Thank you so much for reading my weekly newsletter. I’m so grateful for your interest and companionship as we journey through life together. I’d really love hearing from you sometime — just say hi or let me know how you’re doing or what might be something interesting you’d like to see me write about — you can reply to this post if you receive it in email form - or contact me here: firstname.lastname@example.org. And check out the details below for an event I’m singing at in Rochester, MN April 22 & 23!
I used to do concerts. I did a lot of them. And I loved it.
I’m not sure where this picture was taken, but I know it’s from my Christmas tour in December 2019. This was the last time I did any live concerts. It’s weird, too, in retrospect, since I usually have a thought toward the end of a tour like, “Hmm, I wonder if that’ll be the last time I do concerts?” I guess that line of thinking helped me appreciate the moment more, not taking for granted the amazing opportunities I was given by those who hosted a concert. I hope December 2019 wasn’t the end, but there has been a giant break between then and now, and honestly, it hasn’t been horrible.
Here’s my question for you…
Is there’s something you used to love doing—and for some reason or other, you stopped doing it, but you’re getting the hankering to return to it?
This might be the time.
Let me tell you why it is for me—and hopefully there will be something in what I write that resonates with you.
* I got worn out. And now I’ve rested up.
Doing concerts was super difficult—physically, emotionally, and spiritually taxing. I wasn’t completely aware at the time how much so, until I was given the chance to step away from it all. It was as if a tightly-wound rubber band was finally set free to unwind back to its natural state. I know that when I return to doing more live music it’s going to have to be done differently. I’m not sure what that different looks like just yet, but I can’t wait to find out.
Make new terms for yourself. Find a new approach to doing what you love in ways that are life-giving and healthy. Aim for your joy, not your stress. Think about what you can do, not what you have to do.
* I got lost trying to prove myself to others. Now I’m doing it for me.
I saw the trajectory I wanted my music career to go on, and it looked so much like the successful artists that I have loved and admired for years. I didn’t allow myself to have my own trajectory. I wanted other people’s success, not my own. I continually felt like I had to prove myself, to show myself as valuable, worthy, interesting, awesome. Because if you don’t, you just disappear… But check this out: I discovered that it’s actually more than okay if you do disappear. (To be honest, it hasn’t been an easy journey to learn to say that, since my identity has been so wrapped up in other people’s opinions of me!) To disappear means to let myself just be me; to not have to perform for anybody, to not have to try to impress people, to not have dollar signs be attached to the value of my work. I want to do music because I love music. I love how music has rescued me from the pits of despair. And to be a small part in helping others keep going through the difficulties of their life is a tremendous honor.
Untangle yourself from expectations of what you should get as a result of what you do. Find your joy in the process of creating, building, exploring, restoring… whatever it is. The joy is truly in the journey. (And remember, there is no pot of gold at the end of any rainbow.)
I could keep going a long time writing about this process… and perhaps I will again. But let me end today with this.
* I got lost in Winter. But Spring is finally here.
Spring has finally arrived in Minnesota, after nearly six months of Winter. There is new life abounding, and it’s not just in the tiny buds on the trees. People are coming back to life after our long hibernation. I can see it on people’s faces, and in their attitudes. Winter is important for a lot of reasons that we can’t always see from the outside. But my winter had me buried under the pain and rejection of my past. Trapped under cynicism that anything good would ever happen. All my efforts in the past only got me so far, why would I dare think anything new or better could happen? Why even try? Who do you think you are? These are death words. These are words focused on the barrenness of the surface, ignoring the deep, inner work that God and me have been doing throughout this entire time. Spring is when we get to see the outgrowth of the work that’s been done underground and inside. It’s a time of reawakening. It’s a time of admiring the beauty of new life that always comes around this time of year. And a great reminder that the seasons keep coming. You might feel stuck in Winter mode. But Spring always comes. I can smell it in the air.
Where are the tiny buds of hope trying to reappear in your life? How can you spend a little time this week nurturing those little reminders of the joy you once had? This is the essence of hope—remembering the goodness from the past, looking for it in today, and anticipating it in the future.
How can I help you?
Please let me know if I can encourage you in any way as you help usher Spring into your own life.
I can’t wait to sing again…in about a week!
If you live near Rochester, MN please join me for a great event coming up April 22nd & 23rd at Evangel United Methodist Church. I’m going to be singing a few songs as a part of this great fundraiser for the Salvation Army Food Shelf. Please come say hello, hear some great music, and support a great cause! Tickets and more info here!
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“This is the essence of hope—remembering the goodness from the past, looking for it in today, and anticipating it in the future.” --- Yes! That is a great definition!! Love it, and I love that you are going back out there to share your talents, but on your own terms. You are inspiring, my friend!!
Good one, Mark. Much to think about.