My fear of the public stage began when I was ten years old. It was my third piano recital, and I had practiced the piece until it was flawless. As the expanse of faces fixed their eyes on my tiny frame while I sat in the spotlight, I moved through the first verse effortlessly. Then something happened.
I reached the bridge and instead of trusting my hands and letting instinct guide them, I thought about the notes that followed. My mind went completely blank.
As I sat there for what seemed like an hour wondering what to do next, I decided on my next move. I would play the part remembered. The chorus. And the next verse after that, then the ending notes.
When I remember that experience, I’m struck by how often I take the same approach toward life. Instead of trusting my maternal nature and instincts, I worry about my children’s future. Instead of trusting God to provide my family’s every need, I worry about whether our renter’s are going to make their payment this month.
I am constantly thinking about the days ahead, but not in a way that invokes laughter or smiles.
I skip over the grace God has provided right here in this moment, and let my mind race into the future, into the unknown, outside of the blessing He’s placed in the now.
What if instead of stressing about the days to come, I laughed at them? The woman described in Proverbs 31 does just that.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” (Proverbs 31:25)
This woman isn’t laughing at the future because she’s fickle or flighty or irresponsible. In the preceding verses she is illustrated as someone who provides for her family, is generous to those in need, is loving and wise. As I picture her laughter, I picture a woman who is resting in the preparation she has made for the days to come.
I picture a woman who is sharp enough to realize that worrying accomplishes nothing except add to her grey hairs. She knows she serves a big God who is made small by the lines of tension beneath the eyes.
We often associate worry with wisdom, but the Bible suggests laughing at the future is a smarter choice.
Do you know what the people in the audience said to me repeatedly after that piano performance? After I’d locked myself in a bathroom stall and cried tears of embarrassment? They said, “Well done. You kept going. You handled that so well.”
Falling short is inevitable. We will fail. We will make mistakes. But when we know we gave it our best shot, we can look back on those moments and laugh. We can even look forward at the days to come with the same attitude.
We can rest in the assurance that no matter what lies in the days ahead, God will be there, waiting to catch us if we stumble.