“Lord, please send someone else!” These were the words of one of the most respected and famous leaders Israel ever had. Moses knew he was called. God was speaking directly to him. God told him exactly what to do. God promised to go with Him. God gave Moses no excuses. And yet Moses response was to ask God to choose someone else. Who does that?
As a kid, no other Christian musician inspired me more than Rich Mullins. Maybe it was because his music didn’t sound like all the other Christian music I listened to. Maybe it was because Rich wrote and sang from a depth I hadn’t heard in many others. Maybe it was because he was able to express Biblical truth in real-world thoughts, faith and emotions. Or maybe it was because he was from Indiana and was influenced by the Quaker faith which was the case with all my relatives. In any case, Rich was one in a million and one of the major reasons after high school I moved to Nashville, TN and went to Belmont University to pursue being a Christian song writer. I knew that was what God wanted me to do. A call from God? I know I longed for it to be one.
That said however, I ran away from that dream and calling. I was scared and was also struggled with my own “hurts, habits and hangups” during college. After moving back home to Minnesota and attending Bethel University, I met my future wife there.
As we got closer to marriage she told me she would never marry a traveling Christian Musician. Well, I used that as my final excuse to ignore that call and chose to be a worship leader. There was no way I could support a family traveling around doing music anyways was my thought. In some sense though, it felt like I was ignoring a call God had for me.
Over the years, I also figured God couldn’t use any music I wrote due to those “hurts, habits and hangups” that I hadn’t surrender to Him. It sounds funny but ministry seemed safer and more stable than pursuing a CCM career.
Well, finally God wore me down, a couple years ago, with help from the people I call church to finally surrender all those things keeping me from being completely His. For the first time in my life, I was completely free and in His presence completely clean. With all of that, I began to feel a passion I hadn’t felt for a long time. One of the first things I felt like I needed to do was to sing the songs of my heart and write my story in my songs.
So, I wanted to write a collection of songs in a way that expressed the gut wrenching emotion and story of God’s miraculous breaking and remaking of my heart. There was no other writing and musical style that had inspired me more than Rich Mullins’ in how I wanted to express my soul. He was one in a million and his songs, that “hit me so hard in the middle of the night” when I was a kid, inspired me now to write these songs.
The song of Rich’s that especially kept coming to mind was “Growing Young”: Rich’s retelling of the story of the prodigal son. That was me. I ran from God’s call and I didn’t even see it.
These days, I want to daily surrender to Jesus and try to follow Him as best I can without any “what if’s”. I truly believe God has called me to share my heart in song and I’ve come to see that my sin, those “hurts, habits and hang-ups”, do not disqualified. God comes and takes me back, wipes away my sin, my fear and my shame and invites me again, “follow me”.
And so my prayer is that these songs will move your heart and nudge you a little closer to saying, like I did a few years ago:
“God, I know I’m a slow learner but here I am. Don’t send someone else. Send me.”