Rise pt 3 – Who Are We, Really?
After that interesting concert experience on Saturday evening, Jeneil and I decided that we were gonna go to Clearwater Beach on Sunday morning. My wife was really optimistic during the weekend. That was weird because I’m generally the more optimistic one in our relationship! But on that Sunday morning, I was ready to move on. We took this picture on the beach. Yes, I posted it. Yes, I was smiling. Yes, “future too bright” was a faith confession! Jeneil was smiling because she likes beaches.
We left the beach, returned our rental car, boarded the plane, and we began to have some uncomfortable conversation about what we learned from the conference. We both felt like God was (and is) elevating my personal platform in the area of music. However, we didn’t feel like He was doing that with our independent record label, Freedom Music Group. In fact, trying to be an excellent artist and a great CEO of a record label sounded draining after we heard all of the work that it would take to make that happen. I came to the realization that I couldn’t do both, and that I needed to follow the path that the Lord was already blessing. As we talked, we decided that we were no longer going to pursue establishing a record label. When I confirmed this, Jeneil actually cried tears of joy. Like…REAL tears! I couldn’t believe it. I asked her, “Why are you crying?” She looked at me and said, “Because I didn’t want to do a record label either.” Naturally, I asked her why she hadn’t said anything before. She told me that she decided that she was going to support me in whatever I felt like God called me to do. Then more crying happened. She was relieved…and so was I? As soon as I said “we’re not going to do a record label”, I felt like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. It was a great concept, but it was never really us. Why had I held on to it for so long?
I held on to it because I felt like a record label was the only way that I could provide a platform for artists that I believed in. I want to see other artists succeed. A record label would allow me to help empower artists and give them a platform while creating another stream of income for myself and my team. I think that I just got locked in to the idea that a record label was the only way to offer a platform to artists while monetizing my efforts. There was another reason too. I feel the most comfortable when I’m helping others. I feel the least comfortable when I’m helping myself. This may sound good and spiritual on the surface, but it actually does a lot of damage. The reality is that my family has struggled as I’ve tried to be a help to others. We hardly ever do family vacations because time and resources are generally spent trying to help someone else. Our summers are spent doing 5k runs, multiple camps, backpack giveaways, and lots of concerts. Holiday time was spent prepping to serve families in the neighborhood through our Christmas Breakfast at the church. And of course, there are concerts. Even with the concerts, sometimes I tend to sell myself short in the name of helping other people. Serving was at an all time high and family bonding time was at an all time low. And it all seemed spiritually justifiable until recently.
I don’t know what is going to happen with Freedom Music Group. I do know that is currently a company through which I manage my personal music. I know that I’ve connected with some talented people who believe in me and have said “yes” to helping me build FMG. I know that I still want to help provide a platform for artists. And I know that things are going to have to grow organically in order for me to invest more time and energy into it. I’ll know when that effort will start to demand more attention. Right now, I’m going to invest into me. And I believe that investing in me will prove to be an investment into others in the long run.
That decision (the decision to invest into myself) already feels weird. It even feels scary. At least when you’re trying to invest into others, every failure seems like a noble one. And when you die people can say, “He was a man who selflessly served others.” I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but helping others from a place of wholeness is a new concept for me. It’s not new in theory, but it is in practicality. Please pray for my family and me. There’s actually more on the cutting floor. Focus is a major key for us right now. At the end of the day, we just want to please God in all that we do. Thanks for reading – and enduring my shameless plug because I’m investing in me now. LOL!