Rachael Lampa: I was looking for all my worth and validation from people who listen to music, and that’s just not where we’re meant to get that from. So knowing before I even sing a word that I’m already valuable and worthy of God’s love is just the most true freedom.
Trusting God and Finding Your True Self: Rachael Lampa and KB – Episode #379
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. When other people’s expectations drive our lives, we run the risk of losing our authentic selves, and are subtly steered away from our own unique paths. We’re compelled to show up as others would have us, instead of showing up as our true selves. It can be hard to change our instinct to listen to others and we can get lost in the noise. But when we trust that God will show us who we really are, we are empowered to sift through all those societal expectations and find the courage to stand firm in our truth.
This week, singer and songwriter Rachael Lampa shares how she was thrust into the spotlight at an early age, becoming a number one selling Christian artist at only fifteen years old. After a few years of showing up for her record label, her managers, and her fans, Rachael began to feel her own voice starting to diminish. She shares what brought her back from burnout and how she learned to trust her own voice again. After we hear from Rachael, we’ll talk with Dove award winning rapper KB who shares his own identity crisis as a people pleaser, and whose voice of approval he was really seeking in his quest to feel worthy.
Let’s start with Rachael’s story.
Rachael Lampa: My name is Rachael Lampa. I’m a mom. I’m a wife. I’m a sister, a daughter. I’m a singer. I’m a soccer mom. And I’ve found myself in this really cool and special time of life right now where I’ve gotten back into music.
I grew up in Lewisville, Colorado, which is right outside of Boulder, and grew up in this awesome, sweet Catholic church. That’s where I learned to sing. But the funny thing is, I didn’t know Christian music existed, all I knew were the call and response parts of a Catholic mass.
And eventually there was basically a Christian music festival up about forty-five minutes away from my house up in the mountains. And they had asked me to come sing at the coffee shop after a day full of artists, and I found out later that those artists were Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, who I did know existed. That was about the extent of my knowledge with Christian music.
And immediately coming off stage, I got approached by a few record labels, and that’s kind of where that whole madness started. It just was a very wild ride from there, because it was the summer of eighth grade for me. I was sort of having to become an adult in some ways and start working and start traveling and flying all the time and making big decisions, and it was a really special thing to be able to grow in my faith and also grow in the music at the same time and kind of watch how the music reflected where I was with my faith.
“It was a really special thing to be able to grow in my faith and also grow in the music at the same time and kind of watch how the music reflected where I was with my faith.” – Rachael Lampa
Finding Faith Amidst Burnout
When I was twenty-one, I started to feel like I couldn’t find my voice in all the noise and I couldn’t find God’s voice and I couldn’t tell which one was which or, who was my managers, my record label, my peers, my fans. Like, I think there were a lot of people that were speaking into my life at the time, and I just couldn’t find God’s voice anymore, and I started to just feel really burnt out.
I remember talking to my older brother, and I just remember telling him how I felt and I was like, “All my friends are figuring out what they want to do for the rest of their lives, and I’m turning my back on the thing that I thought I was going to do for the rest of my life.”
It was kind of one of those first moments where I was able to say, “I trust God right now, I trust God a lot. I don’t have a plan for what this is going to look like. I don’t know if I’ll ever come back.” I just knew that I was feeling like there was a lot of stuff in the way of me, and feeling God’s voice and God’s hand on my life.
“I’m turning my back on the thing that I thought I was going to do for the rest of my life. It was kind of one of those first moments where I was able to say, ‘I trust God right now, I trust God a lot. I don’t have a plan for what this is going to look like.’” – Rachael Lampa
I went to my record label without lawyers or managers or anybody, just my big brother. And I just told them exactly how I felt, and normally in that scenario, there would be a big legal conversation and the whole thing and they just really respected where I was at and saw me for the young person that I was and let me go. And it was probably one of the scariest things, but also one of the first moments where I knew me and God did something together and I felt really peaceful about it.
When I first started singing—like I said, I didn’t grow up on Christian music—I’d just sing whatever was in my head, whatever was on the radio, whatever I could plunk out on a piano. It was just the most pure, underthought action of just using this gift that God gave me. There was no expectation on it. There was no need to share it. It was this moment where I realized, Oh, when we give gifts to people, we don’t expect them to take that gift and be like, “Here you go, world. You can have it, too.” There’s this really sweet part of the gift giving where you receive it and you enjoy it and you go sit in your room and you see what it’s all about.
