For many years, I wrote songs for the sole purpose of recording and singing them myself. When I would go out and do concerts, I would occasionally sing a song someone else wrote, but mostly I wanted to sing songs that were born out of personal experience. It simply felt more honest and it seemed that audiences connected more with the songs I had written and lived myself.
When I began writing songs to pitch to other artists for their records, I had to shift my thinking a little. I wasn't simply writing out of my experiences anymore, but instead, I needed to put myself in someone else's shoes, helping them communicate what they want to say, in a way that feels genuine to them when they sing it night after night, trying to connect with their audience.
A few years ago, I wrote a song with my friend Lee, as a possible pitch to an artist who had cut a song of mine on her previous record. We had been given an opportunity to hear what she wanted to say on her next record, so when we met to write, we began crafting a lyric we thought would resonate with her. I might not have lived every line of what we wrote, but I sure believed it. When we finished, we loved the song and hoped it would make the very short list of songs that ended up on the album. It didn't take long for our hopes to be dashed as the song was quickly rejected by the powers that be. I'd like to tell you that because rejection is an almost daily part of a songwriter's life, we took the news well. We didn't. I don't care how much it happens, having your song rejected stings, every single time.
I've learned to trust God with when and where a song finds its home, believing He knows better than I do what journey a song is supposed to take. In this case, the song was eventually recorded by a group, but I also I ended up recording the song myself for a project I did a few years ago. Even though it wasn't originally written from a personal place, the song had become more personal to me over the years and I loved singing it live.
Full transparency, I don't like how personal this song has become. I've lived more of this lyric than I've cared to and people I love dearly are living its words even now. But even though it's a little painful for me to think of how personal this song has become, I still believe in its message. Probably more now than ever. It feels like what I wrote back then was intended for me to hear now and to pass along to people I know who are afraid, hurting, weary, and doing everything they can to just get through another day.
If you are weary, do not lose heart.
If you are brokenhearted, let me remind you there is hope.
If you are trying to hold it all together, you don't have to.
He will lift you up. He will be enough. He will carry you.