You’re a songwriter. You’re passionate about writing songs. Maybe you’re pretty good. Maybe you’re even excellent. And maybe you feel called to do music- called by God or by “the universe.” But you have a day job. You haven’t been able to transition to doing music full-time.
Are you a failure?
We’ll get back to that in a second. First, let me tell you about a guy named Paul.
Maybe you’ve heard of the Apostle Paul. Paul was passionate. He was also very, very successful- widely considered the greatest Christian missionary in history. He was literally called by God to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. If there’s one guy who should’ve been able (and deserved) to follow his passion full-time, it’s Paul.
But Paul was also a tent-maker.
He made tents to help make ends meet. At times, he’d work his day job during the week and chase his dream around it. Sound familiar?
Was Paul a failure because he didn’t pursue his passion full-time?
Of course not! He was relentless in following his calling. He went about it with passion and intelligence. He never quit. Even as he lived out his last days in a prison, he was writing letters to churches- letters which would become much of the New Testament. And you can bet his jailers were getting an earful of the gospel!
He was faithful to his calling, and that made him successful. The results, he understood, weren’t in his control. God didn’t “deliver” Paul from his day job (I sometimes wonder if that was the “thorn in the flesh” Paul talked about. But that’s probably just my personal issues showing.).
God used Paul’s day job to fund some of his missions work. There was a reason it was best for Paul to step back at times and make tents. (Read my blog post: “Day Job: A Songwriter’s Prison or Patron?“) What was God doing in his heart and mind during those hours that made him even more effective when he was preaching?
So if Paul, the greatest missionary in history, was not a failure in spite of his day job, you probably shouldn’t see yourself as a failed songwriter based on your day job status. Maybe being a full-time songwriter isn’t the plan for you. Or maybe this season is to prepare you for full-time writing later. It’s sure not for me to say.
The question isn’t, “Am I able to write full-time?” The question should be, “Am I being faithful to my calling?”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please leave a comment!
Want some personalized help and guidance for your songwriting journey? I’ve just opened up some spots for 1-to-1 coaching. I’m happy to be your “personal pro”- to give feedback on your songs, answer any questions I can, help you develop your song ideas, and discuss goals and “next steps.” I also have some coach-writing spots open. This is when you and I actually write a song together! If you’re interested, CLICK HERE.
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.