Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved…
My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him. Psalm 62
Several springtimes ago I was meditating on these words within the confines of a small practice room. Before warming up with scales or arpeggios, I would prop my bible up on the piano and recite this scripture over and over, seeking His peace and strength. I clung to every word.
It was my junior year of college. The semester prior I had been required to play a piece for the general recital at the end of the semester. I don’t even remember the name of the music now, but I had spent countless hours over sixteen weeks practicing it, breaking it down into smaller chunks, rehearsing those chunks, and then putting it all back together. My fingers knew every note, every nuance, muscle memory established. Until…
Until the moment I stepped onto the stage, sitting carefully at the squeaky bench, stage lights beaming down. The audience awaited, a cough and muffled words breaking the silence. I took a deep breath, tried to relax my shoulders. As I began to play I hoped the nervousness would subside, that I would settle into the routine—the one I could play with my eyes closed—push past the anxiety.
But it wouldn’t let go. When I reached the second movement I went completely blank, my mind colored black. My hands detached from my body, unable to receive commands from the brain. What little control I had was gone. As my heart raced and fingers trembled, I fumbled around on the keys waiting, begging, for the music to come back to me. Eventually it did, albeit haphazardly.
My soul, wait silently for God alone.
You can see now why I clung to these words, why I mouthed them into a sweet salve for my soul; I was once again required to play in the general recital that following spring semester. But how could I? I had been gripped by the evil performance-anxiety monster, his teeth marks still visible on my skin. Not only was I trying to outmanuever the monster, but the post trauma of failing before my peers and teacher, the fear of reliving that terrible experience. I could barely walk the halls without feeling embarassed, much less step onto a stage.
I’m not even sure why I chose to meditate on this psalm, other than I had been so humiliated the only thing I could do was thrust all of my hope on Him, debased to survival mode, tunnel vision to God. In hindsight, a terrifyingly sweet place to be.
I peformed beautifully (and boldly) in the general recital that spring, and only by His grace. The monster was wrangled and I was set free. My soul waited for Him, and my expectation was only Him, and boy, did He deliver.
He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.