Today’s guests, multi-platinum country star Hunter Hayes and drummer Jen Ledger from the Christian supergroup Skillet, have battled with dark feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. They have each found hope through these feelings by remembering how God views them. Hunter Hayes is a five-time GRAMMY nominee and one of the youngest solo male artists to top the Hot Country Songs chart. Hunter discusses how he grew into a singer/songwriter and how he works out the answers to hard questions through his songs, like his latest single “Dear God.” Hunter is candid about his insecurities; despite his monumental success at such a young age, he deals with feelings of not being good enough. Over the last ten years, Jen Ledger has been the drummer for Skillet as they’ve been nominated for GRAMMYs and played live for hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. Jen trusted God as He opened doors for her career, even when she didn’t believe in herself. Now she is releasing her first solo record that features a very personal song called “Not Dead Yet” that Jen describes as a song borne from a time when struggled with and battled internal fear and anxiety.
You Are Good Enough: Hunter Hayes and Jen Ledger Find Their Value In Christ – Jesus Calling Episode #108
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. Our guest today is five-time GRAMMY nominee and multi-platinum-selling country star Hunter Hayes. Hunter was the youngest solo male artist to top the Hot Country Songs chart in 2012. He plays more than 30 instruments and has been writing his own songs since junior high. Hunter discusses his path as a singer/songwriter, the hard questions he asks God through his music, and how, despite his monumental success at such a young age, he deals with feelings of not being good enough.
Hunter Hayes: My name is Hunter Hayes. I am a 26-year-old music nerd. And, yeah, just a guy who loves to create music and make noise. And I’ve been living here in Nashville for about ten years now, which is nuts. I moved to my dream city, and then I get to do my dream job.
I started making noise when I was around 4. My grandmother gave me a toy accordion when I was two, I think. I don’t remember, obviously. I’ve heard the story enough times that I can kind of recite it. But she gave me her accordion when I was two, and I just started taking it everywhere. My dad actually bought a few extras to fix the one that I had that I wouldn’t let go of. And every time I’d break it, he’d pull parts off another one. There’s still kind of like a collection in the garage back home.
But, yeah, started with accordion and then it was drums, and then it was electric guitar, and then that was kind of it after that. I was stuck to the electric guitar after that.
[I] found songwriting when I was in middle school. Technically I wrote my first song when I was six years old, but don’t look that up. It’s a bad idea.
Finding God Through Music
I found songwriting in middle school, and I think that was the best time to find it because I needed it the most then.
I think we can all speak to the fact that in middle school, you need an outlet. You need a place to go. And that’s actually probably the time in my life where I was closest to the Bible, closest to my faith. I found it through the loneliness and through all of the things that I was going through. I was—I am—a quiet, shy typically-to-myself-recluse only child. And songwriting was kind of the only place that I could go to feel safe.
“I am—a quiet, shy typically-to-myself-recluse only child. And songwriting was kind of the only place that I could go to feel safe.” – Hunter Hayes
I think that’s kind of what kind of slingshot me into what I do now—that middle school era, you know. I feel like a lot of us go through that those big life changes those big emotional roller coasters. It brought me into a kind of the process that I have now, songwriting and whatnot.
I think the first record that changed my life—like, when I really started studying music, which was around like middle school time—the first track that really changed my life and awoke me was Mercy Me “Coming Up to Breathe.” I saw them at the first Baptist Church in Lafayette with a friend of mine. I don’t know if you’ve heard that record, but it’s a very, it’s a left turn from “I Can Only Imagine,” which was three records earlier, which not a lot of people realize. But that record was a very aggressive record. I needed that record, though. I needed the “Coming Up to Breathe” song itself, and “Bring the Rain.”
But that record, it was so honestly, like, so heavy and so intense that it pushed me away. And I had to go searching for it. I had to go and find it and listen to it and study it.
Diving Deep into Faith
I went from a Catholic private school to a non-denominational private school. And growing up in a Catholic, relatively conservative family, going to a non-denominational school was challenging because I challenged my beliefs and my family’s beliefs, and it forced me to find my own path and have to support it. I had to explain it well, not just for explanations sake, but when somebody looks you in the eye and says, “Why do you believe?” you have to answer it honestly and you have to know, not just believe. You have to know.
I had to dive into my faith. Something I’d grown up with as an absolute was now a question mark, and I had to answer my question myself.
