Joshua Swanson: Welcome to the Walk; a devotionals podcast for worshipers. Crystal Yates is our guest and we love Crystal. Not only is she an accomplished songwriter and artist, but she’s also one of our coaches over at the Worship Leader Institute.
Among her many gifts is the gift of encouragement. And in this episode, she addresses disappointment. Here we go.
Crystal Yates: Hey guys, I’m so glad to be here with you today. Um, I want to share something with you that is very, very near and dear to my heart because I deal with a lot of artists. I mentor a lot of artists. And one thing that continually comes up is disappointment, because we’re literally dealing with disappointment probably 99% of the time.
Um, we get to see so many people’s successes on display, um, and when they do well, but we don’t get to get into the weeds of their story and when they feel rejected, when they feel like they’re not winning, that they’re failing it’s something I face. It’s something we all face and especially artists and I am just so realizing how tender our hearts are.
And we are so vulnerable because we are sharing these songs, we’re sharing a piece of our heart, and sometimes whenever we face rejection, that is incredibly hard, because we know the power of what God’s done in our heart, and that somebody else would say, oh, I, I don’t like that song. It’s hard.
Joshua Swanson: In just a moment, crystal talks about her personal journey from faith to songwriting, but first we gotta pay the bills, so stick around.
Crystal Yates: I, I grew up in the, the deep south, the panhandle of Florida, and there are lots of churches in Florida, but I didn’t grow up in church and so I didn’t have this history, um, of understanding God and what worship truly was. I knew God was calling me to worship, but I didn’t understand what that meant, and I started very quickly, um, after I got saved, I was about 18 when I got saved and after I gave my heart to the Lord and started following him I started dealing with disappointment very quickly as an artist. I started writing, I started sharing those songs, and while I was super excited about them, not everybody else was, and it was really hard on my heart.
And I remember as a little girl, I always wanted to move to a big city. I wanted to get outta Florida. It had become truly an idol in my life, and God just was not making a way. And that was so disappointing for me because it was something I believe, oh, the minute, you know, I start writing songs and I start doing this, God’s, everything’s gonna start working.
And when it didn’t work, my heart began to feel this deep sadness and disappointment.
In that moment, I will never forget, there was a day I was getting ready to go lead worship, um, my husband and I lead worship together and we were getting ready to go lead worship for a night of worship and prayer, and I had been inviting people to come and the response was, so low. They’re like, oh, we can’t make it tonight.
We can’t make it tonight. And I was gonna share a song, um, that we had written. And I remember sitting at the piano and just hearing the Lord speak to my heart and say, I wanna teach you what worship is. And this is very important with dealing with disappointment because I believe worship is a response.
When we respond to disappointment, we can respond in worship of God. And so I sat and I began to pour my heart out and I began to tell him, I thought that you were going to give me the desires of my heart. I didn’t know yet what true worship was. And God said, I wanna teach you what worship is as I sat there at that piano and I, I said, okay.
What is worship? It’s not songs. It’s not what we do together as a collective when we come to church. And uh, he brought me to the story of Abraham and Isaac. And Abraham had this promise through Isaac, the promise of many nations. This was a huge promise. This was everything that God had, um, given him through this child.
And God had said, bring your son up the mountain to worship. There was no songs Bring Isaac to worship. He had no lamb. He had no offering to bring the Lord, but he, he brought his son and he said, we’re going to go up and worship the Lord.
And I begin to ponder just that statement. What does that mean? We’re gonna go worship the Lord. Because again, I have no history of truly understanding and having a theology of what worship was.
So I began to ponder that in my heart and think, wait a minute, he’s going up onto this mountain to worship. He’s not going to sing, he’s not going to, you know, bring instruments. He’s bringing his son. And then whenever he hears the Lord say, put Isaac down on the altar. My heart just begin to get even more sad for a moment because I saw what he, God was saying to me. He’s saying, your dreams, your heart’s desires, lay them at my feet. He will have no other gods before him. I realized in that moment that writing in the very artistry that I’m called to had become something I wanted to fulfill my heart.
When God’s the only well that doesn’t run dry. He’s the only source and he knows that. So this is why he asks for those things and for me, um, I began to just kind of deal with that and lay those dreams, um, at the altar before the Lord and I began to say, okay, and I heard him so clearly say, this is what I require, this is worship.
Then I began to look to at how profound was it that Abraham would lay Isaac down with these words coming off his lips. Whenever Isaac said, “There is no lamb.” When he put Isaac down, he said, the Lord will provide. And I think we can. So come to the Lord with our dreams and our desires and lay them down knowing he’s good.
Knowing he will provide. And so it is one way to guard our hearts before we even, uh, feel that rejection, knowing that our gifts are not our God. Our gifts are not our God. They’re a vehicle in which we reach out to the masses with. They’re a vehicle in which we reach out to God with and we express ourselves with, but they’re not God.
