Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Top 10 Misconceptions follow-up

As a wrap-up to my Top 10 Misconceptions post, I just wanted to say overall that I purposefully left out Scripture references, although I could have included many. I think it's easy for those of us raised in church to just start spouting off Scripture references, and I wanted this to be more of a "personal experience" type of list, although my basis is always Scripture.

I was also extremely influenced last summer by the book "Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands" by Paul Tripp. Honestly I haven't finished it yet, but God brings the right chapter to me just as I need to hear it. Excellent read.

This was not an all-inclusive list. I just wanted to share a few things that God has been teaching me. I welcome your feedback.

Misconception #10: Everyone Should Do What I Do.

[This is the 10th and final misconception in a series of Top 10 Misconceptions some MKs face.]

God has created us uniquely. We are part of the BODY of Christ. If we were trying to create an orchestra and everyone played the same instrument, we would be doomed to fail. When a composer writes an orchestration for something, he carefully doles out the parts to each member. He may know he has an excellent flute player, so he gives her something tricky. He many know the clarinetist can really only play 2 notes very well, so he gives him just some long notes to hold. He knows the cymbals have a cool sound, but he doesn't want it to be too noisy so he saves that until the end. The percussionist can look at his music and say, "How come I only get to play at the end of the song? I want to play here, here, here, and here too," but if he does it will not sound good. When everyone plays his part perfectly, the sound is more harmonious.

I want to be an instrument in God's hand. In my human nature, I like to fix things for other people. I think most women do; that's why we make good moms. We know how to fix things. But we in general have to be careful not to take over the role of God in someone else's life. I want to do whatever God has for me, but how do I figure out my role and see if I'm trying to do too much? I may not know what God is doing or how He is going to use me, but that's why I'm not God. My job is to do the next thing and to trust Him. We are all created uniquely to serve a function in the body of Christ. I just need to be used as a vessel, or an INSTRUMENT, in the hand of God.

Personally, to do this I need to be filling myself with God's Word. I cannot function correctly without the power of the Holy Spirit. I need to be open to the promptings that the Holy Spirit lays on my heart. If an idea pops into my mind, I should evaluate it through the grid of Scripture and see if maybe this is something God wants me to do. I also need the accountability of other Christians who are willing to ask me the hard questions: Why do I do what I'm doing? Am I seeking to please myself or Christ?

I need to balance my priorities so that I am making sure that I am living in such a way that I can make sure that God is my number one priority. I need to FOCUS UP! When my eyes are on the people around me I lose perspective on what's eternal and what really matters. I need to find ways to minister to others, but also let them do what God has called them to do. Our roles in the body may be different. I also don't want to "hog" the ministry opportunities of those around me. I just need to focus on doing what I need to do.

In teaching preschool music, I often have the opportunity to remind students to "take care of yourself." They don't need to worry about what the person next to them is doing (or should be doing), they need to take care of themselves. Some day I will stand before God and be judged, not for what those AROUND me have done, but for what I have done with the opportunities He has given to me.

Reality: I am to be an instrument.

Misconception #9: I Am Single so Submission Doesn't Apply to Me.

[This is the 9th in a series of Top 10 misconceptions some MKs face.]

Sorry for the delay in posting. Life got away from me. But I found my notes again so will finally wrap this up!

Even in my singleness, submission does apply to me. Humankind was made to function under authority. There are all sorts of times when I am called to submit to someone in authority over me, whether it's a boss at work, a government official, or my pastor.

I remember a specific instance of this in college where I had been thinking through ways where I could be more submissive. In my human nature, I want to be the one who is in charge and in control. There was a day when something as simple as making meat trays where I worked in the kitchen became an issue. I went in to work and began to slice meat as normal for the trays for lunch. I remember deciding to make one fewer tray than normal (or something like that) because there had been a lot of leftover meat the day before. Even in something as simple as this, I remember thinking, "Hang on, am I putting myself under submission to my authority in this matter?" And it became an issue for a few minutes in my thinking. "It's not that big of a deal." "It doesn't really matter." But I made myself go to my supervisor and let HIM make the call on how many meat trays should be made for lunch that day. I expressed my opinion, "I think it would be a good idea to make one fewer tray today for this reason" but was willing to be submissive to whatever HE decided was right and fair. That's how I am applying submission in my singlehood.

I've also learned to be submissive to my leadership at work and at church. I'm in a position where I work fairly closely during rehearsals with my music pastor. Our music program at our church has changed somewhat over the years, and musically it has challenged me. I've learned to play in different kinds of styles, some of which didn't start off to be comfortable to me. I don't always get to play the songs or the arrangements I'd like. But I can choose to be a blessing to my pastor and support him and his decisions. I honestly believe my pastors are really trying to put quality effort into discovering what God wants for our church and really and truly seeking to please Him.

I want to Present my Pastor Perfect in Public. If I disagree (in a Biblical way), I can talk directly to the person, not including anyone who is not a part of the problem or part of the solution. God has blessed me with wise leaders in my church who have determined the direction of our church body. My job is to get on board and be a submissive helper.

Reality: God has created us to function under authority.