose, and that purpose is at the core of our being.  Our dreams and desires can become so engrained in our life that we would do everything to achieve that one thing.

This truly isn’t the way I work, although I think sometimes it may seem this way.  I want to graduate, but when my advisor was originally telling me to transfer, I was a junior and logically, it didn’t make sense in my mind to give up on a degree that I had spent 3 years working towards to throw away some of my credits and transfer to another school.  My desire to stay at Wheaton, in this sense, could seem like I just had this dream conjured up in my mind and I would do anything for that dream to come true.  But honestly, I could care less where I graduate, I would just love to have a degree and move on in my life.

That is beside the point.  Phil Vischer’s talk was encouraging because he said our lives need to be less about what we can do for Christ and our lives should be about just Christ. God is enough and if we focus our life on God, there is literally nothing else we need.  That’s something I haven’t done a good job at.  My relationship with Christ has been stagnant recently.  Life has been busy, and in the background, I can openly just pray and talk to God about everything I’m going through, but my day isn’t focused on Him.  It’s easy to forget his presence through the commotion and busyness of life going on around me.  My prayer is that he would continually show me himself and that the desires of my heart would be continually to follow him and his leading.

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