Perfection not required (thankfully)

The view from behind the drumset
The view from behind the drumset at ICC

It’s not often that you get to live out a dream, but I will long remember Sunday April 10th as the day I finally got to play drums with the worship band, something I’ve wanted to do since I accepted Christ over a decade and a half ago.  But what I will take away from yesterday wasn’t just the thrill of accomplishing a life goal, it was how God used the situation to communicate His expectations to me in love.

Confession time: I’m a perfectionist, and I’m used to learning music by constant repetition.  As a result I’m not good at “winging it,” either in music or in life.  If I don’t know what I’m getting myself into, and don’t get a chance to (over) prepare myself, I’m a nervous wreck.

So, less than a month ago I finally bought myself a drumset and promised myself that before the year was out I would sit in with the church band for a Sunday service.  Just, you know, not yet –  more like months from now, after I learn and master every musical style from Dixieland to hip hop and prog rock, and memorize the fills to every Michael W. Smith song ever written.  So when Larry Knox asked me if I would sit in with his band, and oh by the way, it’s next weekend, I actually laughed out loud.  But as I laughed God put a thought in my mind: There’s no reason why you can’t.  You don’t have to be perfect, just give me the best you have.

I said yes before to things I’ve regretted later, and my stomach ties up in knots every time.  Fortunately I would only have a week to regret this decision, but a funny thing happened – the knots never came.  I had an unusual and extremely atypical sense of calm.  Adding to the calm was Larry’s indication that we’d rehearse twice before Sunday.  Except that the Wednesday rehearsal didn’t happen.  And then Saturday night half the band was unavailable.  And at Saturday’s rehearsal I found out that Larry’s arrangements sounded much different than the songs I had downloaded from iTunes and drummed along with.  And to top it off Jerry Burkeen introduced a new song, “Wade in the Water,” as an opener – a song I had never even heard before.  All of this change at the last minute normally would short circuit me and sent me running for the door.  But somehow God put his peace over me in a way I have never before experienced.  He reminded me that like he says in Jeremiah 29:11 he wants me to succeed.  It was as if he said, Don’t worry, I have your back.

Those of you who were there know the result wasn’t perfect, but we lifted up some heartfelt worship to the Creator of the universe, and I learned that He doesn’t demand perfection, just the best I have to offer.  I gave him what I had that day and he blessed me with peace in return.  As an added bonus, “Wade in the Water” turned out to be the best song we played, and from now on will be a song I remember as a sign that God equipped me for the service he prepared for me in advance.