True Musings...

Quarantine Blues? 

Well here we are, in the middle of a quarantine. We are hiding out from a virus that we can't see. It kind of feels like we are running from the imaginary "boogie-man". But unfortunately, even though we can't see it, it appears to be doing it's deadly job clear around the world...people are getting sick, very sick...some...far too many, are dying! WOW - that got real...real quick! The world economy is taking a very big beating! People are losing their jobs, people are afraid, uncertainty is the norm, and we are all sitting back wondering what "normal" will look like...or if there will be a normal.

For me...someone that has made my living from being in front of people, everything has stopped. EVERYTHING. There is discussion that no concerts, or gatherings of any kind...will happen for the remainder of 2020...maybe into 2021...REALLY?? So, my musician friends, my speakers friends, my pastor friends...and those who lecture, those who put on events, those who teach...thats a lot of people...WHAT DOES THIS NEW NORMAL LOOK LIKE??? I have no idea...Restaurants are closing, Cruise Ships may never sail again, Airline Companies are going under...its hard to think of an industry not being decimated during these times...well - except the toilet paper industry (WOW - they hit the jackpot!)

So...in the midst of all this negativity - how do we respond? What do we do? I don't have answers for you, I just want to simply tell you how I am looking at things. I am not the perfect example FOR SURE...But, its helpful for me to walk through this process out loud. If my process can help ignite a passion or a direction in you then wonderful. But, one thing is certain, we cannot come out of this "craziness" the same as we went into it.

As I stare into a completely blank calendar for the remainder of 2020...I have a couple of options. I can rob a bank - that can be a quick fix...potentially severe consequences, so ... maybe I will not go in that direction. I can try and book churches and theatres and sell tickets - oh yeah...not allowed to do that...I can sing for free on-line...live streaming (been doing this) - fun and will keep doing this but that is not an immediate revenue option. QUICK NOTE: Yes, musicians have bills that need to be paid! #funfact OR I can give up music all together! I can take this "pause" as a hint from god...and finally give my family what they need...stability!! JUST STOP SINGING!!

But - what if I did none of the above...What if I took this time to completely re-brand myself. What if I took this time to look in the mirror...ask some tough questions, find out what my ultimate goals are, find out how I can accomplish them and then completely hit "REBOOT". This is scary...This is vulnerable...This is a little dangerous. What if I did this process in the open...What if I allowed people to see how messed up I am. What if I allowed people to see my scars...what if I opened up the life of Kevin Pauls...LIVED out loud and offered that same chance to others...

I have always thought that I was an open book. I don't hide a lot. BUT - what if I took that to another level. What if all my fears, all my inner thoughts became known. Would people still want to know me? Would people ignore me...or even worse, get rid of me?? What if my theology isn't all tied up in a bow like theirs? What if I think differently? What if my thoughts around politics are not like yours or yours or yours? Will that exclude me from your conversations - even worse...would that exclude me from your acceptance??

What if I am not the only one that has felt...that is feeling, that is living with this reality? What if it is time to talk about the TRUE MUSINGS inside of you? What if this "coming out" is not a bad thing...but an open invitation to be seen...and heard...and still LOVED! ***SPOILER ALERT*** I have not lost my faith...I am not seeking to destroy the fabric of our free society...I AM SIMPLY WANTING TO BE HONEST!! That alone can be disturbing. I do have some questions. I do have some fears. I do think differently than a lot of my evangelical friends. I have evolved over the last 15 years...I do not see the world the same as I did. I do not think of my faith the same way as I did. I do not see the church the same way as I did. I do not see the many things the same...AND i think there are a lot of people that feel this very same way.

So - i am in the middle of a REBOOT...What will Kevin Pauls look like in a few months...What things will I be involved with...What stories will I be telling...what songs will I be singing...

PLEASE stay tuned to find out...in fact - we might find out together!!

Kevin Pauls

"I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO" 

Have you ever found yourself in the position of "I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO?" During this quarantine, as the landscape of our society changes, my potential for touring and doing concerts and events has STOPPED! I am looking at the process of reBranding myself, figuring out how to do things differently. In the midst of that process...there are many times when it looks like it will never work! I have days of complete and utter frustration..."I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO!!!"

