Identity || Spoken Word – Stephanie Baker

Check out my new video of me performing one of my original spoken word poems!

 

FREE Download

Have a great Wednesday!

Advertisements

Being You

How do you be yourself in a world that is screaming at you to do the opposite?

I don’t know.  I’m still trying to figure it out.  Actually, let me say that differently . . .

I know how, but I’m still trying to figure out how to completely let go of the words that come against me regarding . . . well, being me.

You probably know what I mean.

It’s easier to just fly under the radar.  It’s easier to not go against the grain.  It’s easier to avoid conflicts by not discussing particular topics and to dance around the deafening questions and silent assumptions of others.

It’s easier.

I know that being you is uncomfortable at times.  I know that being you can bring moments of walking alone when others don’t understand.

And even if we have found our identity in God, it is very easy to backtrack and worry a little too much about what others are thinking or speaking about us.

The bottom line is . . .

Life is too short for us to not be who we were created to be.

Plain and simple.

And yes, I’m ranting a little.  This is something really personal and present in my life right now.  I just know this is something we all deal with along the way, and maybe you need to hear these words too.

I changed a lot of things this year.  I changed my name, when I got married.  I changed the frequency of when and how I release music.  I branched out into more experimental electronic music (which has been my vision all along).  I also changed my hair color.

It would have been easier for me to just continue to produce what I knew would sell.  Worship music sells easier, but that (for me) is not a good reason to release a worship song.

My closest friends know, I am a worshipper to the core.  This has only increased since I started to make the decision to trust God and release the stories of what He has been teaching me throughout this journey.

The vision is to start conversations.  To stir up imagination and creativity.  To live more boldly and help others do so as well.  This is the me I’ve known I needed to be for a long time, but it took years of performing and pretending and being too afraid to stop the cycle to bring me to this place.

Life is too short to stay comfortable.

Life it too short to try to keep everyone happy.

The way I see it is this.  If there is only one person (per song or video I release) who is truly impacted by this vision, it will all have been worth the time and energy.  It will have been worth it all.

Because there are people in my life who went out on a limb to trust God by being themselves.

If they hadn’t, I know I would not be alive.

Life is too short for us to not be who we were created to be.

Be brave.

It will be worth it all in the end.

Fallen Man

With only a few more days before I release my next video and single, I am filled with nervous excitement and joy.  Fallen Man came out of the blue.  It wasn’t planned.

I had actually planned to release an entirely different song.  However, after trying to record it over and over, without getting anywhere, I decided to just leave it alone for the moment.  That is something I’ve learned to do of late.  Rather than beating a dead horse, it’s better to just move forward and try something different.

Fallen Man began one night, several weeks ago, when I was wide-awake and not remotely close to falling asleep.  So, I wound up in my studio jotting down the first few lines, wondering as I wrote,

“Where is this going?”

Somewhere within the next day or so, I sat down and began to compose the music.  It was quick and spontaneous.  I recorded the entire song in less than an afternoon.  The best part was that I hadn’t even finished the lyrics.  I had no idea how the song was going to end.

Yes, I recorded my vocals without writing an ending, but I knew the ending by the time the track came to the end.  It hit me and I kept recording.  By the time I stopped the recording, I could barely see through my tears.  I understood where the song was going.

I mixed and mastered the track over the next couple days, but I was already beginning to cast people for the music video.  Crazy, right?  This song that had come when I least expected it was turning into a production.

For the last few weeks, I had the pleasure of working with some friends I’ve known since my teens, as well as some brand new ones I met over the summer.  Special thanks to all the beautiful people involved.

I am so excited to share the final product with you!  In the meantime, check out a promo and behind the scenes video!

 

Be Careful What You Say

It’s just about midnight and I’m wide awake writing. Rather than sleeping, my mind has been preoccupied with thoughts regarding the weight of our words and how each word we choose to speak has value. Whether they are deemed (by us) as neutral, negative or positive, the words we speak matter.

I’m trying to get more of a grasp on using my words with greater caution. I’m trying to think my thoughts through with a lot more precision and measure those thoughts with grace before they roll off my tongue.

I can think of more than a few occasions where I spoke too quickly and immediately saw the result of my lack of forethought and grace.

I can also think of more than a few occasions where someone spoke too quickly to me and left me standing there with their words playing over and over in my head.

We all have those words. The words we battle late into the night. The words we counter with prayer. The words that have affected the way we see and do, the way we ourselves speak.

Words cannot be erased and we need to remember that.

Sure, time heals wounds. But maybe life is too short for us to keep adding to the pre-existing wounds. Maybe we need to focus on healing the wounds that are already there.

Isn’t it interesting how quickly the positive words can fade, and all it takes is that one dagger of a word to find its way in and park itself right in front for years?

There’s no amount of “I’m sorry”s or “I didn’t mean it”s that can change the fact that words stick.  They stick easier than they peel off.

Which is why we need to be so careful. We don’t know what has already been said.

Be careful what you say
words are violent weapons
of love and
of war

Be careful how you say them
when you say them
they play over
and over
forever on repeat
a thousand apologies
cannot erase their sound
as they play round
and round
louder and more
distorted than before

Be careful what you say
because I have plenty of words
already playing
and I am unable
to erase their sound
as they play round
and round

ENOUGH: A True Story

It was October of last year, I had just lead a session of worship at a Women’s Conference.  As I left the piano and went to the back of the room to my seat, I was instantly hit with a thought.

