Over the past few months since I started blogging again, I think I’ve been pretty open and transparent about my story and this season in particular. From sharing my story publicly for the for the first time, talking very frankly about coming face to face with my pride and entitlement while embracing this next chapter of life, to discussing the condition of my heart that led me to this point… I’ve pretty much put it out there. Each post has been increasingly difficult to write, largely because I’m still walking it out. My story has not yet resolved and I still grapple with what that looks like every single day.
I’ll be writing more about this concept very soon, but it all comes down to this… my heart needed a detox. I had become intoxicated with career, high on image, and sick with success. As I’ve shared before, once I became aware of the condition of my heart, I very quickly wanted absolutely nothing to do with my career in the music industry. I wanted out as quick as possible, and out I got.
I do want to be clear about one thing: while every industry struggles with its own varying degrees of dysfunction, the place I ended up had very little to do with the industry I worked in and everything to do with what I looked to it for. The industry didn’t wear my heart out. I wore my own heart out by leaning into my career and work in the industry, looking for it to define and give me worth and identity… something it is ultimately ill-equipped to do.
For most of the past 6 months, the very thought of going back into the music business has almost given me anxiety. I was afraid of it. I wasn’t afraid of the “big, bad industry”, but rather of the “big, bad me” who I became in trying to find who I was in the context of the industry. I was afraid of becoming “that guy” again.
After recently sharing this with some close friends, I was challenged to understand that my reluctance to even consider reentering the industry was entirely a fear-based decision. I realized that if I choose to live out of a fear-based approach to life, that is actually unbelief in the work God is doing in my heart. My fear to move forward in my career was based on leaning on my own ability to not become “that guy” again, rather than leaning on God’s strength and power to mold and shape my heart daily. My decision and reluctance may appear noble, but it is nothing but reliance on self instead of the work of the cross in my life. That was a pretty sobering realization.
In his book, Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller uses the context of human love to paint a striking picture of the way idolatry deceives our hearts:
If you are so afraid of love that you cannot have it, you are just as enslaved as those who must have it. If you are too afraid of love or too enamored with it, it has assumed God-like power, distorting your perceptions in your life.
That’s real talk. While Keller may have been talking about human love, the same principle was certainly at work in my life as I went from being too enamored to being afraid in a matter of days. Thinking that walking away was enough, I failed to see that living in fear of something is just as controlling and idolatrous as living in adulation of it.
I suppose the best way to sum up where I am right now is to say that after months of wondering what was next for me, running from the “monster”, trying to get jobs in anything BUT the music world, my heart has finally turned a pretty significant page.
I’m not afraid anymore.
So now you may be asking, what does that mean, exactly?
It means I have finally found a place of peace with regard to what my heart thought it had to have and what it then was terrified to have.
It means whether I ever have it again or not, I’m not afraid of having it.
It means I know what defines me and what doesn’t.
It means if I do ever have it again, I’m not afraid of IT having ME.
It means I am moving forward.
Does that mean I’m taking a job back in the music world? I don’t know. At this moment there aren’t any jobs on the table to talk about. However, what it does mean is that whether I ever take another music job or not, I’m no longer afraid of what that might mean if it did happen.
If I believe 1 John 4:8…
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
… and if I believe Hebrews 12:6…
“The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
… then I have to believe that God allowed the bottom to fall out of my world because He loves me and wants to realign and awaken my heart to who He is.
God will allow suffering, pain and crisis in order to detach hope from other things and attach it to himself.
That is 100% what has been happening in my life. Does that mean the struggle is over? Absolutely not. But it does mean I am more equipped to navigate the murky waters of my heart every single day that I wake up.
I’ve loved this song for a long time, but it has recently taken on even greater meaning in my life…Israel Houghton - Moving Forward
You make all things new, and I will follow You forward…
Is there something in your life you need to move forward past?