My three kiddos were in the school talent show at the end of the year this year. They were awesome of course, but there were a lot of awesome acts. One that caught my attention was a sweet little first grader who played Mary had a Little Lamb on the piano. She was so small and precious with her fancy dress and nervous smile. She sat down at the piano and played with two hands: MA-RY HAD A LIT-TLE LAMB, LIT-TLE LAMB, LIT-…. and there she paused.
It wasn’t a long pause, but I’m sure it felt that way at the time. It was a moment of indecision, where sure footing was lost, and the next note was unclear. It was gut check time. Finally it came –TLE LAMB. MA-RY HAD A LIT-TLE LAMB WHOSE FLEECE WAS WHITE AS SNOW. She stood up from the piano with an enormous grin as the crowd cheered her.
Life is like that. It is full of little moments when we are suddenly unsure and unsteady. We are plagued with dark, quiet thoughts that tell us “You have no idea what you are doing, do you?” and “I told you that you couldn’t do this.” When faced with this we have a couple of choices. We can give up and not try in the first place. I have been guilty of this so many times. After all, if I didn’t try then I couldn’t fail, right? The problem was that if I didn’t try, I could never succeed, either.
A better solution is to take a deep breath, trust, and move forward. Like that budding pianist, have the guts to hit that next note, right or wrong, and move forward. Hush the voices of doubt that hold you back, and play on. Joshua 1:9 says Have I not commanded you: Be strong and courageous? Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you will go. What better encouragement do we need?
I had to make a big decision this year. My youngest baby is starting kindergarten in the fall, so all of my children will be in school. The plan all along has been for me to go back to teaching school at that point. I have been looking forward to it. I miss teaching, it has been a financial sacrifice for me to be home, and two real incomes would be nice. But in the last few years, God has put a new plan on my heart and my speaking / blogging ministry has begun. And I found out that, yes I love teaching science, but I L!O!V!E! teaching about Jesus!
And so my very supportive husband and I were faced with a decision. Step forward in faith and let Nicole White Speaks have another year to grow? Or take the safer, but still good, route of teaching physics again. Unfortunately, I do not believe I can simultaneously do both well. Gut check time.
So after much prayer, discussion, and wise counsel- after a long pause of indecision- we decided what note to play next. I will not return to teaching school this fall. Instead I will be concentrating on this speaking and blogging ministry that God has laid on my heart. I am not sure where it will lead, but I am stepping forward anyway. The blank canvas of the future is both exhilarating and terrifying. But life is in these pauses- in the ‘not knowing’ what is going to happen in the next note. So much discovery occurs when you don’t quite know what will happen. Growth is taking a deep breath, not stopping, and playing on regardless. In this way, all of life is a masterpiece.
What about you? What was the biggest gut check time of your life? What helped you to take a brave, if uncertain, step forward? I’d love to hear your story.