“When we give gifts to people, we don’t expect them to take that gift and be like, ‘Here you go, world. You can have it, too.’” – Rachael Lampa
Rachael Defines Her Identity Beyond the Spotlight
Stepping away from music and people and constant input on my life was a really, really big adjusting process. I had to learn how to trust myself again and to trust that God’s voice was inside of me. When I accepted Him into my heart, I accepted His voice in my life and it’s in there, and I think because I always had so many people speaking for me, I just didn’t even trust my own voice. So it was just this real process of trusting myself little by little and making little decisions where I felt joy and I felt peace. I almost had to reconnect and redefine my identity as a child again.
That was a time for me and God to really reconnect, and I got to spend time with Him. I got to worship Him in the smallest ways and not always under sound and lights and that is really kind of what brought me to a place where I was able to say, “Okay, if music never comes back, I’m okay. I am loved, I still matter, I still have purpose, so whatever comes next, that will be purposeful. I will be important to Him,” and that was what was kind of missing, because especially as a young person in the spotlight, you base your identity on that and your worth on that, and I needed to reclaim that my worth was already locked in and set when I met the Lord.
“I got to worship [God] in the smallest ways and not always under sound and lights and that is really kind of what brought me to a place where I was able to say, ‘Okay, if music never comes back, I’m okay. I am loved, I still matter, I still have purpose, so whatever comes next, that will be purposeful.’” – Rachael Lampa
Rachael’s Musical Revival
I learned a lot in my time away from music. I think the biggest thing that really taught me was I started to give my life away in the biggest way, and that was through a nonprofit that me and my family started called People Loving Nashville, and we serve and walk with people that are unhoused, people that are incarcerated, people that do have housing but are in a tough place, and just walking with people that are in a hard spot. And so we started a nonprofit to help kind of get them fed, like, basic needs.
I got to see outside of my little circle and see how God is working on a bigger scale in other people’s lives, and I started to get to know some of my favorite people in the world. And one of those ways was through a prison ministry that we ran in the women’s prison here in Nashville.
As we spent time together and learned about who Jesus really was, I got to see light in her eyes reignite and show up for the first time. And I got to hear her say, “I didn’t know that God was like this. I didn’t know that He loved me no matter what. I didn’t know that He forgives no matter what, that He has grace and that He never left me even when I was running away.” So I got to see that come alive in someone for the first time. I just was like, “Oh no, I got to write a song.”
It made the music part of me wake up again, because that was my response to just such beauty and such a story. This is like calling out that thing in me that wanted to make music in the first place, because something is coming alive in me also.
I just wrote down things that I wanted to tell these girls, and one of those things was, “You’re not a problem, you’re not a mistake. You don’t need fixing or solving. You’re in the arms of His grace.” There was just this thing in me that just was like, I really want that to sink in for everyone.
The song “Perfectly Loved” really defines where my heart has been and what kind of made me come back alive musically was meeting these girls when I was doing prison ministry.
I fully trust God, and He has just been honestly blowing me away.
“I fully trust God, and He has just been honestly blowing me away.” – Rachael Lampa
I just feel like this prayer reflects where I’m coming from with these songs of mine that talk about identity and about just realizing that we won’t lose God’s love, that He loves us permanently and that we are secure in Him.
Jesus Listens, February 10th:
Your Word assures me that in Your Presence there is fullness of Joy. As I rest in Your Presence—pondering who You are in all Your Power and Glory—I rejoice in Your eternal commitment to me. Neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate me from Your Love! My relationship with You has been secure ever since I trusted You as my all-sufficient Savior. Help me remember that I am Your beloved child—this is my permanent identity.
In Your cherished Name,
Stay tuned to KB’s story after a brief message.
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Our next guest is Dove award winning rapper KB, who shares about his childhood years, what led him into the rap scene, and how the drive for approval from others defined his relentless performance schedule. It wasn’t until a friend helped him finally realize the voice of approval he sought was from the father that abandoned him when he was just a teenager. Then, he was able to do some real soul searching, begin to heal, and find his own voice again.
