(If you haven't read the first and second parts of my dream, you probably won't know what I'm talking about in this post. For part 1 , CLICK HERE. For part 2, CLICK HERE.)
As you can imagine, I've been seriously battling some doubt and fear. I try not to let it show. I try to be the strong man that I need to be for my family. But inside I'm like, "God, am I crazy?" It's difficult.
If you know anything about me, you know that I've been blessed with an awesome wife, a beautiful 3-year-old girl and another baby girl due to arrive on March 8th. Knowing the responsibility that I have to them, I have often questioned why God would have us go this route. When I was younger, I felt that i could afford to be reckless. I could afford to pull all-nighters in the studio and sleep over if I needed to. I could take huge risks. And if I failed, it would be all on me. My decisions mainly affected me. But as responsibility increases, so does the impact of my decisions. It's just a part of life. When it comes to me, I'm fine with taking those risks. When it comes to my family, however, I try not to be as reckless.
When I finally felt like God wanted our family to take this leap of faith, the doubts started coming in. These are some of the questions that started coming to my mind:
"Are you really gonna base your family's welfare on some dream you had?"
"What if you are wrong about the interpretation of the dream?"
"Why are you still trying to do music anyway? Shouldn't you be done with that part of your life by now?"
"What will everyone else say when they find out what your decisions are and why you are making them?"
"How is your wife going to feel when people ask her what's going on and she has to explain your reasoning?"
"What will your wife's family think? Will they think that you'e not doing all that you can to take care of her?"
"You have a baby on the way. How will moving in with someone else be healthy for your family dynamic?"
"Am I crazy?"
I think the reason why I doubt the most is because I'm actually contemplating the thought of making sacrifices to do something that I love. I love doing music. But how many other people love doing music? I don't wanna be that person who puts everything on the line to pursue something and then it doesn't work out...and because I was so confident that this passion was were I was supposed to go, I didn't plan a "successful" back-up plan. Like, "If the music ministry hobby doesn't work out, I can still become a preacher or a lawyer." I'll never forget when I decided to go to Texas Bible Institute. There was a well-meaning black lady here at our church who told someone else, "I don't know why he (Jarrell) is going there and spending his time rapping. He is so smart. He could have gotten his degree..." In the back of my head, I think I still here that voice. Because you know the stereotype. People always say that "every black male wants to be a professional ball player or a rapper". And the real serious black-role-model-advocates always say stuff like, "We need more black role models that are business owners, doctors, lawyers, etc. We need models of everyday successful black people who contribute to society. Everybody can't be basketball player or a rapper." And the thing is...I totally agree with that statement. So when I feel like I'm supposed to pursue music, sometimes I feel like maybe it's me and not God. I ask myself, "Is this an idol that I am not willing to let go?" This brings me to the last part of this blog.
In my earlier posts of this blog, I did a 4-part blog called "Encounter with God". (It's amazing to see my journey of growth from the time I started this blog until now. Crazy!) Anyway, after that Encounter, God challenged me to stop doing music. Some of my artist friends may remember that. It was very hard but I did. I wasn't listening to rap. I wasn't writing rap songs. I was just worshipping the Lord. Just me and my keyboard. I was waiting to see what God would have me do next. Then He allowed me to release The Freedom Project. This may come as some surprise to you all but with the exception of 2 songs from Johnny's iPod (#SocialSuicide and Trippin') and 3 features, I haven't written anything since The Freedom Project - which was like two years ago. (And the only reason I wrote the 2 extra songs for Johnny's iPod was to try to communicate certain things to our youth group.) The other songs from the mixtape were already recorded but didn't make it to The Freedom Project. After my Encounter, I thought that I may never rap again. Now I know why God had me go through that season. It was to show Him my obedience AND to prove even to myself that music wasn't my idol. If God told me to put it down, then I would be willing to put it down. So now I know for sure that I'm not chasing some empty dream. From the bottom of my heart, I can honestly say that doing music isn't just about doing music. God is really at work in my life, in my family, in my church and in my community. Now I finally see music as a tool to communicate His heart and all that He is doing in and through me.
Even with all of the prophecies, dreams and this incredible journey that God has placed me on...doubt still creeps in. It just reminds me how faithless I can be at times. I don't look forward to those heart-wrenching conversations with my wife about why this is the correct way to go when everyone else is looking at us weird. My wife is trusting in me. Nyomi is care free! The funny thing is that I've never considered my self to be a person of great faith. But with this situation, I have a sense deep down inside that I'm not making this up. God really does have a big plan for my family and me. So please keep praying that God would give us wisdom and revelation. Pray that He would help us to clearly see His reality.