This week we celebrated my nieces 12th birthday. She sat at the piano and played a lovely tune as the memories began to flood back to when I was her age. Back then, I was hitting Jr. High, and had been taking piano for about 4 years. Being in a small church, I was also helping out playing for our worship. I didn't mind the small, intimate group of people listening to me play. It was easy and comfortable for me, since I had known them all for so many years.
Since I was in Jr. High, I was able to be apart of the Jr. High choir. I was excited to sing with such a large group of people. One day I was called into the instructors office. It turned out that one of the ladies from my church had told him that I played piano well. He quickly asked me to start playing for the group. I said yes, but felt dragged into it since I knew they needed pianists. I didn't feel ready for that challenge. I began to play for not only the large singing group, but in front of the large crowds of parents at all the musical events. As I grew older, I was asked to play and sing for Girls Glee and eventually did both for Swing choir.
Thinking back on my life, I began to realize that most of my accomplishments were achieved after someone "pushed" me into it. I felt pushed into playing piano for the school and ended up playing for almost all of the choirs. I was "pushed" into trying out for the singing group in college and was not only asked to sing, but to play piano and to be the team leader.
I began to realize that even though I don't enjoy being "pushed" by people, or by God, that if there weren't people along the way to encourage me, I would have never accomplished the things I did. Being "pushed" and "stretched" is so uncomfortable at the time. We can become overwhelmed with fear or the instant doubt can set in. If we get past those feelings and begin to pray about what God "pushes" us into, then He can use us in a way far bigger than we could ever imagine.
My son has been taking drum lessons since he was in first grade. He was comfortable just playing at home with the family and wasn't ready to do more. The worship leaders asked if he would be willing to start to play with them. The "pushing" and "stretching" began. He didn't want to do it. He was nervous and it wasn't what "HE" had in mind. He said he wasn't ready, and yet God was ready for him to keep moving forward. The first practice, I had to practically "push" him into the building. That same day, he came out with a smile so big and he told me how he loved it. He is now not only helping with the main worship, he has played in youth worship, and has been asked to play drums for another small ensemble. He hated being "pushed" at the time, but he sure loves where he is at today.
Let's remember that if we are not moving forward we are standing still, or worse, moving backwards. God wants us to continue to grow in all the talents that He has given us. If you are feeling "pushed" and "stretched", be encouraged that God thinks highly of you, believes in you, and wants the best from you.
Psalm 32:8 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you."