I was not the cool kid, I was the opposite. And I think, honestly, looking back, looking forward, looking up to all the people that I look up to, they weren’t the cool kids. The people that have really changed the world and changed my life and influenced me the heaviest were the quiet ones who found their path to their outlet and used their outlet in a powerful way and channeled all the things that they went through. I think the quiet ones have the most to say.
“The people that have really changed the world and changed my life and influenced me the heaviest were the quiet ones who found their path to their outlet and used their outlet in a powerful way and channeled all the things that they went through.” – Hunter Hayes
Pushing Against Feeling Like You’re Not Good Enough
When people ask, “Who do you want to sing to?” I want to sing to me. I want to talk about what I’m going through because it’s not exclusive to artists. It’s not exclusive to performers. It’s my age group.
We’re getting out of college when we’re defining ourselves as human beings, trying to define ourselves in a world that is full of highlight reels and questioning whether we’re good enough.
So you’re measuring yourself by somebody else’s filter, which is a dangerous dangerous weapon of a thing.
“Measuring yourself by somebody else’s filter is a dangerous dangerous weapon.” – Hunter Hayes
This feeling of invisibility is not exclusive to teenagers. It lasts a lifetime, and it is the upstream feeling of not good enough. It’s that voice inside your head that screams at you on a daily basis, at least for me. It’s a continuous thing.
“This feeling of invisibility is not exclusive to teenagers. It lasts a lifetime, and it is the upstream feeling of not good enough.” – Hunter Hayes
One of my favorite shows I’ve ever had: three weeks ago, Milwaukee Summerfest. This pavilion that I felt there was no way we’re going to fill—we filled it. Had the best show in my life. End up back on the bus, we celebrate for a minute, and then it’s right back to that voice of, Did you do good? Did you do good enough? And then that defines you as a human the more you listen to it.
Remembering Whose You Are
Narrator: Hunter encourages others who also struggle with thoughts of not being good enough, or who deal with wounds in their lives as he reads a passage from the October 28th entry of Jesus Calling.
Do not expect to be treated fairly in this life. People will say and do hurtful things to you, things you don’t deserve. When someone mistreats you, try to view it as an opportunity to grow in grace. See how quickly you can forgive the one who has wounded you. Don’t be concerned about setting the record straight. Instead of obsessing about other people’s opinions of you, keep your focus on Me. Ultimately it is My view of you that counts.
As you concentrate on relating to Me, remember that I have close you in My righteousness and holiness.
I see you attired in these radiant garments, which I bought for you with my blood. This also is not fair; it is pure gift. When others treat you unfairly, remember that my ways with you are much better than fair. My ways are Peace and Love, which I poured out into your heart by My Spirit.
It is easy to get stuck on fair. Fair’s the only way that we’ve been taught to justify things, and the way we’re treated, or the way that we treat ourselves. And the way that we treat ourselves is not fair. We compare.
I mean, I think the sermon that hit me most of the last like three years was comparison. We live by comparison. Comparison is the only way we can measure. If we’re going to compare ourselves, then we’re never going to succeed. We’ll never be what we truly want to be. Even if it is the best version of ourselves, our flawed selves that we compare ourselves with, we’ll never truly succeed.
Remembering God Doesn’t Mess Up
Narration: Hunter describes the path he took to write his latest single, “Dear God.”
Hunter Hayes: “Dear God” threw me for a loop. “Dear God” is like the therapy session tape you don’t want people to hear. And then when people hear it, all of a sudden I was scared of that song. I was proud of it, and scared of it.
I started journaling on the plane. I started with “Dear World,” and I realized I was writing to God. And I thought, “Dear God.” That’s the title. I felt like that was the beginning of the conversation that I need to have with Him.
So we were three writers that had never written before. I knew Andy, but Andy didn’t know Dave, I didn’t know Dave. So we were kind of strangers in a room, diving into this this voice inside our heads saying we’re not good enough.
“We were kind of strangers in a room, diving into this this voice inside our heads saying we’re not good enough.” – Hunter Hayes
And we’ve played with different lines here and there, and finished with “Dear God, are you sure that you don’t mess up?” And I was like, We can’t say that. That’s not allowed. That’s not okay. But I realized it was important because I don’t feel like it’s a question. You would ask unless you know the answer. And I feel like we all kind of know the answer already, but we need to ask it to hear it again.
