I don’t know that I’ve felt a pressure quite like what I experienced during my first few co-writes (songwriting with others.) Sitting in a room with more experienced writers, feeling like I’m being sized up. Feeling insecure about bringing ideas of value to the room and the song. Feeling obligated to express my opinion about every facet of the song: the chords, the production, the theology, the melody, the structure, the content. And that’s not to mention the silence! The deafening moments where people appear to be in deep thought, and I’m hoping it’s not about me. I bet I’m not the only one who’s experienced these things.
Everything about how I approached these moments in the writing room changed when I heard a beautiful story about a songwriter who had what some call a “near death experience.” The writer said he went through the gates of heaven and began to worship then realized that they were singing a song he’d written. He said to an angel, “You’re singing my song!” (Can you even imagine?!) That’s when the angel responded, “No, we let you hear one of our songs!” He was then sent back, and he lived to tell the story.
Wow. All that pressure I had carried thinking that creativity was dependent upon me seemed to vanish. I realized for the first time that I could lean in and listen to the Creator himself. No one has better ideas than Him! In fact, I believe if we listen to Him in the early morning hours, it’s no different when we sit down to write or co-write with others. It’s amazing how He will tell us what He wants us to say and how He wants us to say it when we give Him the room… the way He moves when the focus is not on us (what we are contributing, what others are thinking of us, etc.) but on HIM!
We can’t depend on ourselves to be that creative, consistent, imaginative, inventive, fresh, deep, prophetic, or profound. But we can completely depend on Him to be those things. We just need to listen.
Proverbs 3:5-6 The Voice Translation
Place your trust in the Eternal; rely on Him completely; never depend upon your own ideas and inventions. Give Him the credit for everything you accomplish, and He will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead.
Lord, teach me to listen. I want to know your heart. Not just for my songs, but for life. Help me remember that the best way to create is to co-create with you.
— Krissy Nordhoff
Krissy Nordhoff is a professional songwriter, co-founder of the Brave songwriting community, author, and creator of The Writing Worship Course. A Michigan native, Krissy grew up in a Christian home, learning a love for church music from her pianist grandmother. That love carried through the years as she attended Anderson University, studying songwriting with the legendary Gloria Gaither and later as Krissy taught piano and performed as an indie artist.