Grammy Award-winning, Billboard-topping artist Lecrae opened up about the painful yet rewarding process of restoration following much success, deep depression, and almost losing his marriage.
The founder of Reach Records has released what might be his final full-length album, Restoration. It’s his most vulnerable album yet. The album is accompanied by a three-part YouTube series, titled “The Road to Restoration,” and a book to be released Sept. 13, titled I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion But Gained My Faith.
On choosing to be transparent and vulnerable, the artist said, “You’re going to have to be fully known in order to be fully grown. That’s just what’s going to have to happen. So I wanted to model that. I think Jesus models it perfectly by Him in the garden sweating and asking, could His friend stay up and pray with Him? That’s some serious vulnerability.”
In an interview with The Christian Post, the iconic emcee spoke candidly about his new album, where he currently is in life and what led him to the place he is now in God.
Christian Post: In your music and your new YouTube series, “The Road to Restoration,” you’ve given us a glimpse into your personal life. Can you talk about wanting to open up that door for the world to really see the man behind the artist?
Lecrae: I just think it was time. I wanted people to be able to see who I was as a human being and that’s really a large part of my being restored, my faith being restored, my mental, emotional, spiritual self — finding healing there was being free to not be a caricature, being free to be all of myself and to let people see that for who I was.
CP: At the start of the YouTube series, young Lecrae is heard talking about your dreams of marriage and musical success. How was it realizing that the dreams you had as a child came true?
Lecrae: That was crazy to me. Watching it was the first time I realized that all those things being put together. So that was mind-blowing. I had to take a minute and be like, “Wow, God is good. Thank you, mom for supporting me.” It was just kind of crazy to realize. It made me more grateful. It made me more appreciative of some of the things that I’ve gotten to experience in life.
But at the same time, be careful what you ask for because you just might get it and it doesn’t always come in the way you think it will.
CP: As a man of faith in the midst of this fame, do you feel like you were bitten by the fame bug and went astray?
Lecrae: Oh, yeah, for sure. Nobody’s immune from it, especially somebody like myself who experienced a lot of trauma as a kid, so there’s a lot of insecurities. You haven’t dealt with the fact that you feel like you’re unwanted and so every award you win, every song that hits the charts, is feeding you a lie of “this is where your value comes from, this is where your worth comes from.” You don’t realize that. It’s very subtle but it starts to take root in your heart.
If you don’t have the tools to fight it, then it really does take a toll on you. Now you’re wrestling with trying to keep your worth intact. So everything is not about doing things out of love and out of freedom and out of faith, it’s about doing things out of “I have to perform to be loved because if I don’t perform, I will not be loved.” And that’s the lie you start believing.
CP: So what freed you from that?
Lecrae: There’s a saying that freedom takes an instant to take somebody out of slavery; it takes an instant. But it takes a lifetime to take the slavery out of the person. It took work and time to get a different perspective. First, it had to be revealed to me that that was even something I was struggling with. Honestly, the wake-up call for me was waking up in a clinical depression. It was like, “Something is wrong with me.” It wasn’t like “I’m sad.” It was like I have no ability to enjoy things.
It was just a mask. I was like “what is this?” And I couldn’t shake it. I was like “something’s wrong in my brain.” I just could not shake it and as I got scared about it, then anxiety crept up. So now it’s depression and anxiety. I think God just put me on my back in order to give me the opportunity to say you’re going to have to take a deeper look at yourself and some of the issues that you have, the trauma that you have, and really do some work internally.
CP: Can you share about the importance of actually going through the process of restoration?
Lecrae: The thing I learned is that God is not transactional, He’s relational. He doesn’t snap His fingers. He could but typically He doesn’t snap His fingers and make it go away. He walks with you through it. The reason why that is, is because that’s how the relationship is developed. If He just snaps His fingers, you don’t really appreciate Him. You don’t develop a relationship with Him. You don’t learn how you and Him are interconnected. You just have a genie now and you have a microwave, you push a button and then your food comes up. But He’s saying, “No, I want to cook in the kitchen with you. I want to chop up the onions with you. I want to handle everything with you. This is a bonding opportunity for us and I want you to see how I’m going to work in and through you and I want you to appreciate how much I care for you and I love you.”
Another way I would say it is, it’s like getting sick with the flu and you’ve got someone there who is making you soup, bringing you something to drink, rubbing your feet, changing your covers — that makes you greatly appreciate them for how they’re by your side. I think that’s what God is trying to do for us in that moment. Really, us wanting it to go away quickly, really shows us how much more we need to develop that closeness with God than we have in the past.
CP: While listening to some of the tracks on the album, you are very vulnerable. Can you talk about the beauty of being transparent?
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jeannie Law