Sink or swim
If you grew up in a Pasifika household, the chances are you have picked up a love, passion or hobby because you were forced into it! Often in life though, being pushed into the waters is exactly what we need to discover a life-long love for something.
When I was in intermediate, my parents enrolled me into music lessons. Guitar and drums were my instruments of choice. I recall being extremely excited for my first drum lesson and sure within myself that I would be able to pick up drumming naturally. What I didn't realize though was that because I am left-handed, the typical right-hand configuration of a drumkit made it extremely difficult for me to get the grasp of anything in my first lesson. "This is not as easy as I thought it was going to be!" were my first thoughts.
My minister at the time at my church was looking to start a praise and worship team for the church. Up to this point, our church was relatively traditional, with the organ being the dominant instrument of worship services. Our minister had a vision to incorporate more contemporary elements into worship alongside the traditional, as a way to connect with younger generations and families within the church.
My mum, unbeknown to me, heard about this and then proceeded to tell my minister that after ONE LESSON, I would be ready to drum for the church on our old, dusty Century drumkit that had undoubtedly seen better days. My minister accepted this offer without hesitation. Upon hearing this, I entered a stage of panic and stress that no 11 year old should have to endure! I had 4 days to prepare for my 'debut gig' after 1 single solitary lousy lesson where my arms were like two pieces of tangled spaghetti holding drum sticks. I was furious with my mum for subjecting me to this torment but there was no way she was going to stop me from doing what she had committed me into doing. It was sink or swim from here.
Thankfully, things went OK - I started off as, what my good friend who played piano alongside me for many years would describe, as the worlds "quietest drummer." From there, a love and passion for music and worship began to grow and flourish as each Sunday went by. Eventually I learned that I'm in fact a much more capable guitarist than drummer, and so that became my instrument as I passed the sticks to someone more capable, and I've never looked back since. Music, worship and sound are an integral part of my faith identity. I've recently calculated that I've led worship for my local church, synod and nationally across Te Hāhi somewhere between 600-700 times. That's how many times I've sang songs about the nature of God and love of Christ, and prayed aloud before people with guitar firmly grasped in my hand. I look back and reflect to the beginning sometimes - If my mum hadn't pushed me into an unwanted opportunity that I didn't feel ready for, I honestly don't know what I would be doing today or where my faith journey would be at all.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with the resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
So why this story for today's blog? Well, at the core, I want to say this - there is no such time as being 'ready' for a God-given opportunity. If we waited for times when we felt ready for God to move in our lives, we'd be waiting for a heck of long time. I'm not saying there's season to stay and wait, because there is, but what I'm saying is don't be close-minded when an opportunity presents itself. God doesn't seek the perfect, ready or even talented - God seeks those who are available.
Thank God for people in our lives who give us opportunities for growth and progress, learning and development, and most importantly a chance for God to take hold and plant seeds that will flourish and blossom over time. Where our confused and uncoordinated lessons can sometimes begin, our clear sense of purpose, trust and faith in God can take us. So the next time someone at your church or in your life presents an opportunity that you weren't expecting, don't be quick to dismiss it. Perhaps, the door of a life-long passion is being opened before your very eyes.
- How do you respond to new and unexpected opportunities?
- What can we do better as Christians to respond to times when God calls us unexpectedly?
- Who might need prayer in relation to todays Blog?