I feel like the Lord gives us big questions so He can answer in a big way. And that’s a big question. And I feel like sometimes He, no, I know that He’s answered me in a big way many times—but not unless I ask, not less I seek Him.
“I feel like the Lord gives us big questions so He can answer in a big way.” – Hunter Hayes
And so I was scared of a song that didn’t have a resolve, and it doesn’t have a resolve all the way to the end. I decided to sing one take that said, “Dear God, just remind me you don’t mess up,” to kind of close the song. And I felt better it felt better about it, about singing in public.
It’s a series of tough questions. I believe you don’t go to your best friend with tough questions expecting them to have the wrong answers. And I don’t feel like you go to God with these questions expecting Him to not answer you.
I feel like a lot of people disassociate faith with a negative question. And I think those are the questions you need to ask to know your faith. I think that’s important. it’s so critical, and I know that people sometimes feel brave enough to do it. But me, as a conservative Catholic kid, my dad and I had to have a long conversation on the way home from the first time I played that song. And we had another long conversation about it recently that lasted a week. But you know, I was just explaining to him—and and kind of explaining to myself, I guess, in the process—how important that question is and how important it is to talk about those struggles so that you can get an answer, so that someone can call from the dark and shine a light, you know?
Being Open to Who We’re Made to Be
Right now, I’m on a kick of reminding people of their self-worth. Because to question your self-worth, it’s to question your design and question your Maker. And I know obviously I’ve done that. I’ve done that, and I’ve made it public in a song. But I’ve made it public so that people can do that, so that they can get an answer.
“To question your self-worth, it’s to question your design and question your Maker.” – Hunter Hayes
You were made to be exactly who you are, as hard as that is to believe, as hard as it is for me to believe right now. My faults are what would make me. And I think it’s important to remind people of that. I think it’s important for me to be reminded of that on a very consistent basis, that we were made to be who we are, whatever that means.
That’s the most validating thing in the world as a songwriter, when somebody comes when somebody comes up to you, a stranger, even like fans that I know have tattooed lyrics from “Wild Blue” or “Tell Me” or “Dear God” or “Invisible.” “Flashlight,” I’ve drawn flashlights because people want to reference that song and those lyrics.
That’s the most validating thing as a songwriter because you write all the songs in a vacuum. And then they basically just sit there, and then you finally get to play the songs live. And you have somebody that wants to ink themselves, to permanently remind themselves of a lyric.
I truly believe great songs aren’t something that we come up with. We just kind of receive them. So hopefully you’re open. And I speak often that it’s not a well, it’s a river. And you have to just be ready to receive the river. You have to just be open to it. So when that happens, I think it’s just a reminder that, yeah, it’s not about me. It’s about a greater message, about a greater purpose. And those are the moments where you were reminded you received it right. You opened yourself up. You made your vulnerable, and you spoke. And it reached. And it connected.
So it’s kind of just like, Okay, I’m doing my job. I’m serving my purpose.
Hunter Believes in Giving Back
Narrator: Hunter has a heart for using his platform to raise awareness for causes that are important to him. In fact, Hunter holds the Guiness World Record for the amount of concerts played in 24 hours, so he could raise awareness for ending childhood hunger. Hunter tells us why he feels it’s important to use his platform to help others.
Hunter Hayes: I think there will just be seasons where I can help one one cause more than another. And I will. I’ll do whatever I can.
You have a microphone, you have a responsibility. You have an audience, you have a responsibility.
And if I have an audience of people that are listening, do good with it. Do good.
I’ve got a big audience of attentive people, people who will listen and respond. My fans aren’t fans, they’re people with megaphones and beating hearts, and [they’re] very, very passionate human beings. And they’ll spread the word with me.
We’ve gotten to do some incredible things with child hunger. And quick update: [a few years ago] when I was speaking about child hunger in the States, in our backyards, we were talking about one in five kids. We’re now talking about one in four kids. So it’s even more important. We’ve done some awesome things with child hunger, making people aware of that. We still haven’t fixed it, but we’re getting there and people are listening.
I believe strongly in supporting our military families because they make an incredible sacrifice. My dad was in the military. I’ve only heard about it—he was out before I was born—but I’ve heard stories. And even on a smaller scale of hearing a story, it impacted me. It still impacts me. And I see what they go through, and it’s a lot, so I believe in supporting them.
Following The Path To Your Purpose
It’s still very much surprising to me that this is my job.
