Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Study to Worship: My College Experience

Because I had such a dramatic experience deciding whether or not I was going to even GO to college, you can imagine the turmoil I faced once it was time to declare a major. The pressure was on, so I just picked something. I decided to major in psychology. I’m quite interested in human behavior (especially when people are neurotic and dysfunctional!) and since I loved music I figured I could take some music classes and perhaps do something with music therapy. This went all well and good until the first semester of my sophomore year when I had to take “Probability and Statistics” and I had to pass it! I got a D. All of my other grades were up so that brought my GPA down and made me mad. And I despise math, so I determined to change my major right then and there. I decided to pursue music.
Church Music Ministry became my new major. I actually didn’t like that title, because I would have rather it been, “Worship & the Arts” or something like that, but Bethel is a tad on the conservative side when it comes to anything dealing with the word “worship” so I went with it. My overall desire became to travel to different countries, holding worship conferences, teaching and learning from other nations about worship. Bethel didn’t offer that as a major, but now I think Youth with a Mission does! Maybe someone there will read this blog post and allow me to attend there for free.

Now, one thing everyone must know about me: I have the worst case of stage fright of anyone in this entire planet. Hands down. I am terrified of singing in front of people by myself. It’s bad. I forget the words to anything I’m singing, my heart pounds out of my chest, my legs shake, my palms sweat, I sing off key and... several days beforehand I'll have "the big D". Humiliation and embarrassment of all kinds follow.
Welcome: Performance Class.As a requirement for being a music major, you have to take performance class and sing a memorized piece of music in front of your whole class once a month. OH the horror! When I found that out I almost jumped ship. Certainly there had to be a degree in NOTHING. I bet those tassels are white. But God continued speaking to my heart and telling me this was it. So I ran hard after the church music ministry degree, failing performance class once a month. Oh I always came to class prepared with a song on the day I was to sing, however, on most occasions, I had to throw in the words “something, something” and proudly display my music skillz while sweating profusely, with a bad case of diarrhea, singing off key.
There were actually only about 20 other students in my class at the time. But I had to endure this trauma both semesters for 4 years! (cue scary music).
Lets please take a moment of silence in my honor.Now, let’s pull ourselves together and visualize what I felt the day I realized that there is a
Senior Voice Recital
For most music majors, this is the day they live for. Their moment to shine. To show off their incredible talent and let the world know they should be on the radio. (May I just interject my own opinion here for a moment? –I don’t like that part of the musical world. It’s not only in the secular world, it’s in the Christian arena as well, and it stinks. However, the pride of low self-esteem works the same way and is no better, so I had my own issues.)
I cried for days leading up to my senior voice recital. I prayed and pleaded with God that he would let this cup pass from me.Though you slay me, I will trust you Lord. Oh goodness. Just writing it out brings up all those emotions of fear I had. I had one song, out of all the rest that I was determined I would make it through. It was called “Mary’s Song” and it's by (Cindy Rethmeier) Vineyard. We had songs we were required to sing and one we were allowed to choose off the beaten path so that was my choice. It epitomized what my heart stood for. To draw close to God in worship, so that’s what I wanted to express during my senior voice recital. That it’s NOT about me, but about Him. My 2 best friends were going to join me on this occasion to help me on this particular song: Kate played piano and Kelsi was going to dance.
The day of the recital I was in knots. I felt sick. But it was the most beautiful day. As the time approached for me to get this thing through, an overwhelming peace came over that just calmed all my fears. A feeling of confidence came with it, as though God would just take over and do this for me. I went out on that stage and sang. I remembered all the words. I sang on key, and when it was time to sing Mary’s song, I changed into a peasants dress, and came on stage barefoot.
Singing that song let worship flow through me like it never had before. And even if no person in that audience could feel it, it didn’t matter. GOD DID. I made it through the entire recital that night, focused and relaxed. And when it was all over I thanked God and then went with my friends to celebrate at HACIENDA! One of my favorite restaurants in my college town.

Now that I have seen the grace of God and what He is willing to do for something as silly as a young terrified singing girl, I know that He can accomplish so much more.
I encourage you, let Him.

3 comments:

♥Kelsey Kakes♥ said...

hey...its ok, i would never want ot go to college for math eaither...i do despise it as well! and im sorry to tell you this...but im not going to be able to get you into the youth w/ a mission thing for free. lol. i have pretty bad stage fright too...but it just shows what God can do and how powerful he is! of least you made it through:) amazing story...it just shows you to give your all to God and not worry about anything!

Holly said...

Aw you're such a sweetheart, Joy!! I'm sure God smiles in delight often when He gazes upon you!! (I didn't know Kate played the piano during your recital--how neat!!)

michelle said...

performance class was AWFUL!!!!!! did you know that i changed my major my last semester from "piano pedagogy" to "liberal studies with a primary concentration in music history" because of the recital requirement!!!! it sounds as if we have the same issues. let me play the piano in church in front of hundreds of people with the worship team but put me on stage by myself and i FREAK! so i got my generic BA in liberal studies. (did i mention i HATE music history...so that was always very ironic to me). if I would have changed my mind within 5 years of graduation and did a recital, i could have obtained my 2nd BA. oh well...