I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe amidst this COVID-19 crisis. I am deeply saddened by the news of our nation’s mounting death toll. I was especially bummed when I heard of Joe Diffie’s passing from complications due to the virus. I am listening to his music as I write this, “Lord, I want to go to Heaven, but I don’t want to go tonight” is a line from a famous Joe Diffie Song: “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox.” I pray Joe found his way to Heaven. I pray for his loved ones as they mourn his passing. I pray for all who are hurting amidst this pandemic.
I was driving to play golf over the weekend (outdoor recreation permitted if handled correctly – yay), and was jamming out to country music, which is standard for me. When I drive I’m almost always singing along. I absolutely love music, especially the likes of Eric Church and Luke Combs. My thirty minute drive made me realize how little I’m listening to music now that I’m not driving as much- what a bummer. I haven’t really left my house over the past two weeks, despite a few short trips to the grocery store. I am missing my jams, so I’m going to carry my portable speaker around my house this week, given not much in this world makes me happier than great beats and soulful lyrics.
I wrote a blog post about “Happy Tears” on the first day of my road trip last summer. My Sunday morning drive reminded me of leaving town on that adventure. Talk about jamming to music, that trip was hours and hours of singing along with my favorite artists! As the first quarter of 2020 is officially over, I’ve been reflecting on progress toward my 2020 commitments thus far. I realize that given the emotional connection to music I NEED to shift one commitment into a higher gear: learning to play guitar. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done 39 guitar lessons YTD (via the Fender App- pretty cool), yet I know I can do even more now that I’ve built the initial habit of consistent practice! Why? Because I love music, and I cannot fathom the joy of being able to express myself with song and guitar one day; the thought alone often makes my eyes well up.
Britt bought me a singing lesson for Christmas. I went a few weeks ago and have to admit that it was quite fun and helpful. During my lesson I learned a vocal exercise that I can practice daily, which I’m adding to my daily commitments. I absolutely love singing along to music and I figure if I can add in a little intentional practice each day- why wouldn’t I? Singing and guitar- steps toward “happy tears,” which means additional steps toward JOY.
I firmly believe we should chase the things in this world that bring forth positive emotion to the extent tears actually flow. I wrote back then, and I’m writing again today, that music is one of few things that can instantly brighten my day. I cannot count the number of times songs have brought forth powerful emotion within me, usually tied to lyrics with depth and meaning. I continue to believe our positive emotions can be a beacon toward our divine purpose. We are all created in God’s image, yet we’re also created very differently. My passions aren’t your passions, and vice versa. Music brings true JOY for me, what brings JOY for you? What makes happy tears flow from your eyes?
I think amidst this “shelter in place” order we all have the opportunity to chase a little more JOY. Granted, many have day jobs and families that are still prevalent, yet we are certainly saving on drive time! I plan to increase each guitar session by another 10 mins for the rest of the year. I’m spending 5+ minutes per day simply on vocals in April, and hopefully I’ll expand this once the habit is created. I’m spending more time listening and singing along to music moving forward, especially over watching television. I believe we can all spend this unnerving time wisely. We can CHOOSE to CHASE our JOY via a commitment to spend a little more time engaged in whatever activity brings us closer to achieving a dream.
Perhaps you dream of life balance. Now is the time! Perhaps you dream of being a better parent. Now is the time! Perhaps you’re interested in studying psychology, nutrition or gaining some sort of certification. Now is the time! Maybe you’ve been wanting to try meditation – why not now? I’m adding a daily 10 minute meditation starting in April, as I realize it’s time to stop putting something with such fantastic health benefits on the back burner. We all have the same amount of a very precious gift: time each day. Amidst this shutdown, I realize how much more I can utilize my days to be healthier, happier and eventually more fulfilled. I can chase my dreams by chasing my JOY (those happy tears); therefore turning a negative situation into some positive growth.
I’m going to follow those musical happy tears this month and beyond. I think the positive emotions and joy from music would be a shame to forgo exploring. I’m going to stay committed to health via working out and meditation. I’m going to keep reading a new book every month, coupled reading both books of Corinthians in April. I’m going to keep SURRENDERING to God, as I close in on one year since making this incredible spiritual shift of life. A little lockdown cannot stop my progression toward a more JOYOUS life because God is the source of JOY, and He’s right here with me. He created me to enjoy music, writing and serving others, and I plan to CHASE DOWN these things that brighten my life in an attempt to truly honor God’s creation. I pray you’ll do the same by CHASING YOUR JOY as well!
May we follow our happy tears. May we have spiritual, mental and physical growth amidst a challenging time. May we serve God by becoming the best and most JOYOUS version of ourselves.
Much love, much health, and many blessings!
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