Recently, a sweet independent artist arrived at my house for a co-write. This young, talented girl, had just come from work. As we began to talk about this phase of her life, she burst into tears. I’ve been there!
For so many writers, musicians, and artists, it takes a while to get up and running. While there is an undeniable call on your life for music, there are also undeniable phone calls from bill collectors. Most of us need to take a 9-5 job in order to pay for the bills, and give us the financial ability to do what we love to d music.
The toughest job I had ever had was working in a factory, third shift. There were more broken and hurting people there than any church I’ve ever set foot in. After moving to Nashville, I did an unpaid internship at a record company. I worked evenings at a cable company just to pay rent. My first official job was selling instrumental music. No matter how hard I tried not to, I would often find myself kneeling on my chair or humming a line for a new song I was writing. Every week during our sales review,my boss threatened to fire me. While technically I had a degree in music business, I still had a hard time connecting with the left side of my brain. Somehow, I always made time to do what I loved, although it took me several years to get paid enough to make a living at it.
How is it, then that the very God that would plant those creative dreams in our hearts could will for us to work in a situation that seems so contradictory to our true desire? I’ve heard many pray that the Lord would take away their desire, as it can just be painful when not yet fulfilled. I’ve even prayed that. But, He never took it away for a reason.
I truly believe that God uses everything for our good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Surely He uses these things to build character in us. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” I also believe that working as unto the Lord and being faithful in the small things only allows Him to trust us more (the story of the talents). Finally, maybe it’s not even because of us. Paul was a tent maker. He worked among the people so he could have a deep understanding of them, which gave him amazing insight as to how to minister to them.
However unfathomable it may seem, God will use these things in our lives and in our ministries. Above all else, we are working for HIM. It ultimately builds our trust in him.
My husband laughs today when we talk about my days of selling instrumental music. And I laugh too, but not just because I was a square peg in a round hole, but because a large chunk of our business today comes from our instrumental music sales!