It's kind of paradoxical but often times the most beautiful things we creative-types make are during seasons or disappointment, distress, or heartbreak. When I made my debut release album, an extended play called Song of Psalms, I was in a trying season. It was my second year of Bible school at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, CA and God was stretching me and, let me assure you, there was nothing romantic about it. In the back of my mind I could recall the words of the Apostle Paul about sharing in the sufferings of Christ that one might also share in his glory. Late at night, after my roommates had gone to bed, I would sit on the couch and fervently pray, desperate to encounter God and find some peace. I've since learned to find my peace first, then pray. Makes a huge difference.
I had no car, almost no money, no job prospects, the ones I applied for weren't hiring or never called me back and I was living in a poor neighborhood. The year was not going how I had hoped or envisioned. God was purifying me of some offensive, cynical attitudes during that time and there were other painful situations in my life that for the sake of time I won't go into, but suffice it to say, it was the pits.
What I did have was my creativity, my dreams, and prophetic words from God that I banked on regarding my endeavors. I figured that because I had those promises, the grace to accomplish them was also there and the fact that my circumstances were less than ideal was no excuse.
So I began the process of doing something I'd never done before, independently writing and producing my very first album. During that time I told several people I had absolutely no idea what I was I doing but I refused let my ignorance keep me from the dream. I came up with an idea for an EP, God gave me the name of the album one day as I was praying about it, I made an outline, set a list of goals on a timeline, and held myself accountable to it, and I followed through. It was a very rough process and there were times when I wanted to throw the towel in and just stop fighting through it, but because I knew I was called to it and dream would not die, I made a promise with myself and to God that I would finish what I started no matter how many snafus I ran into—and there were plenty of those, including a few 'I'm going to tear-my-hair-out' moments.
I have heard it said that passion gives pain a purpose. It's true. I certainly don't like pain (who does?) and I don't cry cute. But I realized that if I never pushed past the hassles and obstacles that stood in my way, the dreams that had been stirring in my heart for years were going to die a slow agonizing death and I had too much fire in my gut to accept that. As I persisted the pain also became more manageable. In fact, I am working on a second album now and the process is now much easier even as certain painful circumstances have remained. What took hours to push through now takes only thirty minutes.
So to the musicians and creative-types out there, when the pain shows up it is not meant to paralyze you but is itself an invitation for you to persevere and produce something beautiful.