Am I lazy or humble?
Catherine McIntire - Cello
Catherine's blog - www.pureweakness.com
Catherine grew up in Rochester, MN and moved to IHOP in July 2005 where she completed the Onething Internship. Her passion is bringing holy encounter and healing to wounded hearts through music.
Sometimes that thought creeps into my mind, “What on earth are you doing here?” The world is full of cellists, many, many of whom are more technically skilled than I am. I’m not comparing myself to world-class soloists here, I’m just talking about your average symphony level musician.
Sometimes this has been discouraging to me, but lately, I am grateful for it. I make a point of listening to excellent cellists, and excellent musicians in general. It helps keep my ears sharp, and reminds me that there are so many things that can be done with my instrument. As iron sharpens iron, so hearing from other musicians around the world provokes me to greater excellence.
It’s easy to get lazy in a situation where there are very few other string players around to keep me accountable for my sound and technique. At the same time, I am aware that there are many skilled string players who may be watching me at any time in the prayer room. This feeling of intimidation is where unhealthy comparison comes in.
I can’t compete against a group of nameless, faceless musicians. This is where humility is necessary. I choose to continue playing even when I feel insecure, because I can’t let my pride get in the way. The simple fact that there are others more skilled than I am is not something that can or needs to be disguised. It also doesn’t mean that I have nothing to offer as a musician.
Sometimes however, “humility” can become apathy. I don’t want to be so accepting of my current musicianship that I stop working to become more proficient. And so I take lessons, I spend time practicing every week, and I push myself to become a better musician overall. I took guitar lessons this fall, and that experience made me a better musician and a better cellist.
These things are now fueled by my own personal desire for growth, not by some desire to prove myself to the world. I am in the process of setting goals for myself. How good do I want to be? When I know that, I can make the right decision about how much time I put into my instrument and I can feel a sense of accomplishment when I meet my own goals.
All of those things are good, but ultimately I must remember that I play on a worship team not because of my technical skill but because the Lord has led me here and opened the door. Only He and I really know what I am capable of, and how much I have been called to sow into my cello. In light of this, I attempt with humility to increase in skill, so that whatever I play might be the best that I can offer. This is what delights His heart.
© 2011 Catherine McIntire