Be Encouraged 11/29/17

by Angela Collier

Kudos to the young lad decked out in a sharp suit who delighted attendees at Downieville’s Miss Jodi’s Thanksgiving dinner as he played a lovely assortment of famous pieces on his violin! It is no small thing to stand in front of a group of folks and sing or play an instrument, so special thanks young chap for such a delightful, spot-on performance! It takes a certain set of nerves to perform in front of crowd, and it is not for the faint of heart. Strangely enough, while I do not fear public speaking, singing and playing on stage is a different story. It takes a lot of prayer, courage and sometimes a few sips of strong drink before the task.

A horrible childhood piano recital performance is always present when I sit on a piano bench on stage. It’s a struggle to get in the right frame of mind to play and sing in front of even my best friend, let alone strangers. Songwriting is my passion, and I prefer to be behind the scenes writing and in a recording studio, but I force myself to perform every once in awhile. Pastor Craig Groeschel said, “The pathway to your greatest potential is often times through your greatest fear.” Two shows ago, I wrote this down on an index card, folded it up and stuck it in my pocket right before I went on stage and sat on that piano bench. Picking up the ukulele back in 2016, I have absolutely fallen in love with that instrument. Some of the best stretches of time to practice and write music is during the summer months while at the playground watching my youngest child. The initial struggle in playing outside in that environment came in realizing how many mountain bikers passed by that would be hearing me play and sing. Course starting out, I really did not want to be heard by anyone.

One year later, many hours of practice were behind me, song after song was penned, confidence and proficiency had increased. I became accustomed to blocking out those passing by and staying in the moment, in my own world. Interestingly enough by the second summer, in continuing to push fear aside by playing and singing outside while kids trampled up and down jungle gym equipment, mountain bikers cruising past would holler out “sounds good!” Unexpected shouted compliments led to a further dilemma of either pausing and looking up to the biker to say thanks or simply playing through (Those who perform often, know all about pressing forward and playing through the good and the bad). With Thanksgiving come and gone and Christmas rapidly approaching, many kids will soon be participating in a variety of holiday performances. Some will actually enjoy getting on the stage, but many will dread the ordeal as much as the folks forced to sit and watch.

Throughout the holiday hustle and bustle, if you are invited to a show, especially to watch a young-in, remember to be kind. Sad it even needs to be stated, but stay off your phone and give the performance your full attention (so glad I don’t own a cell phone). Kids notice when they come second to a cell phone or any other gadget for that matter. After the show, choose words wisely. It is very easy to break a child’s spirit and confidence by tacky behavior and careless critiques. Encourage others this week to be the best they can be and use the talents God gave them! Live on purpose! Our time on earth is brief, make it count now and for all eternity! God is good! Always!