I know that my industry is not the only one forced to completely rethink how they move forward. I know this time has created anxiety for the future of a LOT of industries. SO, I can't be alone in this. I am not the only one who feels as though I had no idea what the future will look like!!! So...NOW WHAT?

I want to make sure that I keep things in perspective. I am healthy...I have a wife that loves me (most days! LOL), kids that still want to hang out with their parents, grandkids that love their Papa...SO...the basics are good! The foundational elements of my life are in good working order. THAT MATTERS! I still have hope for the future...I still have plans and things I am working on...I still have dreams for what's next...but..."I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO!"

Will the plans I have create enough revenue to pay my bills?
Will the ideas I have come to fruition...and will they have revenue attached to them?
Will I be able to pull off the ideas I have?
Do I have what it takes to make this work?
This dream is too big for me!
I NEED SECURITY NOW!
I don't know if this will work...and if it doesn't - THAN WHAT????

Most days I wake up ready to go after the dream...today I woke up wondering if I have what it takes...if I can make things work...Will I screw this up...again!??

Self doubt, woe is me, pity party...yeah, all the things that will NOT help...flood my mind. Today will pass...I know I'm not alone...but it sure feels like it sometimes. The overwhelming thought that I will not be able to pull this off, hits me every once in a while! I have tried things in the past and they did not pan out well. I have let a whole bunch of people down in the past. I have lost a bunch of money...and other peoples money - going for what I thought was a great idea...now..."I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO".

Tomorrow I might not think this way...in fact, by the end of the day my perspective may change...or I could feel this way for a few days...IT'S MY CHOICE!!! I cannot allow past results to dictate my future. I have a choice. It's an easy choice...I want to choose to be enough...to have what it takes...to finally make things work...BUT my past wants to step out in the middle of the road and say...You can't make this happen! You don't have what it takes...

Well..I may not have what it takes. I may not make things work the way I want them to.

I don't want to end there. I always want to be able to spin this into an encouraging post to give you HOPE! That would not be real...That would not reflect my mindset at this moment...

I will leave it here for today. I will allow myself to feel this, and work through it. This is my reality today. I simply do not know what to do. So, as my beautiful wife taught me - when you don't know what to do next...do the next thing you know to do! SO...here are my steps to work through this today (I am preaching to me!!)

1. Pray & Meditate
2. Connect with God
3. Allow my "gut" to speak to me
4. Ask for wisdom & guidance
5. Make no decisions today.

That's all I have today...

Be well...

Kevin

Conspiracy & Jesus - My take... 

I see a lot of people focusing a great deal of energy on "conspiracy theories"! A lot of people are addicted to social media and the drama surrounding this "so-called" conspiracy. It makes for good television...it can create drama and excitement during your boredom. BUT...is it helpful? Even if the theories are true...is it helpful??

I am focused on one group of people...Those of you that claim to follow Jesus! Please know that the opinions expressed are mine. I am simply working this out in my own life, and since I claim to be a follower of Jesus...i am asking this question for myself as well.

What is my goal during this pandemic? As a follower of the ways of Jesus, what should my focus be? The constitution of our country? The financial well being of our nation? The front-line workers? The news and media outlets? Should I get caught up in the drama of "GET BACK TO WORK" or "This is a HOAX" or "It's not as bad as they say" or "The world will never be the same"...and the list of bombastic statements continue...

What is the posture I want to take? What is helpful? What is the best way I can represent Christ in crisis? Pandering to the extreme right or left politically doesn't seem to be very helpful. Spreading fear and anxiety doesn't appear to be the right solution. Pretending it's not really that bad - that doesn't feel right either...so what't left to do?

