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#464 - "I Can Just Be Me" by Laura Story
Laura shares about the beauty of letting God write your story as He intended.

Laura Story has lived out an almost indescribable story of faith, grace and blessings. Her breakout song, "Blessings," came out of a challenging season when her husband, Martin, suffered a brain tumor early in their marriage in 2006.

Besides recently welcoming new baby girl, Josie, to their family, Laura has released her newest album, God of Every Story. The album contains 10 compelling new vibrant and insightful songs, and one re-recording of "Grace" that she penned for her album.
God of Every Story is a Spirit-filled and emotional listening experience. All 11 songs are catchy, worshipful and biblically focused. If you liked "Blessings," then you absolutely must have this album. Laura is an anointed songwriter and she has a profound way of bringing me to the Throne Room of grace with her poignant words, tender singing, and inspirational truths. I get welled up singing along with several of the emotion laden songs, especially "I Can Just Be Me," "God of Every Story," "Who but Jesus," "You Gave Your Life" and "He Will Not Let Go." If you are looking for the inspirational album of the year, look no further than this album.
God has gifted Laura as a storyteller, and like in her previous offerings, the highlights are found in her vulnerable prayer-songs, including lead single, "I Can Just Be Me." There is a lyrical nugget for Christians looking for words to express their deep feelings of knowing that this fallen world is not their home: "I've been living like an orphan / Trying to belong here / But it's just not my home." I had the opportunity to interview Laura about her great new song, "I Can Just Be Me." Here are the answers to the questions I asked her.
Please tell me the personal story behind writing this song.
I've worked with my producer Ed Cash for about 16 years now, and he really knows me as well as anyone. Songwriting for me is like journaling. It's how I process life, how I massage the truths of God into my daily life. It's not enough to just be a Christian on Sunday and hear these truths and learn from the Bible if you can't figure out what that has to do with your life.

The song "I Can Just Be Me" is a song about roles. I play a lot of different roles in my life. I work at a church. I am a worship leader. I am a touring artist and songwriter. I am a mom of a little girl, Josie. I am the wife of a disabled husband, Martin, who had a brain tumor. With all of these roles, it's amazing how that's not even the most exhausting part. The exhausting part is when I try to take up roles that aren't me. Like when I try to write my own stories, manage my circumstances, and change myself into somebody God hasn't designed me to be. Or, like when I try to change things that are out of my control.

I'm learning that it's not only blasphemous to try to play God in this life it's also pretty futile because I'm not God. I'm learning that I can be the best me that I can be when I acknowledge God as being Sovereign over all my other roles in life. The more I acknowledge Him as the Perfect, Holy, All-Sufficient God that He is, then I can just be me.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song? 

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (The Voice): "I begged the Lord three times to liberate me from its anguish; and finally He said to me, "My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness." So ask me about my thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on—I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of the Anointed One at home within me. I am at peace and even take pleasure in any weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and afflictions for the sake of the Anointed because when I am at my weakest, He makes me strong."
What is the takeaway message?
That passage in 2nd Corinthians about Paul's thorn in the flesh makes it very clear that God isn't leaving that thorn there because He's mad at him, or not powerful enough to remove it. God says that He's leaving Paul in a state of weakness so that God's strength can be seen all the more in his weak life.

For those of us who have some sort of circumstance they wish was different, like my husband's health or someone's job, whatever it is, to consider that our role. Our main responsibilities in life are laid out in Micah 6:8, "to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God." The rest of it is up to God.

I try to take up these other things and think once I've got Micah 6:8 figured out, I'll do the other stuff. As if I'll ever accomplish that in this lifetime. I feel like so many of our problems come because we try to play roles that God never intended us to play. How many spouses out there are desperately trying to change the hearts of their spouses? How many parents are desperately trying to modify the behavior of their children? It's not that we don't have roles of sharpening in other people's lives, but those are good reminders that our roles are to walk like Christ, be a Christ-like example to other people, and pray that God would do His business of changing people's hearts.
I've been doing all that I can
To hold it all together
Piece by piece
I've been feeling like a failure
Trying to be braver
Than I could ever be
It's just not me

So be my healer
Be my comfort
Be my peace
‘Cause I can be broken
I can be needy
Lord, I need You now to be
Be my God
So I can just be me

I've been living like an orphan
Trying to belong here
But it's just not my home
I've been holding on so tightly
To all the things that I think
That satisfy my soul
But I'm letting go

So be my Father
My mighty Warrior
Be my King
‘Cause I can be scattered, frail, and shattered
Lord, I need You now to be
Be my God
So I can just be me

‘Cause I was lost in this dark world
Until I was finally found in you
So now I'm needing, desperately pleading
Oh Lord, be all to me

Be my Savior
Be my lifeline
Won't you be my everything
‘Cause I'm so tired of trying to be someone I was never meant to be
Be my God
Please be my God
Be my God
So I can just be me
As Laura and I discussed this song and her new album, we talked about how parenthood is one of life's greatest blessings. I can hear Laura's new motherhood seasoning the lyrics in many of the songs on her album. The thought of God sending His only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins takes on a profound impact when you think of sacrificing your own child. She manages to tell stories, worship God, and share her deep feelings all at the same time in her songs, which is truly a gift to the Church. This album is as much Laura's story as any album I've heard by her. She shared that this album is the most authentically portrayed picture of herself that she's ever recorded. 
Considering the awards and high profile of her last album, Blessings, I feel that her new album delivers on an even deeper level. There are many stories that I hope to learn from Laura about the songs on this great new album, and the perfect marriage for me for this devotional ministry is an artist like Laura who shares biblical truth in a creative and personal way. "I Can Just Be Me" is in essence Laura's journal entry to God. Our blessing as her listeners is to join in and share in Laura's sincere prayers to God. 
This song represents the truth of the Christian walk. You die more to yourself and more to your pride and ambition every day when you are a follower of Jesus. That's what Jesus asks of us when He says, "Follow Me." When you drop everything and follow Jesus, you need to die to yourself and that's when you truly live. Jesus calls us to have life, and life abundantly in Him.

You can drop the pretenses and roles that aren't really you, and just be yourself when you've abandoned the work of trying to be good enough or trying to change someone. Rather than trying to be manipulative and controlling, we need to just be ourselves and let God be God. Trying to pretend you are someone you aren't is exhausting. Jesus doesn't ask us to cover our weaknesses. It's through our weakness that His power is made perfect and He makes us strong in Him. That's cause to celebrate the freedom that this song proclaims, "I can just be me." Amen to that!

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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