I sat down at my piano this morning, my spirit feeling cluttered and in need of purging. I felt inadequate before my fingers even touched the keys because I had already decided that I didn’t have a song to sing, and that my hands would not play the way I wanted them to. But I knew I was where I was supposed to be. I picked up my phone to search for some chord charts for some newer songs that I like, but after muddling my way through a couple, I realized I didn’t know them well enough in order to get to where I needed to go this morning. I needed songs that I knew without thinking about. I needed to play and sing a song that would let my spirit disconnect from the actions of my body and focus in on the presence of Jesus.

But that’s not what I wanted to play. I wanted something new, and different.

I can do some things well, and I can do some things just okay. Piano playing is one of the latter. I struggle with my lack of skills and get frustrated and give up quickly. This morning I was on the verge of doing just that.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Whoa. That is not where I thought this was going, but as I process those first two paragraphs, that’s what I’m hearing. I want to play better because I am comparing myself to others who play better, more proficiently, and who’s fingers don’t stutter over notes, who know how to transition and can hear changes in their heads better than I do. A lot of that comes with practice, but that’s not the point.

This morning my spirit needed to worship the Lord, but my soul was striving for satisfaction in the natural and I almost missed a precious time with the Father. I was too busy focusing on what I couldn’t bring rather than bringing what I had, and there have been many moments over the years where I have absolutely missed out on what God had for me for that exact reason.

Even as I was struggling through unfamiliar songs this morning, I felt the Spirit asking me to put those away and just play for Him. I felt the tug to let go of my own desires and give in to His, but I wanted something different, dang it! Finally put my phone away and just started playing. Boring chord progressions and fillers that I’ve played a thousand times because muscle memory kicks in and I just play what I know. I found myself singing a mashup of songs that I’ve been messing around with for a few months (extremely sporadically), and the one song that I had been avoiding (only because I wanted something new) naturally flowed out of the musical space I was in and I got stuck on one line. Tears started streaming down my face as I played and sang and worshipped the Lord, leaving the structure of the song behind and pressing in to my own lyrics and melody.

When God called out to my spirit this morning, He wasn’t looking for something I didn’t have to offer. He wasn’t looking for a level of musicality that I have not yet achieved. He wanted me to give back to Him what He had given me, which is the gift of being able to worship Him, in spirit and in truth. He didn’t want me to worship him like someone else does. He wanted me to worship Him the way I do. To play for Him the way I do, and when I finally allowed myself to do that, my spirit connected with my Father exactly as it needed to. The message I received this morning was clear: Bring what you have.

God has created us with gifts that He has proclaimed, “It is good,” over, but the enemy has come and told us, “it’s not enough.” We get distracted and discouraged from stewarding and using our gifts because they don’t look like what others have. That lie steals our joy and our ability to commune with the Father the way He desires for us to, the way our spirits long for. Our focus becomes pleasing others, rather than pleasing God. Who else was I trying to please this morning? There was no one else there! All God asked of me was to be obedient and worship Him. He was pleased simply by the fact that I obeyed. He didn’t care that I made mistakes on the notes or that my voice cracked here and there.

I pray this is an encouragement to your heart this morning, friend. God is not asking something of you that you do not have to give. He just wants you to bring what you have to Him. He will bring the rest, and will meet you in your together place.