Crisp Fall Air & Burning Leaves

I love fall. I love everything about it; Okay, everything except for Halloween cause of my hate for all things creepy, crawly, and scary. Pumpkin spice lattes, football games, outerwear that you’ve been itching to pull out of the “winter” storage in your closet, the leaves – THE LEAVES. I could stare at this all day. Personally, the smells of the crisp fall air and burning leaves brings back fond memories of marching band. 🍂🍁
Disclaimer: This post is not promoting a prosperity Gospel where everything will fall into place if you believe in Jesus – that’s usually not the case anyway. The purpose of this post is to encourage those who are fighting insecurity and fear as they try their best to walk out their God-given callings.

It was the summer before my junior year at Pope High School; The entire band was gathered in the auditorium to listen to the second production of our show for the first time. As the sheet music was being passed out, my band director looks up at me and says, “Esther. There’s a big flute solo in the show this year,” with a smile on his face – the kind of smile that quietly speaks, “I believe in you.”

There was a solo in the show the previous year as well. The directors opened it up for anyone in the section to audition, so I mean, why not try out? There was nothing to lose. I didn’t think that I would end up getting it, mostly because I was a sophomore. Lo and behold, I ended up getting it.

I always loved the musical aspect of marching band more than anything else because that’s what I enjoyed the most. Because of that reason, playing the solo was really fun; I never felt the pressure of messing up or potentially letting the band down. Everyone had their own “dot” (or spot in the show), and I just felt like that’s what I was doing. Making sure that I was correctly in the formations was just as important to me as playing my solo.

By God’s grace, I never made mistakes whenever it came time to play the solo. My friends would encourage me and give me praise by saying, “Good job, Esther! Perfect again!” when we would watch our performance of the night together to track our process. One of the judges from a competition we participated in gave me one of the best compliments I’ve ever received – in the cutest, southern accent “Honey! When you played that solo, the pearly gates of Heaven opened up!” I share this because people around you can and do recognize your gifts and talents even when you may not be able to see how special it is.

I don’t share these things to boast; If anything, the words of encouragement that I received back then were totally invalidated by my insecurity of always feeling like a second-rate player who wasn’t worth mentioning. I would politely receive the compliment with a smile, say thank you, and then immediately forget it cause I didn’t find it worth mentioning. Why? Because I couldn’t share in their sentiments. Cobb County is full is great band programs, and the music scene is very competitive. The other flutists that I knew were consistently and easily 1st-3rd chair on a state level and in prestigious youth orchestras. I would always feel duly insignificant next to these noteworthy giants who were known to be fantastic players.

I was never a stellar auditioner, but I was one of the top district level players as well as a state-level player. As I look back now, how I felt didn’t change the fact that I was a good player. Just because I wasn’t succeeding in the ways that I wanted to didn’t mean that I wasn’t a gifted player. The nearly-believable lies of the enemy don’t change the fact that you are a fearfully and wonderfully created son/daughter of God that is uniquely talented and has a distinct purpose in this life.

The nearly-believable lies of the enemy don’t change the fact that you are a fearfully and wonderfully created son/daughter of God that is uniquely talented and has a distinct purpose in this life.

During my senior year, I was sitting as 2nd chair in the District Honor band. When there’s a piccolo part, the first chair is usually offered the choice of whether or not they’d like to play it. Sometimes, there’s a major flute solo, so it’s really a matter of preference of whether or not they’d rather play flute or piccolo. The director then proceeded to ask the rest of the flutes if they had their piccolos and would like to play by raising their hand. I sheepishly raised my hand (obviously wanting it but not bold enough to raise my hand high) when I heard a voice vouch for me from behind the guest conductor’s podium – my band director, Mr. Gribble. “Pick Esther. She’s a good piccolo player.”

That summer, Mr. Gribble basically handed me a solo that was even bigger than the solo that I played in the previous year’s show. He saw my talent and set a solo aside for me because he knew that I could do it. I thought that was crazy because I felt like I didn’t deserve it. I have so much respect for the teachers who truly believe in their students, who act on the potential that they can see in their students, and who nurture their students in a way where they can thrive in their gifts and abilities without fear or insecurity. In that same kind of way, God desires for you to thrive in your gifts. He also has a calling that is uniquely catered to you; You have a God-given purpose in this world.

In that same kind of way, God desires for you to thrive in your gifts. He also has a calling that is uniquely catered to you; You have a God-given purpose in this world.

No matter what anyone thinks, YOU ARE WORTH INVESTING IN. It’s not because of anything we’ve done, but it’s because of God’s unmerited favor and grace that He lavishes on us. He calls you by name in the same way that my band director called me by name, and God vouches for you because He believes in you more than anyone else in this world could. He knows your potential. He knows your dreams because He was the one to give you those dreams in the first place. He knows how much you care about your future plans and goals, and He cares about what you care about because He cares about you. He cares for you. Trust in that. Trust in Him.

The BIG dreams that are inside of your heart is a glimpse of the potential that God sees in you – prophecy and promises of what the future holds is like God’s investment in you. Even we don’t invest in things or others if we feel that it’s not worth it (for the most part). In the same way that Mr. Gribble freely gave me that solo, God finds delight in freely giving us opportunities that we didn’t even know that we desired or even could have because YOU ARE WORTH IT. God sent His one and only Son to die on a cross for YOU so that YOU could gain access to the holy of holies without sin or shame. GOD LOVES YOU!!!  🙂

I use this marching band scenario as a simple illustration of how insecurity plays into our dreams because I have these BIG dreams, but I have no idea how they could ever become a reality. But I don’t think us figuring out how to turn them into reality is the point. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV For those who are struggling in regards to what to pursue for your future vocation, this verse is especially for you (and me!). There are bullet points that help pray through giving up control that I received from my discipler in “The Wonderful Consultant” that I find to be very helpful in my own prayer life.

God doesn’t desire for us to be timid as we walk out our faith and live out our dreams, for 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” Follow your convictions, and more importantly – pray through your convictions. Surrender your insecurities and fears because he wants to exchange those uneasy feelings with hope, joy, and peace. I believe that God wants to give us front row seats to the wonders that He will do in your lives. The thought of the unknown future can be absolutely frightening – BUT  you and I can hold on to the fact that the Lord our God is our hope of glory. My charge to you today is this: Seek God for who He is, not for the things that He can provide.

“God wants to anoint the areas of your life that you call weaknesses because He wants to turn them into strengths for Your glory and for his message.” Lisa Bevere

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