I have recently gotten the bug again to pick up my guitar and ukulele. I sold my mandolin hoping to get a better one in the future and I kind of got the bug for that again. As is my normal routine, I have been online looking at YouTube videos trying to pick up some free pointers and maybe learn a few things. As I watch these guys and girls give their lessons and tips one thing always stands out to me. THEY MAKE IT LOOK SO STINKING EASY!
I watch them play and then slow down and repeat their notes and I think to myself, I can do that. I pick up my instrument and all of a sudden my mind goes blank and I turn stupid. I can't remember a thing. Just a minute ago I was watching them do it and it looked like an easy thing to do.
The difference in them playing and me playing is the fact that they have spent hours and hours honing their skills. They have practiced and developed habits that make them the players they are. I want to be able to play like that without the grueling repetition of mistake after mistake until I get it right. I want to sit down and shred (a musicians' term I picked up along the way) without the discipline that it takes to perfect my skills.
That professional musician may have been born with some level of ability that is genetic. He may have a special gift. But that kind of playing comes from discipline and sacrifice and dedication. He still faces many instances of failure and stumbling through honing those skills.
Its really not unlike our lives as a Christian. We see many godly, dedicated, serving Christians that seem to have it all together. They seem to be what most Christians desire to be, you know mature, stable, faithful, and joyous. We look at them and ask ourselves, "Why can't I do that?" We have the desire to be like them, but we are not.
The same level of discipline and commitment and sacrifice that it takes for a musician to perfect his craft is the same level that a believer who has it all together needs. Yes, they make it look easy. Yes they appear to effortlessly walk the walk with seemingly none of the pitfalls that most of us run up against. In truth, they have reached this level of maturity by many times of testing and failure. If you were to ask any one of those believers you admire if it easy being so dedicated and faithful I believe each one would say it takes extreme effort (and a lot of help from the Holy Spirit). They could tell many stories of the failures in their lives to be what they are now. And the truth is it takes constant effort to maintain that level of spirituality.
I sure wish there was some pill I could take, or some switch I could flip to make me a good musician. There is not one. It takes a lot of effort and dedication. If I want to improve that is the formula.
If I want to be a mature, godly, dedicated Christian I must put in the effort. I must live my life disciplined and committed.