[Guest Post by Paige Omartian – I’m so excited to introduce you to a fellow Harvest House author (and musician). She is a young 20-something with an amazing story, which I’ll let her share with you below. Enjoy!]
With every reason in the world to pursue the dream God had given me, I stepped into the infamous Music City.
During my junior year of high school, my parents and I visited Nashville, Tennessee for a special week of seminars and meetings to gain insight into Christian music industry.
I’d been singing since I was four years old, and writing songs since I was seven. And after battling cancer at the age of eleven, God placed a burning desire on my heart to minister to people through music.
Though I had been to Music City twice before, I am certain that my wide-eyes gave away my newness to town and little experience in the music industry. With edgy-looking artists and musicians everywhere, I loved being in an atmosphere where the things that made me “different” everywhere else, made me “normal” here.
But over the next few days, my thrilled excitement began to slip into overwhelmed fear.
The realization that I was now in an environment with so many like-minded, similarly talented people was no longer refreshing–instead, it became terrifying. Insecurity and confusion rose up like water in my lungs threatening to drown me.
I felt like the smallest shrimp in the biggest ocean whose dreams would be laughed at–if ever heard.
I’ve never been a competitive person. I cringed at the idea of “talent contests” and “singing competitions”, though people constantly tried to get me to enter them. I enjoyed singing but what I really loved was singing songs that could impact people. When it came down to my actual voice, I was decent, but I knew I certainly wasn’t the next Celine Dion!
As my parents and I were about to enter into one of the last seminars of our trip, I whispered a defeated prayer to God…
“Lord, You know the dreams in my heart, but I don’t see a place for myself here. There are so many people far more talented than me all trying to do the same thing… I think I should bow out, and let the truly gifted ones live this dream.”
With that, I stepped into the last seminar.
The first thing the speaker did was play a clip of a piano piece, and ask the audience’s opinion. The song was nice, but not mind-blowing, so none of us really knew what to say. The teacher then proceeded to tell us the story of the man who was playing that piano piece. His name is Brian Arnold, and he tragically lost his leg as a child. Since he couldn’t play sports, he took up piano and became so accomplished that he began to tour with famous artists. However, one day as he drove to church, he got into a horrible car accident that broke his neck and permanently paralyzed his left arm. After struggling with severe depression, he resolved to relearn how to play the piano.
“This song that I played for you,” the speaker said, “was played with only one hand.” When he played the song for us again, it was as though we were listening to something completely different. Now knowing the story, the piano piece was unbelievable and miraculous!
That was when God’s voice hit me like a ton of bricks.
“I’m not asking you to be ‘better than everyone else’ in order to do music. I’m asking you to sing and write because you have a story to tell. A story that is uniquely yours because I have written it.”
My life changed at that moment.
Suddenly I had such a peace about pursuing the calling God had on my life because His Words assured me that it wasn’t about me. I belonged simply because He said so, and I could trust Him to open the doors He saw fit.
That was six years ago.
Since then, I signed with a record label, released my debut rock album, Wake Up, toured as the speaker for a national tour and TV show, and authored two books. I almost walked away from all of that–just because of my insecurity and lack of faith.
I share this because God has an incredible purpose for you–that’s why you have the privilege of breathing.
God has written a story in your life that no one else on the planet has, therefore your purpose cannot be compared or replaced. I urge you to take confidence in the calling and dreams that the Lord has given you.
One day, you will be able to look back and say, “That was the day I almost quit. Praise God I didn’t!”
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36
Paige Omartian is a 22-year-old author, speaker, and recording artist whose battle with cancer as a child led her on a remarkable journey inspiring others to live out their purpose. She is the author of Wake Up, Generation and co-author of A Book of Prayers for Young Women, which she wrote with her mother-in-law, Stormie Omartian. Paige and her husband, Chris, reside in Nashville. To learn more about Paige and her ministry, visit www.paigeomartian.com.