Hey everyone! It’s been far too long since I last blogged, so I believe a quick life update is in order. First of all, I bought a shiny gold 2008 Hyundai Sonata toward the beginning of the year, which I affectionately named “Waldstein” after my favorite Beethoven piano sonata (and we call him “Wally” for short). Yes, I really am that much of a music nerd! I quit my retail job and am now working as my dad’s secretary at the church he pastors, which means much less job stress and a lot more free time! Hopefully that will translate to a lot more music written, too…
I also recently interviewed for doctoral studies at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and there’s a possibility I will attend there in the fall. I have to say that I feel much better about the possibility after my visit than I did before, but I’m still wrestling with this decision. Do I really want to go back to school? What will I do with my life if I don’t? What will I do with my life if I do? What will I do with my life, period?
Which brings me to today’s topic. Do you ever drive yourself crazy with “shoulds?” As in, “I know I should do such-and-such, but I really don’t want to” or “I want to do this other thing.” Or maybe you feel the pressure of other people’s “shoulds.” Certainly, there are times when we have to do things we may not want to do or feel like doing: we won’t always feel like loving our family or friends, but we can make the decision to love them anyway. We don’t always want to make healthy dietary choices, but in the end it’s best for us. I guess what I’m saying is, love God, love others, obey the law, but other than that, don’t let “should” run your life. “Should” only creates guilt, and while we can’t always wait until we “feel like it” to do something, guilt is not a productive motivator, ever! I should know…
I have a confession: I haven’t composed anything since the band piece for Clarke, which premiered in December. And I’ve felt somewhat guilty about it, especially since my job change has allowed me a lot more free time than before. The thing is, there are seasons in anything: nature (obviously), relationships, careers, hobbies, you name it! Maybe I just needed a break from composing for awhile, or maybe it’s because the next project I want to undertake is so large and daunting. I’d like to say that I’ve been dwelling on it a lot, letting it ruminate in my mind before attacking it full-force, but the truth is that I’ve been reading a book about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and making beaded jewelry like there’s no tomorrow. And that’s okay. For a season. Honestly, it’s quite probable that I will go back to school in the fall, so I’m thankful for the time I have now to develop various other hobbies and interests that will get pushed out of my schedule during my studies. That’s not to say that I won’t write any music until September – I could hardly call myself a composer if I only wrote music when I had to! – but neither do I want to compose simply because I’ll feel guilty if I don’t.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Philippians 2:13, which says, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” Or, as I like to say, He gives us the “want to” and the “can do.” I take so much comfort in this verse because it means that we don’t have to find the motivation and the ability to do what we’re supposed to do all on our own – God gives it to us! And as we draw closer to Him, our desires will more closely line up with His heart.
Let’s say goodbye to the guilt of “should,” and hello to the grace of God.
[February 24, 2013]