We were all given a fingerprint. You know, none of us are truly identical. Even identical twins can be discerned by their parents. So if even those two human beings were created to be different, then our approach has to be different. Our approach on ourselves, and our understanding on our design our build has to start with, It’s unique. You have to go on your own path.
To me, that just says forget about measures. Start new on the path. Forge it. Find it. Discover and be adventurous. And find your destination—I believe there is no destination, really. I think it’s just find your path. Follow your heart. Your heart will show you the path.
At the end of the day, I think that’s what instilled in me. Follow your passion, follow your purpose; because you were built to do something. You were made to do something important—do what matters to you.
Narrator: To find out more about Hunter’s new song “Dear God,” please visit HunterHayes.com.
Narrator: We’ll be right back with more of our show after a brief message about a free offer from Jesus Calling!
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Skillet’s Jen Ledger: “God wants to know me?”
Narrator: Our next guest is a member of the wildly popular Christian band Skillet, and has been their drummer since she was 18 years old. Over the last ten years, Jen Ledger has played with Skillet as they’ve been nominated for GRAMMYs, sold multi-platinum records, and played live for hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. Jen trusted God as He opened doors for her career, even when she didn’t believe in herself. Now she is releasing her first solo record that features a very personal song called “Not Dead Yet” that Jen describes as a song borne from a time when struggled with and battled internal fear and anxiety.
Jen: My name is Jen Ledger. A lot of you might know me, or if you don’t know me, I play drums for the band Skillet. I joined the band about ten years ago. In April, I released my own solo project called LEDGER, where I’m singing. I’m writing my own music for that also.
My story is kind of unusual. I as you can tell I’m not from America, I’m actually from England. I came from a place called Coventry. It’s a small city in the middle of England. And I grew up there going to an Anglican, Church of England church. And I grew up with three siblings and my parents. We kind of went to church, but honestly, none of us really lived the life with the impact of Jesus or the Gospel in a real way.
“We kind of went to church, but honestly, none of us really lived the life with the impact of Jesus or the Gospel in a real way.” – Jen Ledger
If you’d have asked me back then, “Are you a Christian?” I would have been like, “Absolutely, yes, born and raised.” It wasn’t until I moved to America when I was 16 years old, and I basically came to do a thing called the School of Worship. It’s a small program for music and Bible study in Kenosha, Wisconsin. And there’s only, like, 14 people a year in the class. And I came to do that, and that’s when I was born again, like, filled with the spirit. It was honestly such a life-changing year for me.
I think I’d never really—it’s going to sound so foolish—but you know when hear the stories and you’re so overly familiar with with Jesus. “He loves you, He died for you.” But then the difference of, Oh, why is that important? What does that actually mean to me? It means that I can actually know Him. He’s taken my place. It was like everything became real to me for the first time ever.
And my mind, it was blown that God would want to know me and I could live life knowing Him. And I’d say it was when I was 16 years old that I really gave my life to God, and my relationship with Him changed drastically.
“And my mind, it was blown that God would want to know me and I could live life knowing Him.” – Jen Ledger
And that was, like, the best year of my life.
My drumming story is actually kind of funny because, I was just a little tomboy. I have two older brothers and one older sister, and my older brothers are twins. And I just thought that they were the coolest. I used to dress like them. I used to do sports, I did football. Basically anything my brothers were doing, I would copy them. And my brothers both started having drum lessons. So sure enough, guess who wanted to learn the drums? Very much so, a quest to impress the big brothers.
But as I referred to earlier, when I came over to the School of Worship when I was 16 years old, I think just being a teenager, you know how we are. We have tons of insecurities come out, we’re not quite sure who we want to be. And I came on to the School of Worship and it actually made me quit the drums all together, I’d become so insecure. I was around other players that could do just incredibly flashy stuff, and they just lived to get home and practice and read about new gear. And I it made me feel like, Whoa. If this is what it means to be a drummer, then I’m obviously not a drummer. It really shocked my confidence and made me think, This is something that I’m really weak at.
And not only that—at the same time, I also became quite insecure being in front of people. I remember I used to feel incredibly sick even playing drums in front of church, which was only 200 people. But man, all morning my tummy would be hurting, and I just couldn’t wait for it to be over.
And so that’s why even the story of me getting into Skillet was quite funny.
