Thursday, January 30

It's A Thief

  I detest the comparison game, but I find myself playing it an awful lot. I feel like in college there's this unspoken competition: who has the hardest major. And on top of that: who has the hardest major on top of the hardest job. The sad thing is, I find myself playing that game a lot but get really annoyed when other people try to play along... because obviously my major is the hardest. The thing I'm trying to remind myself is that everyone has it hard, we're just all dealing with different kinds of hard. Physics is hard. But, practicing 12 hours a week is hard, too. And practicing 12 hours a week doesn't make physics any less hard, and vice versa. Working while in college is hard, and I give mad props to anyone working 10 hours a week all the way up to 40+. But doing "just" college is hard, too. And neither one takes away from the hardness of the other.
I fall victim to this vicious game way too often. I see my schedule online with a list of 11 classes I'm registered for, I look at my required practice hours, and the two Bible studies I'm signed up for and I think, "No one knows a busy schedule like a music major! I have it really hard! Psh, I wish I could be someone who's only signed up for 5 classes! That's so easy! If I had 5 classes of course I could work long hours during the week!" This is so ridiculous and wrong of me, and it only ends in me being bitter. Being bitter takes a lot of energy, a lot of energy that could be put towards bettering myself. A lot of energy that could otherwise be used to bless people, and bless the Creator. 
I think I, and probably a lot of people, need to get to that middle ground. Where we're aware that we do have it hard, but so does everyone else. Where we can appreciate what other people do, instead of scrutinizing how easy their lives are. Comparison destroys. 
"Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job week done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else." -Galatians 6:4  

I will say this... my home is better than anyone else's. That's not comparison, that's simple fact. Just look at that sunset. 

Tuesday, January 28

Life Is Like Borrowed Chords...

Something can be said for taking moments out of your day to drink a little coffee and reflect on the graciousness of our God. While I'm over here dwelling on all of the parts of life that have brought me down, God is already thinking up ways to make my life a testimony of His power and grace. When I focus on all of the negative, God is working double time to bring my life to a positive ending. It's sort of like a borrowed chord. It doesn't sound right in the middle of the song, it sounds ugly and like it shouldn't belong. But God, the composer of life, knows the rules and He tonicizes it. He brings it back to where it should be, and then you can understand how that borrowed chord fit in and that it really did belong and it was placed there to tell a story. Maybe it was put there to spice it up, or depict the text of Christ. Life is a little like counterpoint, and it's a good thing we have a composer who not only knows the rules but He created them and is the best composer out there. 

Thursday, January 16

On the Podium

I'm a Music major. I practice my instrument, piano,  at least 12 hours a week, so that come jury time I can try to show my improvement over the semester in under five minutes. I take 11 classes for 17 credits. I am in 4 ensembles that require not only more practice but also at least one (sometimes two or three) performances on weekends. I have to go to every single music production on campus for a 0 credit class (yeah, those exist), and if I miss one of the actual classes for that 0 credit class I'll fail. It's easy to start thinking about how hard the major is and wondering if I'm even talented enough to make it instead of pointing my eyes on Christ. Even though I go to a Christian college where I attend chapel 3 times a week and go to various Bible studies, it's easy to completely disconnect my performing and music from Christ. But, then there are days when I am sitting in music classes learning about borrowed chords and conducting techniques and suddenly a Biblical concept finally just clicks for me. 

I'm in Advanced Conducting, which to non-musicians may sound like an "easy A" sort of class. But if you're familiar at all with music you'll know that clear conducting is vital to performing and for the most part the conductor doesn't get much credit. If you go and listen to a phenomenal orchestra play a two hour long symphony chances are that you'll marvel at the talent of the musicians, the violinists that were  playing as if their fingers may tumble on top of each other or the tuba player who held a note for a number of bars. What you don't think about is the talent of the conductor. Before I came to college and became involved in a number of ensembles I had no idea the importance of a conductor. The musicians knew and played their part, and that was it. But now that I've been involved in large groups I can understand the importance of a good conductor. When playing in a large group it's easy to get lost. You have a part completely separate from the majority of the other musicians, but it needs to fit perfectly. If someone is off by half a beat it may ruin the entire flow. So that's where the conductor comes in. The conductor has the full score, he or she knows the parts of every individual and is there to keep everyone going. The conductor has the full picture, while the musicians only have a little glimpse of what's really going on. But this does absolutely no good if the musicians aren't keeping their eyes on the conductor. The conductor tries to communicate in every way without words what the future is holding for them, he or she is trying to cue everyone in at the right moment and they're keeping time. But, if the musicians aren't keeping their eyes on the conductor it doesn't matter how spot on the conductor is, the music won't be right. If you don't understand that the conductor really does know best and you aren't watching him or her, you're in for a world of trouble. 

This is not unlike our relationship with God. He has the full score, He's studied the score, and He knows exactly when your part is supposed to come in. He's keeping the time, He's cueing, and He's communicating with us as perfectly. But, if we aren't keeping our eyes on Him we'll never be able to see when He's giving us that cue. We'll just follow along on our sheet music, thinking that's all that we need to do. But, because we're human we'll miscount a measure or two and get lost. How much better would it be if we would just keep our eyes glued on the Conductor, trusting in Him to know the score? 

Monday, January 13

Recent Reads

I've been in the mood to read in since finals last semester. There's just something about reading a good book for the heck of it that always entices me. Over Christmas break I read Sarah Dessen's "Dreamland" as it's one of my roommates favorite books that she was dying to have me read. I read it in two days or so and my reading spark was officially rekindled, so when I got back to school and found myself with next to nothing to do right now I picked a few books up from the library. I'm currently reading "Sex God" by Rob Bell and am finding so much truth within it! He's just one of those people who can easily voice what's on their mind, whether it be in speaking or writing, and he's full of so much knowledge that it's absolutely incredible. Anyway, I completely recommend the book! Are there any books that anyone has been reading lately that have really spoke to them? Fill me in, I'm always up for a new book or two... at least after I read the ever growing pile on my desk. 

P.S. I linked the books on Amazon in case anyone is interested! They're so reasonably priced in the used section that you might as well read them, right?!? 

Thursday, January 9

This Semester I Will...

1. Drink more water.
2. Wear less makeup.
3. Practice at least two hours a day.
4. Take time to run and workout
5. Make that Dean's List again. 
6. Begin to love people through their flaws and take them for who they are. 

Monday, January 6

Transformation Tuesday

  Dear Hunter,
Three years ago on December 27th I had no idea how much you would mean to me right now in this second. I had no idea that you would go from a cute long haired 15 year old boy in a Carhart to a cute short haired 18 year old boy in basketball shorts and long socks. I had no idea that I would go from a really awkward super conservative home schooled 16 year old girl to a more confident and outspoken 19 year old college girl. What I really didn't know was that even though you and I have completely transformed, in most ways possible, we'd still be together. We've grown as two individual people, but we've done it together while accepting each other's changes. You've been there when I moved away, and I'll be there for you when you move away. This past year has brought so many changes for us, and this next year will bring even more. You're going to be going to college for the first time, and we'll be separated by even more distance. But I can't wait to take it on with you. Knowing that no matter how much we grow separately, hundreds of miles apart, we'll always come back together. I love you. And thank you for being with me for 3 years. That's longer than a lot of married people's entire relationships. And we are. And here we will remain. I love you.
Love Always,
Your Hannah