Here is where I choose to land.
1. I will not try to be a doctor or pretend I know anything about this pandemic from a medical perspective.
2. I will calmly abide by the ruling of those who seem to know far more than I do.
3. I choose to attempt to bring life and hope to a dark situation with positive comments & hopeful statements
4. I want to find those that need a boost emotionally or spiritually and give them that boost.
5. I want to take this time to reBrand me and all that I do...professionally, personally and spiritually.
6. I want to remove the things from my life that are not life giving!
7. I want to reFocus on the things in my life that bring JOY, HOPE, GRACE & FORGIVENESS.
8. I want to think before I act - with mercy, kindness and love.
9. I need to take seriously the time we have and find out ways to make others more important than me.
10. I need to remember in all things - that I represent Jesus Christ. IF i choose to follow Him and IF I choose to tell people I follow Him...than I need to start acting like it!!

Rant is officially over (for today!

Kevin

Trust - a prayer for today! 

This was my prayer this morning...

Today God…I first want to acknowledge your provision. I really feel awkward when people say “God is in Control” - that leads me to believe you are in control of this chaos. I believe you are in ULTIMATE control, but that does not mean “micro managing” the world or our lives. In simple terms…I do not think you caused this or any other tragedy…but I firmly believe you are in this with me!!! Standing, holding, encouraging…loving me through this entire episode.

I never want to pretend I KNOW things that are un-know-able! We have a book full of stories about God and the interaction between the Jewish People and Yahweh. We have letters and encounters about the life of Jesus, we have first hand accounts of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have life lessons and we have the the words of Jesus…and so much more that point us to knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world…Somehow Jesus is the DIVINE, and was human enough to understand our plight and DIVINE enough to save us! I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS AT ALL…However this understanding guides my life and guides everything I do! HOWEVER this beautiful book we call The Bible does not clearly allow us to understand all the inner workings of the world and how God interacts with His creation…SO…I say all that to simply tell you I do not know exactly how God works…BUT I AM CONFIDENT HE DOES!!!

That confidence allows me to have hope for the future. That confidence allows me to have peace in the midst of the storm. I do not need to know the inner workings of the universe because I know the one who is charge and I trust HIM!!

Today, I simply rest in that trust!

New Beginnings...AGAIN for the 3rd time...again!?!! 

Well I am sure many of you, like me, are sick of "new beginnings". At least in my life, the "start over" button has been hit a few times...so I know what you are thinking...really? AGAIN? Welcome to my life!!

Being in this crazy business, and dreaming of music as a career since I was 6 years old...and attempting it since I was 16...things don't always go as planned. Well, at least that has been my experience. A few years ago my wife Wendy Pauls and I hit CNTRL + ALT + DEL in our lives. We were ready to hang it up...I was willing to never sing again. I WAS DONE!!

The next few years were painful and were very soul searching. I did not know how we would get to the next step. I did not know if I would sing again. I did not know how I could jumpstart my career...I was totally spent!!

Well...where do I begin...??

Wendy and I are almost ready to reveal to the world what NEXT looks like. We have been busy planning, putting in the work and making sure things are ready to hit the ground running.

Its been a long time coming...I cannot wait to reveal everything to you...not yet - BUT SOON!!

It's a big deal for me. It's a big deal for Wendy. I pray that this venture will be a big deal to you too...stay tuned!!

Kevin

Good Intentions 

Well... I HOPE that this will be the start of a more consistent blog. I have a lot to say and often allow the inspiration to leave me before I have a chance to write it down. Good planning eh? or lack thereof.

How many things in my life started out as - " a-good-intention"! I hate that term..."good intention". I have way too many things in my life that started out with the right motivation and ended up going nowhere. Either lack of follow through, lack of planning or maybe just the fact that I figured out it was a terrible idea. I have often spoken before running the idea through my brain...which often leads to disaster! I have never intentionally let people down...however, the person being let down doesn't necessarily care about my motivation!! I have hurt people, I have frustrated people and I have caused people not to think very highly of me...all because of "good intentions"! THAT SUCKS!

For many years I have followed a pattern...I have consistently done the same things over and over and incredibly, thought the results would get better! Isn't that the very definition of insanity...(that does explain a lot!)

