It is really hard to believe the last few weeks have only been a few weeks. It started with family tragedy (which I will talk about at a more appropriate time), then business presentations, choreography assessments, and finally a show!
The family tragedy element I will try to leave out of this blog, out of respect for my family. I will concentrate instead on everything else.
Ok, the business presentation....
This is something that I will again go into more detail about in a future blog, because it is part of something much bigger that I believe God has put onto my heart.
It has been such a mad rush trying to get everything together, and there have been so many times when I have thought 'This is never gonna happen', and then thought 'No, if it is of God, which I believe it is, then he will make it happen, I just have to keep faith.' It was one of those situations where I HAD to rely on God, because I was winging it; I couldn't see really past the next couple of minutes of work at any given time. Not saying that I wasn't working hard, but large amounts of the time I was winging it, as I think we all do to a certain extent; Hoping that if we keep ploughing on, it will all come together.
The day before was a nightmare day; with one person suddenly saying they had to leave for a doctor's appointment, leaving us a person down. When that happened I really didn't know whether to laugh or cry. The rest of the team worked so hard; I have been blessed to have had them on my team.
And actually, i think this is a great time to mention just what they each achieved; One of them managed to get over their fear of writing academic work by plunging himself right into it; The amount of times I would get home and find him working away. Yeah, he found it hard, but he stuck at it.
The other managed to produce a fantastic website. He never needed any reminding or prompting, he just got on with it. He also turned into reality the company Logo, and created all of the design elements. I think both of them did some fantastic work.
I remember the night before, me and one of the others on my 'team', stayed up pretty much the whole night trying to get everything finished. Part of the work was to write a journal. We only had one computer between us, so we were doing 15 minute shifts.
It must have been about 4 in the morning, and he was on the computer. I decided to use this time to just pray and worship; I went into the other room, stuck on some worship music, and suddenly felt something hit me. It was like God whacked me into action. In the next half an hour of working time, I must have easily written 1000 words. I was finished by 5.
I woke up again at 6 to get ready for the presentations, which started at 8:30. I made sure that I spent a good deal of time again before this praying.
The presentation went really well. I really felt God moving in that room when we did it. The three of us seemed to really pull together. The presentation itself seemed to pull together. I think that we all seemed united behind the idea. Bare in mind as well that we'd only had about an hour or two's sleep between us.
This is an area of my life that I had very much included God in. I would dare to say actually that it is God's idea that he has very much had the grace to include me in.
On Wednesday night, I did some healing on a friend of mine's leg injury. I have since heard back that the healing worked, and the leg is much better.
'Why Make A Song And Dance'
One of my regrets whilst doing this show, is that I didn't make enough time for prayer; Because of rehearsals, I missed things like cluster meetings and worship sessions, without really making up the time anywhere else. This led to a lot of times when it felt like something was missing.
The times I did pray though made a massive difference; I remember on the Friday night, for example, I spent the remaining seconds before going onstage to sing my Solo, asking God specifically to 'speak' through the performance. This was actually the first time it felt like I was telling the story to the audience. it felt like I was preaching a message rather than just singing.
On the other nights, he also helped me to manage my nerves; Nerves are a funny old thing; You can be completely confident one night, and flooded with nerves the next, and on the Saturday night, I was really feeling it. I could feel a gulping reflex developing in my throat, and i knew it was going to be a job of nerve - management. I prayed to God for help getting through this - for strength, and I saw that he was right by me, as he had been the other nights.
Yes, I was still nervous, but I managed to get through the performance with this gulping reflex, without it being derailed.
I think as well, it is just a massive comfort to know that he is there, onstage with you, and that he can help to make up for your shortfalls. I remember I really felt him there on the first night, and although I came of the stage with legs that were so much like jelly they were ready to cave in, it was a real comfort to know that he was there with me, holding me up, supporting me so to speak.
It was really nice to hear encouraging comments back from people as well; The head of faculty said to the head of performing arts 'My God! Hasn't Joe improved!' Well I genuinely believe that this is down to the impact that God has had on my life, the changes he has made in me since I came to faith, and all of this is available to ANYONE who asks God for it, and comes to faith. It is so hard to believe that I have only been going to church for a year, and I am so excited to see what he is going to do in me in the future.
Anyone reading this – Christian, Atheist, Agnostic – here is my challenge to you. Close your eyes, put your hands out if you want to, and just ask God to come into your life, to reveal himself to you, to work within you, to bless your life, to give you strength, or for anything else you feel like you need in your life. Maybe you feel it’s time that you gave your life to Christ. Spend as much time as you need, and don’t forget to include some listening time.