"Why did I give up? I suppose most people have gone through this almost/halfway/maybe/not quite obtaining the pinnacle of a dream experience. Becoming resigned to the outcome, but disappointed and still having the desire to go further. A dream half realized. I know I have and I actually thought it was God’s will for me to give up the dream in the same way I thought it was His will for me to begin."
Written by Carolyn Hostetter
In the late 1980’s and early 90’s, I discovered bluegrass music. Bill Monroe originated Bluegrass in the 1940’s. It’s a form of folk music that encompasses several genres of music from West Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, France, Appalachia, and New Orleans. I fell in love with the fast, driving tempo and the Gospel texture of the tunes. If there were lyrics, they had to do with everyday life, and I could harmonize with them. My dream was to become a great bluegrass fiddle player.
Music was my passion. I could already play the violin, viola and piano. I was even able to play a little guitar. I had no doubt I would be able to produce the same fast, driving fiddling I had been listening to. At the time, I had been away from playing for many years so I felt like it would help to take some fiddle lessons. I went to a week-long Mark O’Connor Fiddle Camp in Nashville in 1995. I practiced daily and recorded my practice sessions so I could hear my progress. I got good enough to join a church bluegrass band. It all fell into place so quickly and came so easily, I figured it was God’s will. I was pursuing my dream with enthusiasm.
After a while, I stalled out.
Over the next 10 years, life and health issues began to pop up. I would practice but I didn’t feel like my fingers were moving as fast or my bow wasn’t keeping up with my fingers. My hands hurt. My rhythm was way off. Sometimes I couldn’t fluently read new music or remember music I already had learned. My first bout of thyroid cancer left me with a paralyzed vocal cord. I had surgery on both hands. The relapse of a neurological disorder that had been diagnosed in my 20’s added to the list of health issues I was.
To me they were all signs. I knew that God was telling me playing fiddle and singing in a band was NOT His will for me.
I had another problem that led me to believe playing the fiddle wasn’t God’s will. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.” I always wanted to glorify God, but I didn’t feel like I was glorifying Him. I was having too much fun! I loved being on stage and I loved the relationship with the other musicians. I couldn’t see how I could be glorifying God if I enjoyed what I was doing; I prayed that He would show me how to glorify Him while I was enjoying playing. I felt like because I enjoyed it so much, I was glorifying only myself.
So, my dream came to an end. The issues with my hands meant I needed to change everything about my mechanics in order to play in tune. The paralyzed vocal cord meant I couldn’t sing anymore. More importantly, I thought it was God’s will for me to quit. I thought the series of events that lead to my inability to play were God’s way of taking me out of the band. I know now that that thought came from the mixture of grace (He gave me the desire) and legalism (He will put me through trials and tribulations to straighten me out if I get out of line with His will) that I had grown up with. It was a gradual and resigning disappointment to realize my dream was no longer part of my life,
After reflecting on Pastor Javin’s Heartistry sermons, I believe I gave God a bum rap. I quit too soon. I believed God was using pain and suffering to change my direction. That’s wrong. God uses His goodness to move us. God is always there in front of us giving us our desires and they are always good. All we have to do is listen and know that, as believers in Jesus Christ, our desires are His desires. That’s the faith we have in Him and the promise He gave us. We just need to DO what’s in front of us! He will make it matter. We may not even know how or who it affects; but He will work it out for our good.
The scripture used in part 2 of the Heartistry series was Psalms 37:4. It says “delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” God is good. It’s so simple really. Delighting in the Lord means to bask in how amazing He is. For me it means that loving what I’m doing for Him doesn’t mean I’m not glorifying Him. It means I’m taking delight in what I am doing for Him. Believe in, trust in, and rest in the absolute goodness of God and His grace. He will put His desires into your heart.
Oh yeah, now I want to play Irish/Scottish/Cape Breton fiddle which I think is harder than bluegrass, but I like it. I think I’m going to take some lessons.
Pastor Javin Van Kaam
When was the last time a dream captivated your heart? Maybe, its been a while. For some, life gets too busy for dreaming. For others, life doesn’t seem worth dreaming about. Whether you are in a slump (some last longer than others…), or find yourself too busy to explore the desires of your heart, one question must be answered by us all: Is there more to life than this? That question sounds different depending on the place you are in, but the answer is important. Does God really give us the desires of our hearts? Is this all He has for me? What’s next?
We know that God gives us dreams, visions, and hopes for a future, but why? Throughout this series, my prayer is that you will dream again, tune into what God is speaking to your heart and set your feet on the trail of a new adventure. No matter if you are young or old, God has something new for YOU today.
Will you join me in asking God to speak something new into our hearts? I am convinced that God wants to stir up old dreams and give life to new ones. He wants to remind us of promises He has made and give us fresh vision for the glorious future we have in Him.