My five-year-old has taken to the piano like a hummingbird to nectar.
She watched her older sisters play for years and could not wait for her turn to tackle those first assignments in the beginner piano book.
Of course, it starts out so easy. Follow the pictures, plunk down the right finger and ‘presto’—a song! It might only be ten notes long, but it’s still a song and she aced it with no effort at all.
Then the lesson grew a little harder. She needed to read actual notes and sometimes those notes went in unexpected directions.
You mean not all songs use just four keys?
After one mistake, she collapsed into deep sobbing. I finally calmed her down enough to understand what she was saying. “I (sob) can’t (sob) do (sob) it (big, big, big sobbing).”
I’m her teacher and her mom, though, and I know better.
I know that one wrong note the first time you play the song does not mean you can’t do it.
I tried to tell her, “When you play the piano, sometimes you hit some wrong notes. You don’t play every song perfectly the first time you play it. You have to make mistakes and fail sometimes, but you just don’t give up. You practice and practice and work hard and then you get it right.”
After that award-winning Mom-advice, she looked right at me and whined, “I don’t want to play the piano then.”
She was ready to give up, ready to pack it all in and call this whole experiment in piano playing a complete failure at the grand old age of five years old because it took a little effort and because failure was part of the learning experience.
Have you felt like giving up recently?
Have you made a few mistakes and decided maybe God should pick someone else for this job?
I’ve been there so many times before.
I’ve looked around at where I’m at and how hard it is, and I’ve thought, “I’ve gone far enough. I’ve exerted enough effort. It’s just too costly and time-consuming and emotionally draining and I think I need to stop. Take a vacation. Escape. Quit and do something easier. Settle for something less. I just can’t do this anymore, God. I’m not seeing any results, blessing or reward, so this just doesn’t seem worth it.”
Sometimes it’s just fine with me to stay on the beginner lessons and never move on to mastery.
Because this is just too hard.
But, God’s our Teacher and our Father and He knows better.
He knows that sometimes we grow tired and weary and that in those moments, it’s difficult to remember the vision He gave us or the call He placed on our hearts.
He knows sometimes we want to pack it in and curl up in His lap for a rest.
He knows that sometimes the only way we learn is to make a mistake or two, to try again, to practice and practice and inch our way forward….but that what we really want is instant victory.
If that’s you today and you feel like giving up and giving in, look ahead.
I tell my daughter not to give up because one day she wants to play this song and that song and she wants to play harder music and beautiful pieces.
And if you want to get there, first you need to be here.
Here might be hard.
Here might be costly.
Here might be lonely.
Here might be exhausting.
Here might seem unimportant or it might seem to be taking forever and can’t we move on to something new now because frankly I’m tired of waiting and I’d rather just skip to the end?!
When all you can see is the difficulty of the moment, it’s hard to keep going.
Remember the goal.
Then take the next step.
You can’t conquer everything in a day. It wont always be easy. You’ll falter. You’ll have to persevere. But that next step…the one right there infront of you….that’s all you need to do today.
So, take heart.
Do not give up.
“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7, NIV).
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, NIV).
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.