Is Your Destiny Leaving You Clues?

When you experience an involuntary emotional response, whether positive or negative, it is often a clue. You have stumbled onto something that will lead you toward or away from your destiny. It’s important to pay attention.

Guitarist Playing Acoustic Guitar

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For example, not many people know I majored in music for my first two years of college. I played guitar, piano, and bass. Music was my life. It was all I ever thought about.

For my junior year, I transferred from my small junior college to Baylor University. I was excited, because the music school was legendary. But I quickly discovered that I was just one aspiring musician in a sea of extraordinary players.

Giving in to Fear

The competition scared me. By the end of the first semester I threw in the towel, switched majors, and sold my instruments. I essentially kissed music good-bye.

I thought I was being “practical.” But it was mostly about fear.

I quickly refocused my energy on other things. I discovered new passions, including my love of books and learning. This eventually led to a very satisfying career in the book publishing industry.

But something was lost.

Over the years, I occasionally played the guitar or the piano. But it was rare. I just didn’t allow myself to go there. In fact, I haven’t owned a guitar since college, though I have bought a couple for my children.

Last week, my daughter, Madeline, and her husband Shawn came over for dinner. Madeline brought her guitar and asked if I could help her learn a song by the artist Mree. It was in an unusual tuning, and she couldn’t figure it out.

We worked on it for about ten minutes and determined the artist was using an “open D tuning.” We didn’t learn the whole song, but we played what we knew for Gail and Shawn. (I still had cheap guitar at the house that one of my other daughters had abandoned years ago.)

When Madeline started singing, I cried.

The emotion surprised me. Something was resonating within me at a very deep level. I sensed something in my heart had just woken up after a very long sleep.

Reclaiming Something Lost

That evening, I started shopping online for guitars. The whole while a little voice in my head kept saying, This is silly. You’re not going to buy a guitar. It’s been too long. You’ve forgotten too much. Besides, you don’t have the time.

But I persisted.

As we were getting ready for bed, I spoke to Gail about it. She said, “You need to pay attention to this, Mike. I don’t know why, but you need to buy a guitar. I feel strongly about this.” (You gotta love that in a wife.)

The next morning, Madeline and I met at the Guitar Center in Nashville. It’s a giant superstore for musicians. It has every model of guitar you could imagine for sale. Frankly, it was overwhelming.

However, we met a very knowledgable, low-key salesman named Rob in the acoustic guitar department. He gave us a helpful overview and explained what had transpired in the thirty-plus years I had been out of the market.

I then sat down and played about a dozen different guitars. So much came back to me. My brain was flooded with memories. I reconnected with a joy I hadn’t known in years.

After almost an hour, I pulled a Martin HD-28V from the wall and sat back down to play it. I immediately teared up. Again, the emotion surprised me. I knew this was “the one.”

Just to be sure, I tried several other guitars, testing each of them against the Martin. However, nothing else sounded as sweet or felt as comfortable as it. So I took a deep breath, looked at Madeline for assurance, and bought it!

I played so much that first day, my fingers were blistered. I have had a blast just getting acquainted with the instrument and relearning some of what I had forgotten.

More Than We Know

Honestly, I don’t know where all this is going. I have no illusions about playing professionally, but I do think it is important to pay attention to the resonance of this moment. There is something here for me to learn and experience.

But it’s not just me. I believe each of us is more than we know.

One of the ways we figure this out is by noticing what stirs us emotionally. This is a step in moving toward our destiny and becoming all God made us to be.

Question: Where have you recently experienced unexpected emotion? What have you learned from it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Bilal Malik

    That is really an nice and awesome article you have posted. You most have thought before reading it that much kind words :)

    If you talk about relation i would like to describe in one beautiful quote of mine is : Mirror and relation both are sensitive ,, But there is one difference between both of them ..The mirror breaks due to mistake ..But The Relation breaks due to the misunderstanding.

    Really it was nice to read :)

  • Sean Nisil

    Hey Mike,

    You and Jeff Goins should do a cover of Rhett Walker’s “Come to the river.” Then you can have a musical break for two bars for Jon Acuff to rap. I can play the cajon. Andy Traub can handle the mixing and recording.

    Done and done. #HistoryInTheMaking

  • Peter j Foster

    I loved your honesty and passion in your Post. Hey, here’s a challenge for you: get settled in with the guitar, find a piece of music you love – and can play, then attach an mp3 or video with a post. Go on, you know it’s your Destiny! I too play the guitar and write songs BUT like so many things I didn’t put quite enough passion and effort into it. I am the happiest person in the world though singing my songs in the garage at the bottom of the garden! My main claim to fame is I co-wrote and performed a Bible Musical – still being performed by folk around the world.

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  • Lisa

    What a beautiful story! You are a good writer, as well.

  • Anne de Groot

    I was recently at a Halloween party with my kids, it was a free event at a club I belong to. I was blown away by how amazing it was and when I was thanking the organizer, I had a tear in my eye. I guess being thankful made me break down.

  • Sharon

    Thank you for this!! I just had a BIG aha while reading this, as it clicked something really BIG into place for a puzzle I was pondering last night… so THANK YOU… I am grateful I came upon this article TODAY! Bless YOU!

  • Brenden Valks

    I love this post, it has made me think about all the things I love doing, have loved doing and whether there is something I need to work more at for the pure joy of that thing… Thank you for this post.