This morning as I played with our worship band, I somehow kept getting off a beat and lost. So if you were in our second service and thought the keyboard sounded off… in fact, it was. 😝
It’s predictable when this will happen to me- it’s when my mind wanders off the current measure. I start thinking about something that happened in rehearsal, or a conversation I just had, or I simply become self-conscious for some reason and my focus shifts. Sometimes I look ahead a measure to check where I am going, or glance back and forget where I am… is this the first ending or the second? Anything that moves my attention off of worship right now in this moment is like catching my toe on loose carpet and then it‘s suddenly a clumsy struggle to catch myself before I fall flat on my face.
What keeps me in harmony and unity with the rest of the band is when I don’t focus on myself or even the other instruments at all- when I just worship the Lord and play one beat, one measure at a time. Not looking ahead, not looking back, just this measure. Right now.
Ironically, part of what distracted me today is thinking of this analogy of how this happens in music and how it reminds me of conversations I’ve had multiple times with people.
In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis makes the point that the enemy is constantly trying to shift our focus to the past in shame or regret or to the future in anxiety or even plans for how we will do something for God tomorrow. If we are consumed by the past or the future, you know what we aren’t consumed with? Looking at Jesus today. Right now. Lewis makes the point that the present moment in time is the closest intersection with eternity- we can’t change the past or hold the future, but what we do right now does have eternal weight and impact. The only moment in which I can choose to worship and trust and follow the Lord in obedience is this moment right in front of me.
I don’t know about you, but it feels like everyday the world unravels a bit more. I feel distracted by social media drama and misinformation. I am grieved by so many things around me. So many things in me.
But the more my focus shifts to how I wish things were, or what other people think of me, or what will happen 5 years from now, or what kind of world my children will grow into adulthood in, or how people have wronged me… I lose the beat. I fall out of step and trip on that carpet. I miss the opportunity to obey and trust my Jesus right now.
He knows where we are going. I can trust Him with the future. He knows all that has happened in the past. Nothing took Him by surprise or was a threat to His plan or is unredeemable. I am a limited human locked in time and the eternal weight of the past and future is too much for me to carry - but it is not too much for Him. All He has given me to do is to play this beat and this measure, to keep trusting Him, keep worshipping Him, obey Him right now.
One beat at a time.