One of the things I’ve always struggled with in my professional life is feeling like I don’t quite measure up. I wasn’t as organized as I’d like when I was leading Sunday school, so I felt like a failure. Or when I did youth ministry, I wasn’t “cool” enough to really engage kids in wanting to come. Or when I worked with volunteers, I didn’t do follow-up and encouragement because I’m so shy about calling people or stopping them to start a conversation.
So I’m already starting to feel that anxiety about helping out with the praise team at church, and I don’t even have the job at this point! I did an interview before I left for my trip, and I think it went well, but I have a lot of doubts about my musical abilities. I know I can sing, that’s not the problem. But piano and instrumental skills escape me, and I’m worried that I’m inadequate. It’s hard, because I know God is pushing me to get better in these areas, but I also know I need to get some formal training to understand the basics of music better. I can’t believe I went through eight years of piano lessons and probably as many years in choirs during high school and college and managed to not absorb more of the technical side of music. I need to re-learn some of the keys, particularly the ones that have lots of sharps and flats. I need to also discipline myself to count instead of just feeling the music. More than anything, though, is the fear of being a leader when the team is composed of people who are older than I am. Even though I’m in my thirties and complain with my friends about the signs of aging we’re already experiencing, I still feel like I’m too young to be leading adults. Kids are easier, because it’s a given that I’m older and therefore if not wiser, at least more likely to be in charge.
At the same time, I can’t help but think that God is working on some new ways of doing ministry for me. He’s pushing me in this direction, whether or not I get the job. I know He’s working on me to improve my musical skills. It started at our last church, when I started to work on my piano skills for worship. I continue to be pushed in new ways by God. When I first started working for churches, it was as my husband’s secretary. Then I moved into youth work, then volunteer leadership, then children’s ministry. Now I’m learning more about music, and I sometimes sit back and wonder what God has in store for me down the road. I can’t point to a specific career trajectory, because it’s been all over the place. But God’s hand has been with me all along the way, and that’s pretty amazing.
Come to think of it, my husband has had similar experiences. Oh boy, what is God preparing us for? Maybe it’s better that I don’t know at this point. It would probably scare me.
Just a thought: Some of the best leadership I’ve seen has come from younger people (well, the ones who aren’t on power trips.) I’ve seen young leaders be incredibly sensitive and open to the expertise of others due to the potentially awkward position of leading people older than themselves. I think this would be the case with you.
You NEVER know what God is preparing you for. That is His objective. He prepares you for His needs. That eight years of music education may have just been to give the teachers a job – who knows? Remember, all is vanity and a chasing after wind when you get right down to it.
Getting away from the depressing, though – God never asks you to do anything He has not already prepared you for, and conversely what you think He has prepared you for He may never ask of you.
So keep in touch with skills and abilities and be aware when your gifts are coming out and praise the lord.