Click above to listen to Vive La Joye (meaning Joy Forever in old French) from my 7th album A Thousand Years as you read. You can also order the CD or MP3 Album or PDF Sheet Music, or enjoy on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and Pandora.
Is my life more creative or more consumptive?
Is my life more of a problem to solve or an adventure to live?
Is my life more of an argument or a story?
Since they have so impacted and transformed my life, I was prompted to share these three questions with you. I hope you find them to be just as inspiring, meaningful and potentially life changing. It may be enough to read them a few times, reflect, and watch for any action steps to be revealed. Or, you can continue reading for more about how they changed me, and continue to influence my journey…
1. Is my life more creative or more consumptive? Consuming is an important part of life. There are things I need to buy, and there are times for watching movies or taking vacations (which can create wonderful memories). However, creating something original is usually more life giving and brings even more joy, both to me and to others. We all have one or two gifts and talents where we are uniquely creative.
Ask yourself, “What is something original I have created lately?” Lean more in this direction instead of taking the easier path of consuming. This could be any number of things, such as a new recipe, a new poem, a new painting, a new invention, a new song, a new story, a new teaching technique, a new presentation method, a new parenting approach, or a new marriage enrichment idea.
2. Is my life more of a problem to solve or an adventure to live? I am the oldest of three boys, and the son of an analytical chemist (my dad) and an art major (my mom). For much of my life, I was driven by goal setting, striving for success, and seeking to please others. Life was a problem to solve, and I was pretty good at the “math.”
I loved piano and basketball, but neither seemed practical as a career path or way of life. When I wrote my first song on the piano at age fourteen, I had no idea this was a hint of what I would become twenty-six years later. The shift from “problem to solve” to “adventure to live” began years later, when I fully surrendered my life to God at the age of thirty. Life’s adventures have been growing and surprising me ever since. Take a leap of faith and surrender. God will direct your steps.
3. Is my life more of an argument or a story? From my experience growing up in the church, there was this sense I had a duty to “defend my faith” instead of a joy to “share my story” with regard to the presence and power of Jesus in my life. The “argument” perspective went right along with the “problem to solve” approach to life.
Another amazing result of surrender, and trusting in God by faith as the Great Storyteller, is how life begins to become more of a story than an argument — like a great movie, with twists and turns, ups and downs, tears of sadness, and tears of joy. In the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) I am the elder brother, literally and figuratively, doing all the right things, but lacking the great joy available to me. God wants my heart to be filled with His love and grace toward others, like the father in the story. He loved and forgave both his sons, the older with his pride and lack of rejoicing, and the younger prodigal son who returned home after wasting away his entire share of the estate. With God being the author of our life, seeing life as a great story unfolding — with great joy — is life changing for me.
The above photo of captures the essence of my heart’s desire for a life filled with creativity, adventures, and stories. It was Palm Sunday, April 2011, a day of rest from the studio in Vermont, where I was recording my 7th album A Thousand Years. I hiked to the top of the ridge, placed my camera on a tree branch, aimed the lens at this amazing swing with fifty foot long chains, and set the automated ten second timer. On the second try, the camera clicked when the swing reached its highest point. For me, it symbolizes child-like faith and joy, and reminds me God is “holding the chains” with a smile from heaven, as I “swing” through life with faith and trust in Him.
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11 (NIV)