I grew up in church. But I don't feel free. | with Tasha Layton

I grew up in church. But I don't feel free. | with Tasha Layton

In this exclusive interview with Tasha Layton, she talks about how her #1 hit song, “Look What You’ve Done” is the testimony of her life put into song. After growing up in the church and having all the resources you could hope for she said she still struggled to find freedom.

View this video with Tasha, and other interviews with JOY FM artists videos on the JOY FM YouTube Channel.

If you’ve grown up in the church, there seems to be this idea that, because you’ve had all of this church experience and you’ve been surrounded by these people, you won’t have those struggles with anxiety or depression or suicidal thoughts. That you’re weak if you do. Your faith is weak.

Tasha Layton:
I think I lived tormented for so long because just like you said, I had grown up in the church. I had been to seminary. I was a worship leader and a pastor at a church. And I didn’t understand how I could have all of these resources and read all the self-help books, go to therapy, worship, read my Bible, and yet I didn’t feel free.

I didn’t understand how I could have all of these resources […] and yet I didn’t feel free.

Tasha Layton

The whole thing was that I knew the truth in my head, but it hadn’t moved to my heart fully. Some of it had, but not all of it.

So what I needed was to figure out, “Okay, where’s the breakdown?” That took me digging into my childhood. Things I thought I was dealing with as an adult were simply things even from my childhood. Subtle things that had happened. That had created a wound. That had turned into me making a vow to never let anyone know the real me, or this or that. I lied to myself or the enemy lied and planted a seed to me.

Then I had to figure out, “Okay, God, where were you in those moments?” “What do you want to say to me now? I think that process of inner healing was really what made the difference for me. It moved truth from my head to my heart, and I felt it in those moments of Jesus. Straight from the horse’s mouth, telling me, “You are perfect the way I made you. You are good enough. You are called.” “You are this.” “You are that.” “You aren’t this or that.”

Hearing it from Him in those moments… Because God stands outside of time because he created it. He was there when things happened to us, but he’s still there. So we can invite him back into those memories to help reshape it, and tell us the truth about what happened, where he was, and what he wants to say. Rather than maybe what we took from it.

Speaking of, thank you for being a part of our Healing Out Loud video series. If you haven’t seen Tasha’s story, you can go check it out on our YouTube channel, on a website, joyfmonline.org. Your song, Look What You’ve Done, it’s resonating so much with people because there’s a story behind it. I’ve heard you say that this song is like your testimony put to song.

Tasha Layton:
Yeah. I think I lived a lot of years wondering how it was all going to work out. I think I battled depression and suicidal thoughts from being wounded in the church and searching in my faith. Through all of that, I just questioned who I was. I had a lot of misconceptions about who God was, and who I was or should be. I should be this. I should be that. God needed to uproot all of that stuff. And for me to heal, I had to figure out, “Okay, where are the lies in my life?” “What are the lies I’m believing?” And “What am I even lying to myself about?” I think it’s healthy for us to ask that question every day, “What am I lying to myself about?”

“What do I need to get honest about?” And so one of my favorite lines in the song is “I thought I was too broken, but now I see, you were just breaking new ground inside of me.”

All of those years, crying out to God in my car. Weeping. Questioning my life and wondering, “God, am I ever going to feel free?” “Am I ever going to get to do what I feel called to do?” Knowing that, man! A breakthrough was right around the corner, and I didn’t know, in the grand scheme of things, how close it was. I love this song because it is my testimony. I love turning that finger of shame that the enemy points at you, or you point at you, or other people point at you, turning it around and saying, “Nope, it’s not about what I’ve done or not done. It’s not about my misgivings or shortcomings or failures at all. It’s about what you’ve done, God, and your grace in my life.” Because in all those other religions, I’ve found that you’re striving to reach God. But in Christianity, in the gospel, He’s in pursuit of you. There’s something about him doing the work. True grace, and not works.

I love that line too because I do a word of the year, and I’ve been doing it for about 10 years now. This year my word is “Cultivate.” So every time I hear that he’s breaking new ground, I think about how when you cultivate the land, you have to not… You have to break up the ground and then churn it and flip it over so he can start something new.

Tasha Layton:
And it’s hard work. Sometimes you have to dig out roots that have been there for years. Hello, our lives. You’re hacking away with a shovel and all this stuff, and you’re having to level the ground. There’s a lot of work to it.

What I love about what you just said is that in the winter season it looks like everything is dormant, that nothing’s happening. But that tends to be one of the most important seasons because all of the nutrients are coming back into the ground. There’s so much going on under the surface. I think when you find yourself in a winter season of life, where there’s no greenery, there’s no growth that you can see, just know that God is working while you’re waiting in that season.

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