One year ago, no one could have ever imagined that life as we knew it would change—indefinitely. Here we are a year later and have finally come to terms with our “new normal.” However, many are still struggling and experiencing the aftershock in their private lives. Jonathan McReynolds is a highly anointed creative and cultural influencer whose music artistry has a global reach that transcends generations from millennials to baby boomers.
Last month, he won his first GRAMMY® at the 63rd Annual Awards Premiere Ceremony for Best Gospel Performance/Song for his Billboard Gospel No. 1 hit single “Movin’ On.” “I was hoping to be considered for a GRAMMY one day, but still was completely stunned when it actually happened. Everything about the songwriting, recording, release, and friendship was unique and special. Just how God wanted it to be.”
As a 30-something millennial, packs a wealth of wisdom and experience on navigating various life areas. It’s no secret that stress, depression, and anxiety have soared since the breakout of the pandemic. According to the National InstitMcReynolds ute of Health (NIH), a recent study has shown that the prevalence rate of all forms of depression was 20%, anxiety 35%, and stress 53% in a combined study population of 113,285 individuals. Depression, anxiety, stress, sleep problems, and psychological distress in the general population were found to be higher due to the pandemic.
In a prior forum McReynolds conducted with GRAMMY® Award-winning Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, they both admitted to experiencing some of these same issues in the past. They also discussed the medical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of the conditions. Although they could not make or give any medical advice or consultation, they could share some aids such as taking advantage of therapy services, having a good support system and utilizing scripture and prayer as an effective antidote. “Some depression and anxiety can cause one to become isolated by thinking that these problems are unique to us. This is a main reason why there should be safe support systems around us to reinforce that we are not alone.”
Since McReynolds’ musical influence is centered within a faith-based community, he talks about his reflection and introspection during the pandemic. Such as uninterrupted opportunities to make room for God. Given the busyness of our schedules, obligations, and daily demands; it forced us to reevaluate what really matters. Furthermore, that this lockdown season has been an opportune time to literally put into practice what we have learned and have been accustomed to within the four walls of churches especially with the vast number of closings throughout the country. How apropos that a song he penned prior to the pandemic carried a timely message that expresses in part “God make a cathedral out of me.” While it is wonderful to awe over beautiful structures (physical buildings), he believes the most beautiful sight to behold is a continual dwelling place in our hearts unto God.
Speaking of heart—McReynolds has a huge one. Elihu, his nonprofit organization’s mission is to foster understanding among millennials to pursue a deeper understanding of God and their purpose. Also, by celebrating and promoting those that demonstrate God’s wisdom, understanding, and principles. The organization has been in existence for over five years and gives out several $10,000 scholarships annually. The final portion of our interview was dedicated to how to successfully navigate relationships in whatever sphere of influence you find yourself in. He says he has been totally liberated from the thoughts, opinions, actions, and words of people. Whether they were close, afar, or on Instagram!
“I definitely felt overwhelmed with whatever responsibility that I felt to all of ‘those’ people. I’m called to love people, to serve people but TO heal from them as well.”
His hit single, People, reveals the reality of this lifelong inevitably that affects lives every day. He says it really boils down to each individual in how they choose to place and set necessary boundaries required to secure their safety, sanity and maintain a life that glorifies God. He recommends figuring out how would you properly categorize and compartmentalize people in your life so that you can live, learn, forgive, heal, and move forward with no trace of residue left.
This pandemic has taught us to pause, discover and realize that many things we were worrying about really did not matter anyway. Determine what needs to be moved up, moved on, or moved out. It starts with a shift in mindset from negative thoughts, doubts, insecurities, and fears. Reconsider all the dead things that do not serve us yet still carry so much baggage and weight. We must know when it’s time to turn the page, even when it comes to our successes/achievements so we won’t get stuck by developing a false sense of security. Now that we have hit the one-year mark into this pandemic, he encourages us to not lose heart or momentum. There is still time to reconsider, reinvent, and rehearse until we finally find that perfect pitch, tone, and key to create our own life’s melody.