I spent hours in the studio. Singing. Rapping. Writing. Beat boxing. You name it, I did it. And I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t charge a dime for my services. I was happy to have free time in the booth and I just wanted to be on somebody’s track and bump myself while I cruised down “The Shaw” in my silver Civic. The homies would hear my recordings and shake their heads at my ridiculousness. But in my mind, I just knew that one day someone would hear my compilations and sign me to a label. Maybe I would be a hardcore gangsta rapper or an R&B diva. Or maybe I wouldn’t have to commit to just one style since I could transition so seamlessly between the two. Perhaps someone would hear me talking on a joint and ask me to do professional voice-over work. I didn’t know what it would be, but no doubt, I would be recognized for my musical genius.
Singing jingles for non-profit organizations turned into me singing and rapping about promiscuous behaviors and imaginary murders I committed. I even had an online radio segment where I gave “ghetto advice” to troubled imaginary callers. Bless my heart.
It was all in fun, I reasoned. Besides, I disguised my voice. No one would ever know it was me who moaned or cussed on track two. Church folk would never hear my music anyway. If they did, they would need to repent just as much as I did.
Looking back, I wonder what my parents thought. I would be gone to the studio for hours only to return home late with nothing to show them. I couldn’t let them hear the stuff I recorded because they would surely go into cardiac arrest on the spot.
On Sunday morning, I was right back in the choir stand singing about how God was all over me and keeping me alive.
It’s a shame. I was a Sunday morning Christian. We’ve all heard about them. They do what they want during the week and then on Sunday they’re in the pulpit, in the choir stand, dressed to the nines in the pews, greeting churchgoers—acting like saints. Sometimes they even make other believers feel inadequate by the judgmental words that come out of their mouths. They look the part, but underneath it all, they are sin-sick—in need of the Master’s healing touch. They talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. They pray that no one sees them while they are out doing their thing. They haven’t fully given their lives over to the Lord, although they will one day soon, should God be gracious enough to bless them with a little more time.
As Christians, we’ve got to stop claiming to love the Lord while flirting with sin. Our private lives and public lives should mirror one another. People should be able to look at us and see that we are unashamedly different—set apart. We shouldn’t look like the world. We have to be unwilling to compromise and trust that God will provide a platform for us to use our gifts and talents to glorify Him.
I hear countless people say that their careers and their faith are completely separate. If you can’t take God with you to your work environment, something’s wrong. God should be in everything you do. We have to understand that God is omnipresent. There’s no getting away from Him. He’s always there and He sees everything we do—the good and the bad. Our heart’s desire should be to make Him smile—whether we’re in public or in the privacy of our homes.
Flash forward ten years. No one ever signed me to a record label. No one ever asked me to do voice-over work. I don’t have a single recording of myself that I can bear to listen to. And I don’t have a single track that I can play for my children. I put a great deal of time and energy into the studio and I don’t have anything to physically show for it.
I’m okay with that.
My focus has turned to something with a lasting effect—kingdom building. I’m still creative and I write constantly. I’m still “up in the booth,” only instead of equalizers, headphones, and microphones, I use my fingers and a keyboard to capture the melody of my thoughts. And I write with purpose—hoping to encourage others to sincerely live for Christ—not just some of the time, but ALL the time.
I’ve learned that only what I do for Christ will last. Everything else loses significance and passes away. God blessed me with the gift of writing, and what I write is my gift back to Him.