It happened years ago but I remember the night like it was yesterday. I was at a church retreat called the Encounter. While I was in small group, I cried and told the small group leader and rest of the men that I was scared of success.
The Encounter happened to be scheduled shortly after a few artists, who I considered to be role models, had fallen into adultery. They were so outspoken about their faith and then they fell...hard and in public. (They've since been restored but their influence hasn't really been the same.) Some other notable pastors were also found out to have been secretly practicing sinful lifestyles as well. Most of the issues had to do with sex - immoral heterosexual relationships as well as homosexual relationships. It was a crazy time.
When all of this stuff happened with the pastors and church leaders, I really got discouraged. I was thinking, "If these people can't live right and they seem further along in their faith than I am, then there may not be any hope for me." And then there was my ungodly drive for perfection. I didn't know until later in the Encounter that I was using music as a source for finding my significance. My drive for excellence was really so that I could feel good about myself. It was less about God's glory.
God really dealt with me about my perfectionism during the Encounter. It's the reason why "The Freedom Project" is just a 7-track EP instead of a full length CD. I felt like God challenged me to stop the project and stop doing music for a while. I was trying to get the full length CD so perfect that it was gonna take forever and a day to get it done. And again, there was a part of me that found my identity in music and not in Christ. It was hard for me but I released the project as is. I later released the other songs (except 2) which were supposed to be on "The Freedom Project". They weren't fully mixed but I put them out anyway. That project was called "Johnny's iPod". I also added 2 more original songs to "Johnny's iPod" - Social Suicide and Trippin. I haven't written another full length song since. In the past four years, I've only written those two original songs.
I've been doing a lot of stuff at the church since my nonofficial departure from music. I was still doing concerts and features but I didn't put new music out. God has been growing me and my little family up in some areas. I've recently felt the tug to go back to music. I still feel the fear of succeeding. And lately, I've noticed how that has affected by business practices. I've never really asked different places and promoters to go rap. People have just called. I thought that was cool...almost a badge of honor. I now know that this was happening because God was being gracious to me while I was dealing with fear. Even though I'm afraid, the passion is outweighing the fear. The "I can't" is getting softer and the "I can" is getting louder. I'm making the decision to trust God in all things. Please pray for me and my little family as God continues to challenge us to overcome fear.