I go through spurts of songwriting, strong stretches of time where words and music flow endlessly. When it comes, it’s a wave I have to ride to the end. It’s a season I have to see all the way through. Little bites of songs, whole chunks of lyrics and melodies, full-on finished material…it comes in all shapes and sizes. I love it when it’s there. I rarely long for it when it’s not. I just enjoy try to enjoy the experience and see where it takes me. There’s generally two distinct directions my music goes in these sessions:
1 / Straight-up folky/americana/singer-songwriter kinda-music. The kind of stuff I’d like to listen to. The kind of stuff I’d like to record with a group of friends one day and put on an album…just for me.
2 / Authentic, Sincere, Real worship songs. Again, these are not usually the kind of songs that we’d all sing with our voices raised at church. A lot of the worship songs I love don’t fit that bill. But these are real songs that came out of real experiences with God’s Word, with God’s Love, and with God’s Story. My goal in writing these is never to write a song for other people to sing out. It’d be great if that ever happened. But my goal is to always capitalize on writing something real in my relationship with God. These songs are personal and spiritual. Sometimes, those two qualities line up to create something perfectly communal. Sometimes they don’t.
That being said, I recently found myself right in the thick of a songwriting squall. Here’s two of the latter types of songs that I’ve finished. The recordings themselves are very sparse and raw (just like yesterday…you may have turn your audio up), but I believe all of that only adds to their sincerity.
Song 1 / Take Me
I wrote this one recently after a bout of frustration with myself and my lack of deep desire for God’s Word. I’ve been reading through the Bible in a year, and have still yet to find a groove where I thirst for His Word daily and desperately. While in the middle of Isaiah, I found myself hit hard by these words from chapter 30:
15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
Right then and there I just began to totally unveil myself and strip bare all my rawness to God. To repent and rest. To find power in quietness and trust. It really wasn’t a profound emotional experience. It was just an understanding that I needed to be completely honest with Him and myself at all times. I began writing this song, asking God to take all of me. Not just the good and the “godly” in me, but the bad and the broken as well. No more hiding. No more faking. Just me. All of me.
Song 2 / Don’t Close Your Eyes
I’ve been with the pieces of this song for nearly a year now. It began at one of our church’s fall retreat camps last October. I just had a line or two and a guitar part then and didn’t really know where to take it. But the song eventually found it’s weight.
I wrote it to Peter, the boldest and braves of the disciples. This was a man unafraid to stand up to anything. But Peter found himself somewhere in the story stripped of courage and hope. He’d denied Christ three times and I believe he couldn’t imagine a scenario in which he’d ever get a shot at redemption. The beginning to the song, “Don’t close your eyes, you’re gonna wanna see this thru”, came immediately. I knew there was more to Peter’s story and I didn’t want him to miss it because he was so caught up in himself, in his own sin. Just because we find ourselves in the dark place doesn’t mean we have to stay there. That’s what this song is about.
Of course I hope you enjoy the music. But even more, I hope it pushes you to create your own. Not necessarily to write songs. But to authentically communicate your heart to God in a way that is honest and heart-filled and hopeful.