Since the beginning of our relationship, she has been staring at me from across the room. Every now and then, I would open her up and run my fingers along the ivories, hoping the years of lessons would come back like riding a bicycle. Unfortunately, the piano is not a bicycle and my fingers don’t remember the dance that they reluctantly practiced all those years ago.
See, two years ago, I acquired this piano. She is quite possibly the most beautiful of all my belongings. She made the move with me from a four bedroom house in the city to my one bedroom suburban apartment. And yet, since being in my care, she has never lived her purpose. Instead, she has served as a shelf, a home for books and photos and the dvd player. The piano has played the background of many photos and she does it well. Still, a piano is meant for more.
I had the best of intentions when I acquired her. I planned to sit and force my fingers to find their way again. I pulled out my old lesson books and my music theory text book. I had good intentions.
But good intentions are not the same as intentional actions.
I don’t know your story, but perhaps you are feeling like my piano. Perhaps you have been aching for the more you were made to be. It’s a story we all have lived, waiting for someone to recognize that we are meant for more than a pretty picture. We wait for permission to share the song locked up in our souls, aching to be played. A piano must wait for someone to come along and put her to use, but you and I…what are we waiting for?
You have good intentions to serve in your church but no one has asked? Be intentional in your actions and offer your help. You have good intentions to make friends in your new neighborhood but your neighbors stay locked away behind busy schedules and drawn curtains? Be intentional in your actions and knock on a door. Always meant to write a book, learn that skill, make the phone call? Whose permission are we waiting for?
If the answer is anyone other than the One who created us, then it’s time to stop waiting. And if the answer is the One who created us, then let us be very sure we are not putting words in His mouth. He may very well ask us to wait, but He will not ask us to let our strings grow rusty and our keys sticky beyond use. So let us not mistake our fear for His forbiddance of living within our purpose.
I sold my piano this week. I had to be honest with myself about the reality of our relationship. There are many skills I’d love to learn. I do not have the time nor the mental capacity to learn it all and do it well. So, I am sending my beloved bookshelf off to a home where she will live her purpose. She will belong to a piano teacher and the fingers of children will learn to dance along her keys.
You may have many passions and the thought of choosing a path may paralyze your heart. It’s time, friend. Be honest about what you are made for. Be honest about what is the envious dream of another life and what is wired into your being. And when it still feels there are a million streams flowing from your soul, make a choice and take a step. You may find that the streams cross a ways down the road but if you keep waiting for permission, you will most certainly find nothing but bitterness towards all those who withheld it. No matter how much you plan to live with purpose, it is in the walking that purpose is found.
What are you waiting for? Be brave. And remember, good intentions are not the same as intentional actions.