The Life-Changing Audition for Skillet
I started the second year of the School of Worship. I was learning the bass because I decided that I would never play drums, you know, that thing as a teenager. Then Skillet asked me to audition because I was good friends with the sisters of Korey Cooper. And basically what I didn’t know is that John Cooper didn’t want me to audition. He heard I was around 21 or so, and he was like, “That’s just way too young.” And he’d auditioned some session musicians in Chicago that had all the gear, years of touring experience, just professional drummers. And the idea of taking some green girl from church that’s probably around 21 just seemed like too much of a hassle. However, his wife Korey had a girl drummer before, and she loved to have a girl in the band. So she basically made it so I could audition, and [John] was doing it to make his wife happy.
When they asked me to audition, I was just so sure I wasn’t a good drummer that I actually said no. I was like, There’s no way. I can’t think of anything more scary than doing that. But I was praying about it, and I really felt God speak to me clearly that He wanted me to try out for Skillet. And it was one of those things where I was so sure, 100% sure, it wouldn’t be to actually be a drummer because I knew it couldn’t be that. I thought, Maybe He’s going to do this to teach me humility, or teach me some lifelong character lesson. But there’s no way it’s going to actually be to be the drummer. I know that I’m just not good at all.
And I stepped into doing this audition with a heart of, I know I’ve got to be obedient to God, no matter what. And I know that He’s always got purpose and things, even if we don’t know what it is.
So the audition swings around. I’ve been working towards it. And the night before the audition, I performed my solo for my friends, but I was so nervous playing in front of two people that I couldn’t do it. My hands were shaking, I couldn’t hold the sticks properly. So it was just super defeated, honestly. I was like, Well, if I can’t do it in front of these two, then what am I thinking?
The audition swung around the next day, and as the band came in to watch me play. I played the solo, I played all the tracks they’d asked me to prepare, and it went like weirdly flawlessly. And I was like, Oh no, I’m misrepresenting myself. They’re going to think I’m this amazing drummer, and I’m really not.
So I secretly tried to sabotage myself in the interview afterwards. They were asking me, “So, tell us a bit about yourself.”
[And I was like,] “Well, you know, I don’t really actually play the drums. I don’t really like them. They make me nervous, they make me sick. I don’t never practice. And if I’m honest, if I don’t get into this band, I don’t think I’m ever going to play them again. However, if this is something that God has for me, I will give my 100% all to it.”
And it was just really funny because they asked me, “So, what are you going to be doing in the next two weeks? We have a second audition coming up, and we’ll fly our manager in. And we were curious if we wanted you there, when would you be available?”
And I was like , “The only day I’m busy is ‘blah de blah,’ because that’s my birthday and I have plans. Other than that, I can do whatever.”
And he looks at me and says, “Oh, you’re gonna be 22?”
And I said, “Um, I’m going to be 18.”
I remember his jaw just dropping to the ground. And he stared at me. And he’s like, “If I had a clue how old you are, I would never have let you audition.”
And then he asked me how long I’ve been playing for, and I was like, “Well, like, four and a half years.”
And he was like, “Oh my God. If I’d have known any information about you, you would never have had this audition.”
It was just amazing that it all came up after I’d already tried out, and God hid the right information for the right time.
And so they called me a few days later and told me to come over to their house. And they told me basically, “Hey, we’re going to go with you. We need to get you a drum set. We need to get you set up to play.”
It took me 15 minutes or so to realize, Oh, they’re actually picking me to be their drummer.
And I think because our hearts were just so similar. And they knew how much I just want to live for Jesus, and I really don’t mind where He calls me. I think they found that more that mattered more to them than me being the drummer with all the experience and all the gear, the everything you kind of want as a professional. They were willing to put that on hold, in a way, and go for this 17-year-old, almost 18-year-old drummer.
“I just want to live for Jesus, and I really don’t mind where He calls me.” – Jen Ledger
It’s so weird and cool to look back on that ten years ago now. And now I’ve toured the world with this band, and we’ve sung songs of hope in some of the darkest places.
“I’ve toured the world with this band, and we’ve sung songs of hope in some of the darkest places.” – Jen Ledger
And it’s so surreal and awesome to see what He can do if you just say yes. And I’m pretty much a really clear example of God’s choosing to use your weaknesses to display His strength, you know.
I just love how God can just glorify Himself through anything and anyone and the very thing you think you are the weakest in or, Surely this will be the one thing He doesn’t use in my life, ends up being the thing He’s used for ten years all over the globe.
“I Am Dependent on Him.”