KB: My name is KB. I am a husband, father, artist, but most importantly, I’m a lover of Jesus, and I get to find creative ways to help people to understand Him better, become more impressed by who He is and hopefully be formed into His likeness.
I’m from southside St. Petersburg. I was raised partially there. The other half of my childhood I spent in southern Illinois on an Air Force base, marked by security and safety. I’m literally surrounded by soldiers and the people to keep the nation safe. And after my parents’ divorce, I found myself back in St. Petersburg where I was born, and the environment was remarkably different. So it was marked by insecurity.
I had such a reference point for things being secure that when I was somewhere where it was completely not, it was very, very difficult for me to cope. And I think that living in a kind of trauma-laden environment really drove me to a dark place, and it wasn’t just my environment. I myself had all kinds of predilections that leaned away from the light and leaned towards darkness.
I was probably around fifteen, sixteen years old when in that very, very dark place, somebody introduced me to Jesus. Now, I grew up around church stuff where there was respect for God. You acknowledge God, but you weren’t really convinced that He should be directing your life, certainly not arranging things in a way that was best. In addition to that, I didn’t see God as life to me or hope, I didn’t see Him as redemption.
I met this gentleman at school who I heard was a rapper. One day I walked up to him and I said, “Hey, man, I know we both are in this program or whatever, and I heard you rap. Would you like to battle me sometime?” And Jeremy said to me, “I actually don’t battle people. I do Christian rap.” And I was struck by that because, again, I wasn’t familiar with Jesus having a place in a young person’s life that they would basically determine what they would not do based off of what Jesus cared about, and Jeremy was standing in front of me doing that without qualification. And I was struck by how unashamed he was. I found that weird but also intriguing.
I saw Jeremy a couple weeks later outside eating lunch, and I walked up to the table that he was eating lunch at and he had a CD on the table. And the gentleman on the front cover of the CD had a red bandana going across his mouth. He had a red bandana going across his head, his forehead, and then he had dreadlocks, much like mine. And I looked at Jeremy and I was like, “Hey, I thought you said that you were the Jesus guy. This obviously isn’t Jesus music.” And he said, “No, actually it is Jesus music.”
Jeremy gave me the album and said, “You go home and you be the judge.” So I took that album home, and the album had eight songs on it. I loved every single song. The last song on the album was just a beat and a gospel presentation with a call to repent at the end. And I listened to that and I trusted Jesus, and I’ve been walking with Jesus ever since.
From Abandonment to Acceptance
So my grandfather was a slave, so he could not read. He had no education. But he was a hard worker, he had his hands. And with his hands, my grandfather built a multimillion dollar real estate empire. He bought churches. That’s the kind of man he was, and then he raised sons that were hard working men that took nothing and turned it into something.
I started working when I was twelve, cutting grass. Then I worked for the St. Petersburg Times, the night shift for a few summers, went and got a job at a grocery store. You know, I’ve always been working and then I took that into college, I took that into my career, working, working, working, working.
I’m always looking ahead and I realized that at the end of all of my pursuits for years, literally driving myself into the ground, hospitalized a couple of times from overworking. The other time I broke out into shingles, a thirty-two year old broke out into shingles. The doctor looked me in my face and said, “This is 100% caused by stress.” And I’m like, “Well, I don’t feel stressed. I feel fine. I just want to work.”
One time in particular, a good friend of mine, Flame, I was showing him basically we have a 7,000 square foot facility here in Tampa. One side of it is studios and office spaces, the other side is a production studio and warehousing. I was giving him a tour of the facility, and he stopped me and said, “Hey, I don’t think anything like this has ever been done by a Christian hip hop artist. I hope you are appreciating what you’ve built here.” And I was like, “I mean, yeah, but there’s a lot more I’m still trying to do, so thank you, bro, but let’s keep walking over here.” And he said, “No, no, no, no, KB, this is amazing, bro.” And that little moment stuck with me. I started to realize that nobody can really encourage me or celebrate me in a way that I can really sit back and say, “Oh, wow, yes, God is doing something great. He’s using us.”
I realized that this unhealthiness that was showing up in my life was connected to me working for the approval of a voice that I would never hear. And that voice that I wanted to hear was my father. I wanted him to call me and say, “Well done. I see you and I’m pleased with you.”