And just reminding ourselves, it’s easy to get caught up when a lot of these artists that I, I sit down and I, I pray with and I talk with, and they begin to feel the hurt and begin to feel the disappointment, even successful ones, it would blow your mind that some of the things people that are successful have shared with me and the hurts that they’re walking through, um, that they are dealing with it on a daily basis because they’re not truly getting to express how they had hoped in a song, or they’re having to tweak things about their music or about their voice, and that’s hard. It’s really hard.
One of the best ways to deal with disappointment is to go ahead and lay whatever that dream is, whatever that gift is before God and worship him. Worship your God cuz he is the well that will not run dry.
Joshua Swanson: We’re gonna take another quick break. When we come back, Crystal unpacks Romans 12.
We wanted to give a shout-out to Sennheiser for providing us with the microphone I’m using today. It’s called the Profile Microphone and it’s a cardioid USB mic that retails at only $129 and it comes with all the quality that Sun Heiser is known for, as you can hopefully hear based on the sound of this recording. It’s a great deal. So check it out and check out our full review at worshipleader.com.
Okay, back to Crystal to close us out.
Crystal Yates: So in the word in Romans 12, there is something that mirrors in my, my heart, um, and I hope it will in yours. It’s one thing to sit with the Lord, hear from him, and have him show you things, but for those of us who believe in God, for those of us who follow Jesus, there are commands that we can listen to, that we can hear from his word, um, and know that worship is not about our giftings. It’s not about even our callings. That it is about a God that is holy and that we come to him with our hearts. And in Romans 12, it’s talks about, what worship is. It says, “therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship. Do not conform. To the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is. His good, his pleasing, and perfect will.”
And don’t we all want to know what his will is for our life? And what it’s saying here is just like Abraham came and laid down his promise, we can come and we can lay down those gifts, those dreams at his feet. I think it’s so important that if there’s ever a season when God says, “Hey, I want you to lay those down for a season,” that we come and we do it in faith, knowing that he’s good. But there’s also the other side of that. Sometimes it’s not God saying, hey, I want this and I want that, and we quit because we’ve told ourselves to quit.
And I wanna encourage you if you’ve been disappointed over and over again and you just wanna give up, that’s different than worshiping God and laying your gifts down before him.
What we do, whenever we wanna quit, we wanna give up, we keep worshiping and we keep creating for him. We keep using that gift. You will know the difference whenever God asks you because, it is so profound that it is effortless to lay it down. Whenever he asks you, it hurts, but it’s also very, very effortless.
So just remember there’s a difference between God asking for something from you for a season and then giving up. Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Keep creating. I think it’s important to know too, that whenever we deal disappointment, it’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to hurt and to come to the Lord and process with him. There’s no safer place.
I think sometimes we’re taught that, oh, you didn’t get what you want, you know, suck it up, move on. But I just don’t believe that’s true. When we look in the Bible through all the Psalms of David, we see a man that grieves and he laments and he cries out to the Lord. This is the first place we go. Be honest with how your heart hurts.
Be honest with him. It’s the first place that we turn. It is okay to cast your cares and anxieties. It’s, it’s a command in the Lord. Cast your cares upon him for he cares for you and know that God cares about your hurts. Don’t hide those. Don’t sweep them under the rug. Let them be seen and known by the God who can care for you and love you. He knows your heart and he wants to heal you. He wants to comfort you in the midst of your grieving.
I don’t quite understand where we’ve thought that we should just keep moving on and not stop to grieve. And I think it’s so important that we do that with the Lord because you were made to lean into him.
So lastly, I just wanna encourage you. You are called to bear fruit. You’re called to make disciples. You’re called to worship the Lord. You’re called to share the gospel. So keep doing what you’re doing. Keep singing, keep writing, keep loving the Lord with your own unique way that He’s equipped you. And you do not have to conform to the ways of this world.
You can be exactly who God has created you to be and honor him and use that gifting as a vehicle to reach the hearts of his people and to worship him. I would love to pray over you as we end today, that the Lord would just keep you. He would sustain you.
So God, we ask Lord for these creatives, these worship leaders, these producers, these songwriters, media people, whatever, that we do, whatever our gifting is. Lord, I pray over these hearts, Lord, that you would keep them, that you would heal them, those who are broken and have been disappointed time and time again. Lord. That you would bring healing, you would bring restoration and redemption, and I pray you would bring courage. Lord, bring courage and a boldness to stand and proclaim the goodness through their gifts.
I ask and pray all these things in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
Joshua Swanson: Thank you, Crystal, for contributing to our show. If you’re interested in coaching, be sure you head over to worshipleaderinstitute.com to find out more. We’re gonna play out this episode with a song of Crystals called Seed of Faith. She wrote it after a terrible battle through Covid.
As always, special thanks to Matt McCarty for producing and editing today’s episode. Jacob Fairclough produced our theme song. The Walk is brought to you by Worship Leader. I also want to thank the team at Life Audio for their partnership. If you go to life audio.com, you’ll find dozens of other faith-centered podcasts. They’ve got shows about prayer. They’ve got bible studies, parenting shows, and more. So, check ’em out at lifeaudio.com.
I’m Joshua Swanson. Here’s Seed of Faith.