As I began to set up my guitar at a café, the sound guy and I started a conversation. We talked about music genres, what audio gear we were into at that point, then it began to get personal. I slipped into my conversation that I was married and had a son. This shocked him. He told me I was brave for pursuing music even though I had settled down. Unfortunately, I’ve heard this before – many times. There is a strange notion among artists that once you are married, your life of freedom is over. Perhaps this notion stretches far beyond the artistic circle and into the general public. While I don’t subscribe to this mindset, I do understand the heart behind it. We can try to brainwash ourselves with as many underdog stories that tell you to follow your dreams, but when real life happens: bills, mortgages, taxes, wants and needs, our idealism crumbles and you do what you need to do to survive. And survive you must. Work the job you work and do it with excellence.
But here’s the part where I speak as an Evangelical. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I give glory to God as a musician and a songwriter. I know that He will provide for me, even if it means working a nine to five job on top of my music. There is certainly pressure when your life is eternally bound to someone else. Every choice you make must be made in tandem with your partner. This can sound very restricting to the artist who would be happy with a can of beans every night as long as his elbow rests on the edge of a guitar. But as an Evangelical, confinement and enslavement are defined by being estranged from the will and heart of God. Yes, God provides food and shelter. But don’t forget that He also provides a way for you to worship.
When my son Kai was born, I feared that that was the end of my music. But something unexpected happened. I wanted to become a man that he would look up to as he grew older. As I evaluated what that entailed, I realized that the example I wanted him to follow, was that of a man who served God, abandoning the tight grip of fear, fully trusting God to provide both for his family, and for his vocation as a musician. I am testament to that.
When I received my calling as an artist, I kicked back. I said it was impossible to do so with a wife (let alone a child). God brought me to the point of certain death and back to show me how small “impossible” was for Him. It is only in hindsight that I’ve come to the understanding that I’m not to juggle my music, wife, and son, but that my wife, son, and I had to juggle the music. As I said – God provides a way for you to worship. If not for my wife and her encouragement; if not for my son and my desire to be a better man for him, I would have left my music a few years ago. God used what society saw as my ball and chain to set me free. He is the god of all; not to mention the god of irony.
So here I am now, a musician by vocation, an artist by calling, and a missionary at heart. God will provide, even if it’s in the form of fundraising. To the artist who feels tied down and domesticated. If your spouse has always supported your craft, you not pursuing it is on you.