“I realized that this unhealthiness that was showing up in my life was connected to me working for the approval of a voice that I would never hear.” – KB
My biological father is dead, and the father who raised me abandoned my mother and subsequently me, and has not has not come back since I was sixteen. And so when I realized that, I broke into a million pieces, that I’m not able to even taste the fruit of my labor because everything I do is always incomplete because I need the approval of my father. That created all kinds of problems in my heart, but what I found was it made me ripe for the Father God.
“I’m not able to even taste the fruit of my labor because everything I do is always incomplete because I need the approval of my father. That created all kinds of problems in my heart, but what I found was it made me ripe for the Father God.” – KB
Surrendering Control and Relying on Jesus
I would say that I am more aware of the limitations of this life than I have ever been and the limitations of my own intellect, the limitations of my ability to control things, the limitations of my spiritual intentions that I the more the older I get, the more I am aware of how out of control I am.
What I have come to know is that God’s glory doesn’t take a backseat, or it doesn’t suspend itself in our brokenness, in our confusion, it is a part of how God shows up and shows out in our weakness, and that there is strength in confessing our fragility, there’s strength in owning our need for healing. It is when we can appreciate how much we need a Savior that Jesus is truly doing what He does in our lives, and that is save.
“God’s glory doesn’t take a backseat, or it doesn’t suspend itself in our brokenness, in our confusion, it is a part of how God shows up and shows out in our weakness, and that there is strength in confessing our fragility, there’s strength in owning our need for healing.” – KB
And so from that place of working with my spiritual shepherds and also working very closely with my therapists and working very, very closely with my community, I’ve been so grateful for the brothers and sisters that God has assigned to me that make up His church, that helped to hold my arms up, helped to calm me to repentance and helped to heal the wounds that I’ve become so acutely aware of.
“I’ve been so grateful for the brothers and sisters that God has assigned to me that make up His church, that helped to hold my arms up, helped to calm me to repentance and helped to heal the wounds that I’ve become so acutely aware of.” – KB
I have three kids. I am very concerned about how their little souls are being shaped, and almost obsessing over my desire for them to develop into something beautiful in the sight of God and not turn away from Him into something ugly is very, very strong.
What I am learning is dependency on Jesus in how we think. I think getting in the Word of God regularly, but having a mind change, that their mind is being renewed in a way where you see your dependency on Jesus at all times. Because if not—if God is not holding the leash on my desires, if He’s not holding the leash on my trauma and what I’m enduring, if He is not holding the leash on my world, I am utterly lost. And I need to break away from that mythical idea that I have the leash in hand and I’m only going to be as happy as I’m in control.
“If God is not holding the leash on my desires, if He’s not holding the leash on my trauma and what I’m enduring, if He is not holding the leash on my world, I am utterly lost. And I need to break away from that mythical idea that I have the leash in hand and I’m only going to be as happy as I’m in control.” – KB
So I just cannot overstate our need for a Savior outside of ourselves, a sovereign ruler outside of ourselves that loves us, that cares for us, that is for us, that is rooting for us, that holds us, and sees us through.
This is from Jesus Listens, March 28th:
Help me to hope for what I do not see—eagerly waiting for it with perseverance. I realize that hope, which is itself a kind of vision, is even more wonderful than sight. Hope enables me to see—through the eyes of my heart—things that are not yet. The most stunning example of this is the hope of heaven. Your Word tells me that my ultimate destination is to share in Your Glory!
I need to practice hoping for things I do not see—both for this life and the next. Please guide me into hopes and dreams that are in line with Your will. I want to train the eyes of my heart to “see” these blessings while praying for Your will to be done fully and only. Teach me to wait eagerly with perseverance—with my focus primarily on You but also on the longed-for outcome. You are my Hope!
In Your great Name, Jesus,
If you’d like to hear more stories about finding your true self, check out our interview with Lauren Alaina.
Next week: Daniel Gil
Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast, we talk with American Ninja Warrior’s eight time national finalist and competitor, Daniel Gil, who shares how his faith gives him the energy and the passion to fight through life’s toughest obstacles.
Daniel Gil: I can go through those valleys of shadows, of death because I know He’s with me. I know He’ll comfort me and He can bring good out of any situation. You’re just one step of faith away from the miracle that God has for you.