When I first started learning to play the guitar, my finger tips hurt so much that I felt like giving up. I even met people that couldn't bear this pain that they decided to quit. At the time, I sought some advice from some talented guitarists and they always encouraged me to keep pushing through this pain. They said it would take time to improve but it would definitely pay-off in the end.
Thinking back now, I wonder whether it was such a crazy idea to start learning to play this instrument at such a later stage in my life. I honestly thought it would be so much easier, but it has turned out to be more of a challenge than I had anticipated. At times I wish God had given me this super ability to instantaneously master the guitar, play all the chords beautifully and effortlessly.
Determined to play well, I kept pushing through the pain. However, I began to feel quite discouraged. I wasn't getting better as fast as I wanted to and I stopped putting in the effort. Every time I looked at my guitar, I felt defeated.
Have a deep desire to grow
The other day a friend reminded me how important it was for me to practice everyday for at least ten minutes if I really wanted to improve as a player. I'm not just going to wake up one day and play like a pro - I need to accept that. But if I'm serious about playing well, I need to put in a lot of time and effort. I need to stop those voices in my head telling me that I can't do it and remember that without any play, there would be no gain.
Life as a Christian can sometimes be like my guitar learning experience. How much are we willing to do to grow in our faith? When times get tough, will we give up or will we keep pressing on? Do we have such a deep desire to grow closer to God that we are willing to make sacrifices to draw closer to Him? Should we seek growth or remain stagnant?
To become more like Jesus Christ
As Christians, we should desire to become more like our saviour Jesus Christ - all for the glory of God. But spiritual growth requires sacrifice. Just as not playing the guitar frequently won't make me a better guitarist, so too will neglect to read the bible and pray everyday hinder our growth and knowledge in the faith. We shouldn't be content to remain as infants in the faith not knowing how to do what is right, but should strive to become mature and more and more like Christ. With time, we should be growing in such a way that we can even begin to teach others. Not remain so stagnant that we need to be taught the basic things about God's word again [Hebrews chapter 5 verse 12 to 14].
Serving the church and community is great but...
Being a busy body at church (although it's great to help or serve in the church and community) will not draw us closer to God. Relying solely on hearing a sermon at a church service, isn't sufficient for our growth. We still need to set aside time to study and meditate on scripture. There needs to be a balance. At the end of the day, it is our responsibility to act upon the teaching that we receive. Unless we get up and make the decision to act upon our faith, we will not grow.
But we need to be patient too. It takes time to grow. Maybe there's a reason why spiritual growth isn't instantaneous. Would instantaneous growth build faith and character?
We shouldn't be complacent
We can't afford to be complacent either. We shouldn't become so self-satisfied that we have a know-it-all attitude, grow such a big head that it can be spotted from a mile away. We need to instead humble ourselves before the Lord, have a servant heart and always seek to have an attitude that is the same as that of Christ Jesus. I believe that God is willing to challenge and teach us something new if we ask with a sincere heart.
My hope is that I will not be discouraged by the challenges of learning to play the guitar. But that I continue to practise and focus on the end goal of becoming a better guitar player. As for my Christian walk, I pray that I act upon my faith, grow spiritually and keep my eyes focused on Jesus so that my life can always bring glory to God.
Kandima Awendila was born in Mozambique and lives and works as an IT Service Desk Engineer on the Gold Coast.'Kandi Awendila's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/kandima-awendila.html