jacob’s well, coffee and finally waking up.

If I think about it, I’ve felt exhausted for a long time. More often than not. You know that headache you get behind your eyes? You take ibuprofen for it but you know the only thing that is actually going to help is if you close your eyes and go to sleep? I always have that headache. But It’s not just that I’m tired. Because I do sleep. I even take vitamins. I remember to take vitamins. I can’t remember my own phone number most of the time but I can remember to take my vitamins. Which makes me proud. It’s not my kids either. I mean, kids are exhausting. having children is sometimes like driving down a highway at 130 miles per hour (I’ve actually done that so I know what I’m talking about, bro). You can’t really relax for a second. Because the second you do and get distracted they are in the other room pulling every single record out of the sleeve and “cleaning them” with their gross, sticky hands on their dirty shirt covered in crumbs and lollypop residue. Or getting toxic cleaning supplies out from under the sink and spraying themselves in the face with them (true story).  I actually love being with my kids. It’s really no inconvenience at all. I can’t stand it when I hear parents complain about their kids. Like they can’t wait for them to grow up and leave so they can re-start their life and get back to what they really wanted to do in the first place. anways. It’s not my kids. I have a great wife. I have a great life. But there has been something going on around my head and in my heart for a long time and I could never put my finger on it.

 A little over a year ago, right around the 4th of July, I woke up in a hotel room like I do a lot. I got up and went down to the lobby to find some coffee. My brother, Jon, was sitting outside on the deck that was overlooking a really pretty river. Jon is NEVER up before me. He was listening to music and typing on his iPad. For a long time. If you’ve ever tried to type on an iPad for any length of time you know it’s hard. What I thought was even more interesting is that He had his laptop in his room. He could have just gone up and made it way easier on himself. But I got the impression that he didn’t want it to be easy. If it was easy he probably would have gotten bored and quit. He was going to type, and type, and type on that iPad until he was done. He was probably there all morning. He never really even looked up from the iPad in his lap. Of course I was curious as to what he was writing and to whom it was being written, but I didn’t ask. I wanted to, but I didn’t. The way he was so engrossed in what he was doing really affected me for some reason. I haven’t forgotten about it a year later. I think about it often. Wandering what he had to write that morning. Because it was like that. He had to write that morning.

I was working on my blog this morning. You know, just sprucing things up. I saw the link to Jon’s blog. He doesn’t really write much so I never go to it. I clicked the link anyways. He had a new post. Well, it was a year old. And he told the story about that morning. He posted it right after he wrote that morning on the patio of the Hotel. I never saw it until today.

Go read it here.

“Jacob’s well makes me not want to go to the airport. It makes me want to rush through recording sessions that I used to only dream of being a part of. It makes me want to be gone when I’m home and home when I’m gone. It leaves me parched. It does not give me fullness of joy. It drains the pleasure out of living my dream.

I think I spend too much time drinking from Jacob’s well and not enough time drinking from the one that offers eternal life.”

As I read that paragraph my eyes started to fill with tears. I looked up from my computer and saw my kids playing with each other and laughing. I realized that I was feeling exactly like Jon was that day. I spend most days allowing myself to forget how blessed I am to get to do exactly what I’ve always wanted to do. I play music. I have a family. I have a home, cars, a dozen guitars and basically everything I need. But instead I try to sustain myself with mundane, temporary things that leave me bored, distracted, angry and bitter.

Proverbs 4:3 says “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life”.

Sometimes reading “wellspring of life” might not really connect. Another translation says “for it determines the course of your life”

ABOVE ALL ELSE, GUARD YOUR HEART, FOR IT DETERMINES THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE

I am guilty of not guarding my heart the way I should. I allowed loss in my life to wipe me out and shut me up. There was no life in my heart anymore because I let my heart die. The one thing that determines the course of my life is the one thing I ignore and shut off from myself, my family and my friends. I spent so much time feeling like I was walking in my sleep. Almost just waiting until I can get back in bed and be done with the day. I forgot to check on my heart. I didn’t take care of my heart.

I’m sure a lot of you can relate. It’s funny how we spend a lot of time feeling alone in our thoughts and feelings. But we really are all alike. We all need to feel alive. To feel needed and necessary. To know we are making a difference.

I spent a year wondering what my brother was typing that morning. I found out today we were feeling the same way.

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21 comments

  1. I totally agree. It’s easy to get stuck where you’ve been in any arena, but I think it’s even easier in leading others in worship. God says he’ll give you the desires of your heart, but he doesn’t say that you’ll always have the ability to process them the right way. I know I’ve been burnt out before. Be encouraged! You are immensely talented and you make a big difference in people’s lives!

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as well as your brothers post.

    As i told the wife recently, even our pets are spoiled just like we are.

    When the mundane things of life become a trigger reaction of our over-whelm-ness for the things of & about this world, if we all stopped at that moment and considered what were complaining about, we’d be most ashamed.

    The Word speaks of “give an account for every idle word” and “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth”, the spirits moves in me the exact moment I become guilty of this.

    I need to check my heart pert near every morning.

    Again thanks,

    K&A in FLA

  3. bro… thanx for the transparency. it truly spoke to me. as i was reading this i could hear my oldest daughter singing along with needtobreathe on her ipod at the top of her lungs… i have two other kids who are just as awesome as her. this morning i had a conversation with my wife before she left for work. we talked about some really awesome deep spiritual stuff. i am blessed as well to get to make music for my living. and we also have a home, that even though it’s small for the amount of humans living in it, it is quite comfortable. more blessings than i deserve. i am a blessed man for sure. but something inside me keeps tugging at my heart… i really feel like it’s the holy spirit calling me to dive deeper and with reckless abandon follow Him. i was asked a question the other day by a pastor friend of mine… the question was what is your deepest fear? and honestly my deepest fear is not making a difference. that when it’s over, my life didn’t matter, or wasn’t noticed. i think i may have spent most of my life trying to be “noticed” for god, instead of just serving god and letting the chips fall where they may. i don’t know how to not have the drive to do more, be more and achieve more… and maybe that’s not all bad, but i do know that i MUST put that 2nd to truly saying yes to serving Him with abandon. thank you for helping me get some perspective on that. blessings and ambience [ 🙂 ] bro.

    1. dude that part about “spent most of my life trying to be noticed for god, instead of just serving god” is where i feel ive been. glad to see others can relate. thanks

  4. Please keep blogging. I would read this after an extremely fast paced day. Amen. And by the way, your guitar parts in sins are stones are great, Jerry jones all day.

  5. Exactly what I needed to hear, James.. I think I’ve noticed my heart starting to die over the last few months but haven’t done anything to change it.. Thanks for being honest and challenging me.

  6. I’m a worship leader/youth pastor and I play in a couple of bands and have recorded 9 albums. I’ve dedicated my life to this stuff. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this, feeling this way, and helping me see what I need to change. You and your brother put your finger right on something that i’ve not really noticed. I bet this helps. Thanks.

  7. James, thank you for posting this!! I opened this up in a small coffee shop and it spoke to me in the midst of my busyness. I enjoy your writing. Your music is good too I guess, hahah. Jesus spoke through you and Jon’s writing this morning. Keep blessing the Lord! He is proud of you!

    P.S. You’re one my favorite guitarist to listen to, I was just joking 🙂
    Bless you!

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