I believe we were all born with a talent, gift, or character trait that God gave us to share with the world. He made everyone a unique individual with a purpose. You would not be here if you did not have a purpose. Sometimes we can get selfish and caught up in what we want to do with our gifts and forget about why God gave us our gifts in the first place. I've learned this the hard way. I started singing before I could talk. I know this from stories my mother has told me of my childhood. She says I used to stand on the table and "entertain" our guests! I would sing at the top of my lungs, while dancing in my diaper! I don't think I even knew what it was that I was singing, but I definitely liked the attention! My parents always knew that I had a gift and a passion. I was blessed to have parents that allowed me to pursue my dreams and encouraged me to use my gifts to glorify the Lord. I taught myself how to play guitar when I was 10. I also taught myself piano and learned to play cello at a young age. I started writing songs when I was 13, and my parents helped me put a band together with two of my sisters when I was 14. After we started to perform publicly, we started getting phone calls from numerous venues asking to book our band! We got very busy, very popular, very fast- playing every night and traveling all over performing at least 100 dates per year. I met a lot of people and saw a lot from a very young age. It wasn't hard for me to resist temptation because I was under the authority and supervision of my parents and my older sisters, and we definitely kept each other grounded.
When I turned 18, I was bound and determined to move to Nashville to pursue music! I had a goal in mind. I always wanted to help people and my love and passion for music was enough to get me to a place that would make it possible for me to do so. So far, I've accomplished many things in life for my age. I've sang at some of the most popular legendary venues, met and performed with some of my biggest influences, been on national television in front of over five million viewers and starred in a film with very accomplished and respected co-stars in the film industry. I hadn't worked an actual day job in years and was doing what I had dreamed about my entire life. Sooner or later, I found that the more I accomplished, the emptier I started to feel. It is not easy constantly being around crowds that influence and tempt you- eventually it starts to wear on you. . .
I remember as a kid being told on a number of different occasions, "Just say no". I never really thought I would ever get an opportunity to use that advice. I've been offered marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, cigarettes, and so much more. It is such a common thing, and no one even gives it a second thought. You become jaded very fast. It is especially hard in the music business, when you're around people you think have complete control of what your career outcome will be. You want their approval so bad. You want them to like you, and you feel privileged to be in their presence. There are a lot of money hungry, judgmental, negative people who will tell you everything you want to hear and everything you need to do and be in order to get where you want to go. I always find it hilarious how people can be so quick to give you advice because it's so much easier said then done. Yet, you're so hungry for any advice you can get from anyone who is remotely successful, you eat it right up and hang on every word. In reality, these people live a lonely, empty, emotionless, and sinful life. You start to think, "all these people are so comfortable with the way they are living and feel no guilt or pain about anything. If that's the case, then everything they are doing wrong must not be so wrong, because everyone does it and it hasn't prevented them from becoming successful." Well I can tell you right now, being successful isn't what's going to make you happy or feel fulfilled in life. God gave us a place in our hearts just for HIM and if you are not allowing Him to fulfill that void in your heart, you are going to feel empty and unsatisfied. You're going to try and fulfill your emptiness with everything the world has to offer- fame, riches, drugs, alcohol, and sex. Until we figure out that the only thing that's going to satisfy that void is Jesus, we will always feel empty. No earthly thing can ever fill that void. The Bible says: "The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you". John 14:17. If I let myself continue to be influenced by what people say, I will sooner or later end up just like them - lonely, empty, and lifeless.
I came to a point where I started giving up on the fact that there is anyone out there besides my family that still believe the same way I did- someone who believes there is a bigger, better purpose for our lives... Since then, God placed people in my life, who made me realize that there are others out there who believe in Jesus and are filled with the Holy Spirit. In fact, alot of people. Just by being in their presence, you can see this. You can see they are happy! They might not have much, but they have everything that matters. For a time, I was only surrounded by people who were not encouraging me in the right direction because they did not know the right direction. They knew fame, money, sex, drugs and alcohol.
If God gave us an amazing gift and we're not using it in the way He intended, what's the point of the gift in the first place? After all is said and done, I do not regret anything that's happened- things I've seen and places I've been in my life because I believe God allowed me to experience these things. He knew He could use me as His personal messenger. It took me giving up everything I had to realize this. Within a matter of days, I walked away from a deal that I had always wanted, a roof over my head, my only income stream, which looked as if it might have been the success I had always dreamed of. It wasn't God's best for me and I knew I wasn't ready. I felt like I was losing everything by walking away, but I knew God would take care of me. I knew if I could find myself again, I could figure out God's plan and purpose. All I knew to do, was to pray and have faith. I said: "Now what do I do, Lord? I can't carry the burden of being alone anymore. You gave me my voice, now Iam giving it back to you. Just show me what it is that you want me to do." He showed me that all I have to do is be who I am, who he created me to be. I opened my Bible to the book of John, where Jesus was talking to Philip, and He said this: "The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does the works." John 14:10. We are all put here with a gift and a purpose. Be who you are, who God made you to be- His servant and His child. He will always take care of you. With God on your side, you will be unstoppable and accomplish many great things, if only you let Him do his work through you. Don't be influenced by people who believe they have the ability to validate who they think you should be. God already has, by creating you with a very special purpose and plan for your life.