One of the things I kind of hate and love about my life is that God called me to something that I’m constantly reminded how dependent I am on Him.
“God called me to something that I’m constantly reminded how dependent I am on Him.” – Jen Ledger
I know that naturally I am kind of timid, and I naturally would rather someone else do it because I don’t love having all the attention on me, or just someone else could do it better. You know, that’s how I always kind of tend to feel. And God says, “Yeah. But with me, you don’t have to be afraid because everything you’re afraid of, if you are afraid of failing or whatever it is, I am strong. You are weak, but I am strong, and I can help you.”
Fear is the thing that always seems to come back to me. And it was a few years ago that I all of a sudden started waking up in the night with panic attacks. I’ve never been through anything like it. I’ve had the normal feelings I think that everyone would have experienced of feeling not good enough, or feeling, This is too big, you know, too scary. Have someone else do it.
But this was a new thing. I felt like God was speaking to me about doing my own solo project for a while. And I was waking up in the night, wondering if I’ve not had enough faith and missed my calling. They were really weird dark thoughts of, If this is who you really are and you feel this afraid at night, then how could you ever think that God would want to use you?
“If this is who you really are and you feel this afraid at night, then how could you ever think that God would want to use you? “ – Jen Ledger
It was like the enemy was making me feel this fear and shame was a dirty secret, like, you can’t be a person of faith and then actually wake up afraid. That’s a lie, you know? It was really dark. It was really sad.
I was like waking up, and it was honestly kind of like a a terror feeling. It wasn’t just being afraid. You know, it was very much so something that would make you feel defeated, made you feel isolated, and it made you feel like afraid to tell someone too because it was so embarrassing. It was just really really not fun season.
And I remember coming home and finally talking to people and asking for help. I’m like, “Hey, this is what’s going on. I’ve never been through anything like this.”
And first of all, one, remembering that there is a spiritual warfare and that the enemy does want to take you out. He wants to make you feel alone. And he wants he wants to stop you from ever even trying—that is his goal. That was eye-opening.
“There is a spiritual warfare and that the enemy does want to take you out. He wants to make you feel alone. And he wants he wants to stop you from ever even trying—that is his goal.” – Jen Ledger
And then also just learning that no one can thwart the hand of God. If God wanted me to not be in Skillet, I wouldn’t have been in Skillet. If God wanted me to be during my solo career five years ago, I would have been doing it. One of the things that really helped me was thinking of the story of Joseph, where he was meant to be like second in command, but he went through years of prison before. And if you are sitting in a prison cell, you can’t be upset at God because God’s the one that had him in the prison cell. And if God wanted him out of it, he would have been there.
So I think just remembering that no one can thwart His hand. If you’re meant to be doing something, you surely will.
I think even through my fear and my darkest season, it was actually really awesome because God realigned and corrected things in my heart that I didn’t realize I was thinking. It’s like He used those seasons to correct any wrong thinking that I didn’t even know I had, like, Am I misunderstanding his love? Am I misunderstanding that?
I feel like God showed me clearly through my fear. He let me say some of my wrong thinking about Him, and what He would say is, “It’s not how I use you that I show how I love you. My love for you alone is enough. Because My love alone is what defines you. When you stand before Me, it’s not what you’ve accomplished—it’s My love for you and being found in Me that is your life.”
So that was a strange freedom brought to me through every dark season I’ve been through, or every low season I’ve been through. It’s like God’s brought such freedom from them, you have to choose to seek Him in those places. And sometimes we don’t get why these things are going on and why these things feel so painful. Coming out the other side of it, I’m so grateful because now I feel more secure in who my God is than I ever have.
I am so thankful that He has showed me clearly that it’s not about my strength. It’s not about being the best one to be picked. It’s not about being the strongest. It’s not about the bravest. This is not about what I’ve accomplished for Him.
It’s about the fact that our living God chooses to engage with humans. He doesn’t choose to engage with angels to fulfill His purposes. He wants to use us, and that so exciting. And the fact that He loves us alone is a reason to be so free and happy in the morning.
“[God] doesn’t choose to engage with angels to fulfill His purposes. He wants to use us, and that so exciting.” – Jen Ledger
I think that’s the whole reason I wrote “Not Dead Yet.” It was just about that fight against fear. It just kicks you when you’re down, and it it reminds you of all of your disqualifications. It reminds you why you’re not worthy. And fear will stop you from ever trying. And that’s exactly what “Not Dead Yet” is about. It’s about no matter how many times I face this, I will choose to fight it. And I won’t let it stop me from ever trying, because I’d rather try and fail than never try.
