This upcoming Sunday is All Saint’s Sunday in church. As such, we are singing the hymn “For All the Saints,” one of those hymns I love to hear and to sing but dread playing. I’ve told myself for so many years that this hymn is way too difficult for me to play due to the walking pedal line and no clear four-part structure like other hymns. After talking with my organ professor from undergrad and talking myself into it, I finally decided to sit at the organ and attempt to learn to play the hymn.
I realized that after telling myself I couldn’t for so many years, that there really wasn’t too much to be concerned about. I was just in my head about it, over thinking it, and giving myself anxiety, hoping that it would never be requested.
Sure, there are definitely some tricky parts in the hymn and it will take a bit to practice, but there wasn’t really anything that was way outside of my ability. By the end of the first hour, I had all of the pedaling and fingering figured out and was even able to play through the entire hymn at 75% of the final tempo. That is not how I thought the practice session would go. Now, less than a week later, I can comfortably play the hymn.
Do I think it was a bad thing that I spent all of those years thinking I couldn’t do it? Well, not really, but it wasn’t exactly a good thing either. I had gotten in my way for the past eight or nine years and fortunately, it was never something that I thought was too important that I’d lost sleep over. Now, this might seem like a minor breakthrough or a “good for you” moment, but it got me thinking: what else have I gotten in my own way about? What else have I told myself I can’t do or shouldn’t do? Where have I stunted my own growth because I was too stubborn or too afraid to take a risk?
This is not an easy question. It’s not always a pleasant thing to think about. We’re so often focused on where others have failed us that we haven’t taken a look back and seen where we have failed or sabotaged ourselves. Maybe we’re too afraid to look back to see where we may have failed. Where has God set us up for success but we put ourselves in the way? There are times when God will give us everything we need, all of the opportunities we need but we lack the conviction or courage to act. In these moments when we don’t act, we fail. We don’t fail if we try and it doesn’t work or if something goes wrong. We only fail when we stop trying.
Sometimes we can’t see where God is in our lives. Sometimes we need that outside help to see what we’re capable of and where God is setting us up for success.
Long story short, it might be hard but we need to get out of God’s way to work in our lives.