I played the last note of my solo jazz guitar rendition of “Somewhere, Over the Rainbow.” Working on it for several weeks, I was pleased to complete it without any mistakes. Smiling, I looked up at my friends who were gathered to hear me perform, eager to see if they agreed with me. Most nodded politely but one impatiently blurted out, “Great…hey can you play, ‘Stairway to Heaven’?”
“Sure thing.” I attempted to look downward so they could not see me rolling my eyes. It didn’t matter how skilled I was on jazz guitar, if I wasn’t able to play “Stairway to Heaven”, I simply wasn’t a good guitar player. My skill was solely judged by the perception of what others thought it should be. Thus, although it was not my preferred choice of music, I reluctantly learned many popular songs of the day so that I would be accepted as a guitar player. I know of many singers and other instrumentalists who are faced with the same dilemma.
For much of my youth, I learned songs only to please others, attempting to keep up with the latest musical genres and fads. My spiritual life was no different. When I first accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I wrestled with often conflicting views as to what I perceived how others expected me to behave as a Christian. No swearing. No smoking. Always optimistic. Always self-sacrificing. All the stereotypes that are familiar to laypeople. There is nothing wrong with these stereotypes but I found I was behaving in this manner, not to honor God, but to simply please others. Like learning the popular songs that my friends wanted to hear, I was adopting the same behavior with my relationship with God. Something had to change.
I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken.
Psalms 62:1-2 (CSB)
God, through His grace and mercy, helped me to realize that I had to calm my restless mind that was always seeking the approval of others. My salvation, my rest, my hope is only in Him. The only approval I need is from Jesus Christ!
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.