About 20 months ago...after the worst 2 years of my career... I knew something had to change. I sat at my desk and tried to honestly ask myself some very hard questions. After over 30 years of doing music...after many years of investing time energy and finances...why am I no further ahead? Why am I still struggling...Why is there no room for creativity anymore...Why am I still in survival mode? WHY WHY WHY? Well...I came to the conclusion I was, in fact, "insane". I looked back over the years and thought of the many times that I had, in fact, let people down...let myself down, spoke too quickly, not followed through etc...I kept doing the same thing thinking that THIS time it will be different. WOW! That really hit me. I did not think I had lived my life like that...but it appeared that I had!

So...I determined that I was going to approach each decision in my life like this:
1. What would "Kevin" do?
2. DO THE EXACT OPPOSITE!

That was my strategy. I didn't say that thing I was going to say. I didn't make that call I was going to make. I wrote that letter I was NOT going to write. I was going to plan and think about the idea I was just going to do...As often as I could - I would try to respond very differently than I had over the last 30 years...

Now I would love to tell you that I have not blown it at all over the last 20 months or so...That is not the case...however, The number of "let downs" have greatly decreased. Learning to be a better version of myself is not an easy task. Taking stock into the "inner me" is not always pleasant. However, the results of digging and finding uncomfortable answers have allowed me to start the process of being better.

I am becoming:
1. A man of my word
2. A man that follows through
3. A man who does what he says

I am becoming...I am not there yet...I am becoming! This is a journey...

What hard answers could you find in your own life that could change the trajectory of your future? Look deep inside. Ask those that love you what they think. I am trying to become Kevin 2.0...It started with some soul-searching, then it started an outward change that is slowly sinking deep into my daily life.

Hard, difficult and uncomfortable answers were the start of my new journey...I would love to hear your story.

-Kevin Pauls

Vulnerability - what happens when the lights go out? 

It has been far too long since I wrote anything. I have taken some time to realign myself. Spiritually, Emotionally, Physically - I am not the same person I was back in 2014, 2015 or even the start of 2017. Something changed. Something finally moved me to change. Real change. Real Change? YES...I can actually say REAL change. I don't need to get into the entire reason, and all the specific aspects of change - but there has been a deep change within my spirit, my emotions and this has helped to transform my physical. I often would say to my bride, "The outside is more closely related to the inner spiritual well being than we think" "The outside is often a reflection of the inner person". I knew (or least I thought) there was a direct correlation between our physical well being and our inner spiritual and emotional well being. Now, obviously, there are circumstances that would make this theory seem impossible...however, no matter what your physical limitations are, I still believe this applies. It is not based on appearance, or physical prowess or ability. It is based on how we feel and see ourselves. NOW - let me get personal for a moment...Applying this theory to your own life will look very different than it does in my life - I just hope you resonate with the idea...and perhaps it can lead you in a direction that can cause change...if that is what you are after. For me...I have felt over the last 10-15 years that I was working on about 80% of my ability while feeling like I was working at 120% of my capacity! I allowed procrastination to start taking over. I avoided things that were uncomfortable. I avoided the unpleasant, which allowed my immediate circumstances to fool me into a belief that "everything was going to be alright!" I watched people around me hide. I learned what it was to avoid conflict and thus carried all the burdens by myself...I did not want to burden my wife...burden anyone else. Interestingly, when looking back, I realized that was not out of a motive that was to "keep others from worrying" it was a very selfish motive - I did not want anyone to know how stupid I was being!!. I lived with a knot in my stomach most days. I slept poorly. I was anxious. I was very rarely "present" in conversations or personal interactions. I missed a lot of great moments because my mind was elsewhere. I used all my creative energy figuring out ways to fix my problems rather than applying that creativity to my craft. I was slowly killing the joy in my life. I would get angry quickly. It affected how I talked to my wife and my kids...it was like a cancer in my spirit. Late into 2015, when Wendy and I were in the middle of the "year from hell", something hit me...it was called "ROCK BOTTOM!" I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore. I could not pretend I could fix this anymore...I was DONE! It has been a long process, but the essence of the lesson was this...the more vulnerable I became. The happier I became! The more all my wounds and scars and screw-ups were brought to the light...the less I had to hide...in fact, I hid no longer!! I owned my patheticness, my mistakes, my woundedness...the more broken I became, the more restored I felt. I have never felt the hand of God more than I did when I allowed myself to be COMPLETELY BROKEN. My relationship with my wife grew...it got better and better and better. We became a team, I felt as though I didn't have to carry the burden alone...the light at the end of the tunnel has reappeared. So, let me get back to the correlation between the outside me and the inside me. in January of this year, since I started at Crossroads and was on Huntley Street - things started to change...not because I was on TV but the effect of my vulnerability started to take over. My spirit started to feel different. My emotions were starting to heal. My outside started to not feel aligned with my inside. I lost some weight, I radically changed my hair. I felt that my mind was clear for the first time in a long while. My attitude was different. I was present...change just started to manifest itself. I wanted something different. I WANTED TO CHANGE!!! I had allowed myself to hide for so long...feeling like I was a loser...like I had not lived up to the potential I was told I had...feeling less than sucks!! It shows itself in many ways...mine showed up - spiritually, emotionally and physically. When the lights on the stage went out - I did not like myself very much. It took a lot for me to learn that - it cost me far more than I would have wanted it to...however...now that I am on the other side...the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter...there is hope...there is a joy. I am present. I love my family better. I am ready to live the second half of my life much better!! So, the lights are out and I am lying in my bed...for the first time in a long time...I AM OK WITH THAT!

