Tuesday, October 29

I Know I'm Not Strong Enough

This semester has been a challenge for me. Like, the biggest challenge I've had so far. From feeling like a complete musical failure to being completely unsure in my relationship to questioning my living situation. Nothing has really been easy for me. Which is the biggest surprise of my life. After last year living with a hard to handle roommate, officially becoming a music major, going through my first year of long distance with Hunter and losing friends left and right I didn't think it could get much harder. I thought that I had learned "so much" and was such a bigger and better person than I was previously. And just when I started to get a big head about thinking I'm so mature, God really had a way to knock the sense right into me. 

I've been simply struggling to survive. I feel like everything that I'm touching is just failing to thrive. My hands don't want to play the pieces I've been given, there's been more arguments between my boyfriend and I than there has been in all the previous years put together, and I never feel as if I'm able to do anything right in my apartment. I've felt sort of like a walking zombie, going through the motions of being alive, but never actually living. I go from class to class. Test to test. And sure, I'm getting by, but I barely ever do exceptionally well. I forget to practice until the night before my lesson and my fingers cramp up because of 2 continual hours of practicing. I've drank more coffee in these past two months than I even care to fully admit, just trying to stay awake and alive. 

While this feeling of heaviness, and "zombie-ness" is completely real in my life currently, I've discovered a lot of it is my own damn fault (am I allowed to say that? darn just doesn't seem to convey the right message). I'm letting myself be consumed by my discontentedness rather than change what's going on. And that simply is not how to live a joy filled, amazing, wonderful, crazy, awesome life. I am not just someone who should be "getting by". I have the Spirit of Christ in me, and I am a new creation! I don't have to be bound by my discouraging, life quenching ways. I don't have to walk around feeling like a failure, because I'm not. Do I do the wrong thing 80% of the time? Sure, that might even be generous. But I'm not failure. I am determined to be the best Hannah Byard the world has ever seen. Not the best student, or the best pianist, or the best Bible reader, aiming for those things will always bring disappointment. But I can be the best, most radical, most Hannah Byard there has ever been and ever will be. 

"Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your nature, created to be like God- truly righteous and holy!" Ephesians 4:22-24

Friday, October 4

Use What Talent You Possess

It's so easy as a musician to just start playing the comparison game. I do it every single time I'm in the practice room and can hear the person on the other side of my cement brick wall. "They're so much better than me. I can't do this. I might as well not even be a music major!" Or "I don't understand this theory concept like everyone else, I'm stupid and should just give up." That's not what music is about. It's about being and feeling the music, and being determined to keep at it even when you're not the best out there. I feel like music is thought of as something that you've either got or you don't. You either have the God-given talent or you have nothing and can't accomplish it. But determination and sincerity go such a long way in the music realm. Someone who has immense talent but no discipline will get frustrated and quit the first time that they face something they don't understand, and everyone will face something that don't fully comprehend. But when you have a little tiny bit of talent and whole lot of dedication, you're ready to face anything. And that's what being a musician is about. Feeling everything and being determined. 

Thursday, October 3

Praise God Through Whom All Blessings Flow

The semester is in full swing and the only way that I'm going to be able to get through it is the power of God and coffee. I've honestly officially become one of "those people" who runs on coffee. Is this what being an adult feels like? I feel like I honestly have next to zero down time, what with being in thirteen classes and all that jazz (only 17 credits though... the life of a music major). I went from being in one ensemble, Band, last year to now being in four, Band, Orchestra, Chamber Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble. Which basically means that I have four times the amount of practicing to do. Not to mention my piano lessons, which are pretty important as that's what my entire major depends on, and I'm now enrolled in voice lessons as well. My time spent in the practice room comes to around 10-12 hours a week. On top of all the practice time I also need to be studying and doing homework for my "normal" classes. It's sort of a lot, but I'm really loving it. I love that college is the time for me to be busy and always learning. Sure, I hate having a twelve hour day on Monday and going nine of those hours without a meal. And I'm not a fan of how much time I have to spend alone in a room only big enough to fit a piano into. But, I'm so grateful for everything that I'm experiencing. Whether it's the kind of week that's dragging by like a snail, or the kind that just goes whizzing by. I adore it. 
Thank God for Bethel College. And music. And friends who are willing to talk through issues, for professors whose main concern is for you to understand and enjoy what you're learning.

Oh, and thank God for coffee. The Big Man knew that college students would need it!