I bought a guitar about 7 months ago. Prior to that, I had never owned a musical instrument. I was praying about what the Lord would have me to do this year and I believe this was something that was on the list. Music has always been something that has interested me and now seemed like a good time to explore that interest. I told Marta and before you know it she helped me pick out one much nicer than I would have bought for myself. She has always been good to me like that.
I have been learning the guitar by making use of free lessons and videos that I have found online. And I have been diligent about practicing…up to an hour most days. My progress has been slow but steady. I feel like have been taking itty, bitty, baby steps most days….moving an inch or two each day. The progress seems barely noticeable until I look back and consider how far I have come over a longer period of time, like say a month or two. First, I had to learn and memorize one or two chords; but before I knew it, it was three or four. Then I had to learn how strum the guitar. Strumming “Down – Down – Down – Up – Down – Up” 300 times in a row is not as easy as it sounds! It is especially not easy when you try to do it with a cool rhythm – without saying it out loud. It did not take me long to realize that “I got NO rhythm!” And when you first try to strum and change chords at the same time – your fingers feel like fat little pretzels. They just don’t work! It reminded me of trying to rub your stomach and pat your head at the same time – it just feels so unnatural and everything falls apart before too long. When you first try to change from one chord to another you always end up stopping in the middle of the song and everything you play sounds like some bad rendition of “Freeze Frame.”
You practice and practice changing chords without messing up the strumming pattern and about the time you start to get better then you try to add singing to the mix. That adds a whole new dynamic to the process and the result for me was not good. I couldn’t do it and I’m sober and yet Keith Richards did it all those years in his state of mind? Wow! That man must be a musical genius! But playing the guitar has always been on my bucket list and it is something that I prayed about so I have not given up. Despite all my mistakes, plucking the wrong strings, strumming out of time, and the sore fingers, I have pressed on. I have asked the Lord to help me to stick with it and to help me keep making progress. He has helped me keep taking baby steps. He is a good and gracious God. While those baby steps not have moved me any closer to Nashville or Carnegie Hall, they have helped me get to the point where I can play some songs that I enjoy. I can play Amazing Grace, Just As I am, Fly Away, Jesus Loves Me, As the Deer Pants for the Water, and a couple of other songs. The Lord has helped me to work on the songs that have worked on me through the years. Yes, He has been good to me. As David said in Psalm 9:1 “I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. 2 I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.” Yes, I will continue to practice and sing praises to His Name.
I hope that you know that the Lord longs to be good to you too. I hope that you know that even if you could say today that you are not where you want to be and that you feel like you are constantly making mistakes, plucking the wrong strings, and strumming out of time you can still count on the Lord to help you. You can call upon Him, lean on Him and place your faith and trust in Him. Christ stands ready to forgive you of your sins and as Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14 to help you forget the things that lay behind and “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” The Lord is faithful. The Lord is worthy of our praise. Even if you have made some mistakes; don’t give up. Press on and praise Him.