Todays Inspiration 

I just finished watching a video on Facebook. I am constantly blown away by the generosity of those in need. I have seen many videos, and have experienced it first hand...those in need often are the ones that give the most. I have traveled for years and spoken on behalf of World Vision, and recently Food For The Hungry. I am often taken aback when those who have desperate stories, and really hard/tough circumstances come back to the table and sponsor a child or give some money...it catches me off guard. I know how much I have been given and am always challenged to do more. I don't have a lot and find myself becoming increasingly "self-focused". When the need is there, it can become all you see. You stop looking to help others. You become isolated and you forget to live a life of extreme generosity. I have become guilty of that. I don't need to get into the details of my situation, but it is clear to me that focusing on my issues has stopped me from being "others focused". It has stopped me from being who Jesus created me to be. I am not supposed to be a great singer (although I hope to achieve that one day), I am not put on earth to do great things, or achieve great wealth or become famous or buy more stuff...I firmly believe that I was created to shine the light of Jesus Christ so bright, that people don't see me, but they see the Father! (through action - LOVE) I have become ME focused. I have been so worried about my circumstances that I have forgotten about those around me. My wife, my kids, my friends, my neighbours, those around me, those I don't event know. My prayer today is simple...Allow me to care more about others, than my own circumstances! Today, allow me to have the privilege of praying for others, caring for others, thinking of others, giving to others. Allow me to take time for others, to listen, to genuinely care. I am called to LOVE. I pray today that I love others more than myself. AMEN.

Happy Sailing! The tension of life... 