I was reading some studies about how this generation has like the highest percentage of diagnosed anxiety in young people and in our adults too. I’ll gladly talk about this if it helps other people—empower them to fight, and empower them to overcome. And even if it’s just empowering them to not give up, like, Oh, I’ve still got the same struggle coming back. It’s two years later. I thought I’d dealt with that, and it’s come back again. To stop you feeling that, like, I should never have even tried. No. No, it’s something you might have to fight on and off for the rest of your life, but it’s worth it. It is worth it. And you can be victorious. You’ve just got to not give up.
I’ve received a lot of messages on social media and people telling me how they’ve struggled with the same thing, whether it’s anxiety or fear, things like that. I’m just like, Oh Lord, thank you for that season if it was able to help anyone like this.
“Let’s Be People Who are Unafraid to Be Brave.”
God so sovereign and so much bigger than we know. When God speaks, it simply is. Like, He breathes into dust and that is us. That is our life, that is humankind. And the fact that Scripture is God-breathed and it’s to teach us and train us and equips us for everything—I was feeling challenged, like, This is something I need to to learn, to make the time for. And so about four years ago about super serious about about the Word and studying.
And you know what? The more I learn and the more I learn from the Word itself and the truth, the more I feel like I know God. I just feel like He has brought me so much deeper than I ever would have imagined just through Bible study, which sounds so boring and it sounds maybe obvious. But man, it’s been like really, really thrilling journey.
Jesus Calling is something Korey Cooper actually brought to me. And the thing that is so special and precious about it is it kind of removes all obstacles. If you say, “Well, I don’t have time,” the thing that is so awesome about Jesus Calling is that it’s not going to take long at all. It is that small moment between meetings, or [when] you don’t have an hour to spend in an in-depth study. You can spend a moment on Jesus Calling to refocus and just choose to set your mind on things above and kind of readjust.
And what I love about Jesus Calling also is that it’s beautifully written, but it’s very practical. It helps me to make connections between the Word and how it actually applies whether it’s to my thought patterns or whether it’s to how I actually, practically live there. It does a lot of the connections for you and really makes the Word applicable to your life into that very day. And that’s that’s why I really love it.
“[Jesus Calling is] very practical. It helps me to make connections between the Word and how it actually applies whether it’s to my thought patterns or whether it’s to how I actually, practically live there.” – Jen Ledger
So here’s a passage from Jesus Calling from December 21st that I kind of just thought was perfect for everything that we’ve talked about today. And I hope that it will be inspiring for you guys too.
So, it’s December 21st:
My plan for your life is unfolding before you. Sometimes the road you are traveling seems blocked, or opens up so painfully slowly that you must hold yourself back. Then, when the time is right, the way before you suddenly clears—through no effort of your own. What you have longed for and worked for I present to you freely, as a pure gift. You feel awed by the ease with which I operate in the world, and you glimpse My Power and My Glory.
Do not fear your weakness, for it is the stage on which My Power and My Glory perform most brilliantly. As you persevere along the path I have prepared for you, depending on My strength to sustain you, expect to see miracles—and you will.
I feel like this is the testimony of my life.
There’s been times where it feels like I’m stood still. But then He does the most intricate work on my heart. And then there’s times where He decides it is the right time and everything falls into place with miraculous detail. It’s like, Wow, this is more and more fascinating, the more I see the details that You have lined up for me. It’s just amazing.
It’s okay to step and okay to just enjoy stepping out with the Lord and trusting that He’s with you, and rejoicing in the fact that you’re not the strongest or the bravest or the best.
There is no limit to how great He is. Let’s be people that are unafraid—unafraid to be brave and just be full of faith in Him.
Narrator: To find out more about Jen Ledger’s new solo album, please visit ledgerband.com.
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast, we talk with Olympic ice skater, inspirational speaker gold medal champion Scott Hamilton. Scott shares about some hardships in his life, and what it really means to finish first in God’s eyes:
Scott Hamilton: I did the chemo, but there was something gnawing at me the whole time and it was, you know, I had to stop. And without skating, I realized that there was something inside of me that was truly empty. And I don’t know what that was. I just felt like I wasn’t the person I was supposed to be or that I wanted to be. And so I just decided to load up my car and move, just go on an adventure.