You have a choice.
You can listen to the voice in your head that says…
“You’ll never make it.
Your dreams are too unrealistic.
The mountain is too steep.
Goliath is too big.
Accept the life you’re living and stop trying so hard.”
Or you can listen to the voice in your heart that says…
“Pick up the pen.
Pick up the guitar.
Sit at the piano.
Give it everything you have – even if you fail, you’ll know you did your best.
Enjoy your gift.”
Which voice will you listen to today?
Do you struggle with a voice in your head competing with a voice in your heart? I do, sometimes. Or maybe the voice isn’t coming from your head but from your family and friends. “Get a real job. Make some money.” What do the voices tell you, and do you respond differently than you used to?
Let me tell you about back when I was in graduate school at Arkansas State University. I had been bitten by the songwriting bug a few years before, and I dreamed of moving to Nashville to be a pro songwriter. But I knew the odds were long. And I was also single and lonely. (A bug that had bitten me way before songwriting did.) So I started praying about it and listening for God the best that I knew how. And I stuck with it- asking and listening. Asking and listening. And listening.
Then one day, a nice Christian woman and fellow grad student came into work with a big smile on her face. She said, “Brent, I’m so excited to see you! God gave me a word for you while I was praying this morning!” (I had not been telling her about the asking/listening journey I’d been on- or its subject matter.) She said, “The Lord told me…
He has the perfect woman for you.
Music is in your future.
The songs will come.
The music will come.
Wait on Him.
He is listening.
He will provide for your finances- don’t look to the world.
Keep looking to Him.”
Needless to say, I was stunned! And completely humbled. Like I said, I hadn’t told Glenda that I’d been asking about those things, but the word addressed my questions. It lined up with scripture (look to God, wait on Him, He will provide), and I knew Glenda to be a sincere prayer warrior. So it felt trustworthy.
That was in 1998. I didn’t move to Nashville until 2002. My first cut wasn’t until 2004, and I didn’t meet Emily (my wife) until 2005.
No wonder He said to WAIT on Him! But I believed that word from from God. I typed it out, kept it where I could see it, and held on to it when both Nashville and my future wife felt so far away. It wasn’t easy sometimes. It’s still not easy sometimes.
The Lord never promised that I’d make a living as a pro songwriter for the rest of my life. He never promised a huge house and an easy ride. No, He just said He’d provide. And He has. Every part of that word has been kept. And I’m thankful.
Sadly, God usually has to make me pretty uncomfortable before I really dig in and start listening for a word from Him. (I tend to charge ahead in my own power with my own plans.)
But now I’m in another time of asking and listening. I know if I ask and listening long enough, sincerely enough, that He’ll speak. If I sincerely want to be in His will, not just looking for permission to do what I want to do, He’ll let me know what the next step is. Even if it’s just to wait on Him.
I didn’t plan on getting all preacher on you this morning, but there you go. Part of Man vs. Row is to give you the inside view of a songwriter’s life and journey. This is a huge part of mine, and I want to be honest with you about it.
What about you? Are you asking and listening, too? Or are you on the waiting part? Has there been a word fulfilled? I’d love to hear from you- and maybe we can even pray for each other…
God Bless and Enjoy the Journey,
Brent Baxter is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ruthie Collins, Ray Stevens, and more. He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.