It’s funny how the times when you feel that life is getting a bit bleak and desperate can be so close to the moments when God speaks the clearest. It’s in those dark nights that our vision becomes the sharpest.
That was me eighteen months ago. I thought that the last album I’d made – my third – was the last album I’d ever make.
The juggle of work, music and family as well as the need to pay the bills was all too much.
I was feeling like I couldn’t keep going with music anymore. Maybe it was time to move to a new area and work for a church that could afford to pay me a salary.
But on the day that good friends prayed for me, God spoke so clearly to me. ‘This is what I’ve called you to do,’ He said. ‘Keep going. Keep trusting me.’
Soon after I was playing an event in Liverpool cathedral. It was a difficult soundcheck and my head wasn’t in the right place. I stood silent with the team praying before the meeting, and when it was my turn I just said whatever was on my heart, that God would start speaking to people’s lives and awaken dreams within them.
It happened to be the same message that the preacher brought. As I listened to him speak, it was as if God was saying to me, ‘it’s time to dream again, Ian.’
It birthed one of the songs, and it got me thinking about other people in the same situation. Many of us have given up dreaming. We’ve parked our God-given dreams as life has thrown us challenges and disappointment. There are many who feel hopeless and lost, including people from Bootle, Liverpool, where I’m based.
It got me thinking about the importance of serving where you are, of trusting God in every situation, even though it looks like there’s no way to balance everything ourselves.
And then there was my son. Becoming a dad made me think about God’s love in new ways. If I love this little guy so much, how much more does God love us? It’s so simple but so profound, and it got me praying that people would awaken to God’s love; that instead of thinking that God’s out to get them or against them, they’d know just how much He adores them.
It was a message I needed to hear for myself too.
And so, awakened to love, inspired to dream again, encouraged to keep going, quitting no longer seemed like an option.