A quandary of my mind is that I overthink. Not only do I overthink, but I do so while trying to follow our intuition, and that “just right” feeling that I get in my gut when I go down the right, (or wrong,) path. Also a problem is that I march to the beat of my own drum, but still try to listen to the hundreds of voices telling me which way I should go. It can be confusing.
This is what my life has been like since 2012. That’d be the image on the right…:
So many decisions! So many wrong turns! So many shoulder shrugs of “Oh, well! Back to the drawing board.”
But I think I’ve finally, FINALLY figured out my course. I’ve had a lot the ingredients for my direction, and I’ve had some of them right, but it was just a jumbled mess of a puzzle not put together yet. If you have ever created a puzzle and do it like I do, you find all of the edge pieces, separate them from the middle ones, and do the entire outside of the puzzle first. You create your boundaries.
Then you take the parts that have a lot of clarity, and you put them together. When those are done, you fit them where they go, inside your boundary edges. You have part of the scene, a portion of the puzzle done, but there is still more to do. What’s left is the hard part- the background parts that aren’t so clear. Those background pieces are the most important parts, because they tie everything together.
For me, some of these parts were so obscure that I had a hard time finding them, let alone putting them in my puzzle. They make the complete picture for people to understand. The easy parts to find were things like: Erisa Rei loves living on a farm. She loves her family. She likes vintage clothing, and antique furniture. She has a soulful voice, and a raw writing style. She is kind of eccentric, but homegrown and earthy too. She’s got grit and soul. She’s honest, and ethical.
These are all things that are tangible and easy to show people. But here is an ingredient that was harder for me to put in: my spirituality. In an age, where some Christians act like jerks, it is really hard for my idealistic nature to share the same faith label as them. It is also hard to speak the love of Jesus to those that have been broken by those who did horrible things in the name of Christ, because they don’t want anything to do with it. It’s hard for me to show them that’s not who He is, and that He isn’t the one who hurt them.
It has also been hard sometimes to put my spirituality back into my music career, because I am ONE of the many who have been hurt by Christians by them doing hurtful things in the name of Christ. For years it put a bad taste in my mouth, and made me anxious to be part of a faith in which professing believers are so hateful and lack such convictions.
But there is Someone in my life that has acted like a gentleman. I’ve talked to Him on occasion. I’ve never been angry with Him, because I had the presence of mind to understand that it wasn’t Him that wounded my soul until it was bloody and ragged. He gave me room to heal, and space to learn to express myself beyond the Christian jargon that I was taught to speak. He let me walk the path of healing, and learning, and growing in who I am. You can hear bits of my conversations with Him in my music. Recently, He’s been knocking on my heart’s door, and saying that I can’t go too far off on my own. And that I need Him. I really do.
For the past week, I’ve been fingering the puzzle pieces that represent my spirituality. They are the pieces that aren’t as clear for people, (or sometimes even myself). They are the ones that are the background, but are the most necessary pieces that put Erisa Rei together, as a person, a soul, and as an artist. I can’t leave these pieces out of the entire picture- I’d fall apart. I can’t forsake the parts of me that He wants there. I have to obedient to Him about the songs He wants me to do, now that my wounds are “only” reminder-scars.
Now that I’ve been putting these pieces into it, I can see what it is going to look like, and be like. And it goes right along with things that God showed me way back in 2007 about my music. I didn’t understand it then, but I do now. I’ve had my mini- “aha” moments along the way, that are piecing together to make the big “AHA!” picture that I’ve been searching for since 2006. It’s all beginning to make sense.
My puzzle won’t look like other people’s puzzle, because it’s the Erisa Rei picture that is being put together. I won’t be going about it the same way that other people do. My success won’t look the same as anyone else’s. My music won’t sound the same either. It’s my own special art-piece, put together with time, patience and impatience, frustration, heartache and joy. I’ve let other people guide my hands and try to fit another puzzle’s pieces into mine for too long. I don’t mind help, but they have to be my puzzle’s pieces for my picture to come out completely finished and RIGHT. This is MY life’s work, formed by God, creativity, and hope. I love it.