Making decisions...overthinking it...reading into everything that happens...looking for the "sign"...is it just me, or do we tend to over analyze things? I know I sure do...over analyze that is! I want to take a step back from my current direction in life - take stock in what has worked and move forward into my 50's (yeah I said it - it's not that far away!) with a clear direction that will allow us to achieve some goals that my wife and I have. So, in doing that - I over think it. In the past - I have tried to do the same things over and over - hoping each time - I would do them better...NOW - I am trying to do some very different things and expecting a different result! That makes sense, right? I want to take a new approach and see if we can make some progress...but every time I have an idea, or a thought - I then take it to prayer...I try to hear from God and then make a decision. That's when the problem arises... I need to hear from God, without the filter of my own desires! GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!! I know that there are some that feel so spiritually superior - they would tell you that they can clearly hear from God (all the time) in spite of their own ideas. Well, I am here to tell you that I don't always get it right! (SHOCKER!) Taking a step back...taking stock in my life...in my career...making decisions that are good for me and my family - while still striving to be a follower of Christ -- IS NOT THAT SIMPLE! It is easy to get caught up in financial worries, money goals, material things, trips that you want, philanthropic endeavours...etc...it all starts to flow together and finding the heart of God in the middle of that is often elusive. I want to be financially secure, I want to take my wife to Italy for a month, I want to tour the world, I want to help those that are in need, I want to be a light in a dark world, I want to represent Jesus well...All of those things go together right? They don't need to mutually exclusive - do they? Can we go after our dreams, while following Christ? Can we put others first while trying to climb the "corporate" ladder or live the "American-Dream?" Where is the balance? Is there a balance? How do you reconcile all of these questions? So many questions and so few solid answers. You see, in my humble opinion, there is no correct answer! This is the tension that we live with. The culture we live in pulls us, the people we surround ourselves with influence us, the God we serve directs us...the goals we have, compel us to act - somewhere in the middle of all of this - we find a heart that wants to serve our Creator. In all the noise of life, we try to navigate the selfish ambition we all have, with the sacrificial love that Jesus demonstrated for us. That tension is our reality. There are no right or wrong answers to how this is implemented into each individual life. Every heart seems to beat a little differently. I have my career goals, I also have our family goals, I then have the heart of Jesus beating inside of me trying to direct this stubborn man...TENSION - it is just that...As I navigate these tension filled waters, I pray that the wind of the Holy Spirit will continue to allow me to sail straight!! May today be a day you drift a little closer to the wind of the Holy Spirit - HAPPY SAILING! Kevin

Deep thoughts by Kevin Pauls...is this an oxymoron? 

I used to love the "Deep Thoughts" excerpt from SNL. Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey...they were little quotes that were just a little "off"! It is especially effective with the beautiful sound of the piano & strings in the background and the visual of a gorgeous ocean setting. The whole "deep thoughts" idea is only funny when you know what the actual saying is...so when they totally destroy the meaning, you then realize why it's funny. You need to have the original to compare to or the new saying is just odd! right? My deep thought today came when I was driving my daughter to work. We were talking and my twisted mind went straight to deep theology...really, coffee in hand, 8:15am, beautiful sunny morning, driving my daughter (whom I love to death) and my mind goes to "deep thoughts"! Really...I am not this bright. I am not normally a "thinker"...this is not like me!! seriously! I am a little worried... My mind went to the word sin. Sin is this scary word. Sin holds all kinds of meaning to Christians. It is amazing the meanings we get from this word. by definition: "an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law" Wow...it's nice to know that it is that specific! LOL!! I am so glad that we all define those acts the same. I am so glad that we are in agreement to what the "divine laws" are. I am so happy to know this has not caused any concern or division within the church. (I hope that you were able to pick up on the sarcasm...I was laying it on pretty thick!!) We were (my daughter and I) talking at this time about the LGBT community and that we both know some that are also followers of Christ, while within the LGBT community. Now I am not interested in the debate about the "right-ness" of this. Only want to bring up the point that this can be a VERY divisive topic!!!! (you think?!) SIN - is not easily defined. Lifestyle, moral conduct, loving our neighbor, treating each other with respect, war, violence, looking after the poor, sexual orientation, sex before marriage, drinking, smoking, long hair, make-up, harsh language and the list goes on! We so desperately want to know who is "saved" and who is not!! We (the church) for years have taken scripture out of context to back up a rule we needed to implement. We have often taken our own bias and placed it on others so we could call them on their "sin". We have sometimes just made rules because we THINK it is the right thing to do... (i know that this would never happen in the church!! LOL) Now, before you get concerned that I am trying to justify an action or actions, let me tell you my deep thought! NOTE: after many years of learning and studying and trying to hear the heart of God...this is my "deep thought" It is a work in progress and this is not the finished thesis...but this is the beginning of what I hope will be a life transforming theology taken out of scripture
Deep Thought: LOVE EVERYONE YOU MEET!
If we do this well...the RULES will not matter anymore. Love well today!