I was going to write a spoken word about my battle with an eating disorder and addiction.

Wait…WHAT?!?!?

I felt the weight of the project hit me like a brick wall.  I knew in that moment if I only ever pushed myself to finish one project . . . it needed to be this.

I began to jot down the first few phrases on my phone.  They flowed so easily that I felt I had to stop and catch my breath.

I turned off my phone and waited.  And perhaps, I dragged my feet a little.

I dragged my feet because I knew that this project had no room for cutting corners.  It had no room for settling.  It would require me to push myself into vulnerable places and stretch my creativity beyond what I was accustomed to.  I also knew if it was going to be done right, I would need to find actors, as well as a special effects makeup artist.

A month or so later, I opened the same note on my phone and wrote the rest.  And then, I put it away until I knew it was the right time.

I didn’t even think about it until last month, when I woke up on my day off and knew it was time.  I got out of bed and recorded the spoken word narration in my Batman pj pants (just being real) and began to compose the score.

That week I started contacting those who would be acting out the scenes and poured myself into drawing out storyboards.  I visited thrift stores for props and what I couldn’t find I would borrow or make myself.

Let me just tell you how amazing my family and friends are.  I realized for the first shoot with a lovely young gal, I hadn’t even really told her what I was working on, yet she and my husband were blindly following me to do things that probably looked extremely odd and random—no questions asked.  They are the best.

Not cutting corners meant I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than what I saw in my head.  And that was amazing.  As I went into places I had never been before, God provided the means to make the vision manifest right before my eyes.

The entire experience was filled with growth, honest conversations and an even greater level of inner healing.  I am grateful to each person involved in this project.  Each one of you were vital in seeing this from start to finish.

I will be posting ENOUGH on Facebook, YouTube and my website tomorrow (8.8.17).  If you are touched by the video, I ask that you share the link and pass it around.  Every share counts.  Even if it only touches one person . . . it will all have been worth the time, effort and expense of this endeavor.

Thank you all for your continued love and support.  Check back tomorrow for the link!

Do What Scares You

Tell me your greatest fear
and I will tell you of a love
that is far greater.

A love that will cover every doubt
in your mind
until you find
the fear no longer there.

One of my favorite quotes this year has been,

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

It has been a reminder that fear doesn’t always have to be a negative force in our lives.  Fear can be the very thing that propels us straight into freedom unimaginable.

I’m not talking about reckless behavior.  I’m talking about making decisions that will no longer enable us to live in a paralyzing complacency, and to stop allowing our emotions to dictate the course of our destiny.

For several months, I have been struggling back and forth on finishing up a project.  A spoken word written on the topic of body image.  It’s a large part of my testimony.

It all started one Sunday at church.  The idea came to me in an instant, but excitement was followed by fear.  I would be going into territory that was unknown and new,  while being completely vulnerable with my story.

Every once in awhile, I would pace around my room and begin to write phrase after phrase.  In between those times, I admit I tried to find as many other projects to attempt to start instead.  And then, I would have the same weighty feeling come over me.  Again and again.

I was afraid, but I knew it was something I needed to follow through with, because maybe there was one person in the universe who needed to hear my story.

And for that one person, it would be worth pushing through the fear.

I had a dream a  couple years ago that had a tremendous impact on how I see the world.  In the dream, I found myself speaking with a woman who had a dark past.  I took her hands and said, with great relief and joy,

“Had I been afraid, you would not be here.”

When I woke from the dream, I had a new perspective.  I began to think about how my decisions to choose love over fear, on a daily basis, affects not only my life course but the lives of people I may not even know yet.

Every single day, I try to ask myself,

What if fear was no longer holding you back?

What would I do with my time?  How would I choose to speak and act?  How would it affect the lives of those in my sphere of influence?

By God’s grace, I finished writing the spoken word this week.  I plan to compose and record the audio shortly, as well as begin filming the visuals.  I’m glad I didn’t let myself stay afraid, and I trust that He will see me through the rest of the creative process.

What about you?

What is something that scares you, but you know in your heart it will set you free?

 

Hello from Kansas!

This morning I woke up at a truck stop in Emporia, Kansas. By eight o’clock, I had successfully cleaned myself up and had many a conversation with lady truck drivers and fellow travelers. One in particular happened to be from California. We chatted a bit while we brushed our teeth. It felt strange, yet normal.

After living on a shuttle bus for almost two weeks, I feel like I could live anyway and live off of much less than I ever imagined. I can’t help but think that God has been preparing me for this all along, as I reflect and look back at all the steps that have led me here. From all of my mission trips, to my days as a street performer, leaving home, resigning from good paying jobs on a whim, following His light straight into the dark. I am watching in amazement as God uses every experience to strengthen and prepare me for each adventure.

His mercies are new every morning, and He has been supplying me with grace upon grace. As each wall of my comfort zone is stripped away, I find an even greater depth of intimacy with Him. Even in the midst of recuperating from a cold, I have seen His sovereign hand resting upon me. In my moments of exhaustion, He has met me here.

I’m a shower-every-single-day kind of girl. I like my hair to be clean and I like to smell nice. It’s been a couple days since my last shower and I have now become quite accustomed to bathing with baby wipes and washing my face in the Walmart restroom. It honestly makes me laugh. I welcome the awkward and the uncomfortable. Life is much more joyful.

We are now on the final stretch of the tour. Our last stop is in Dallas, Texas. The closest I’ve been to Texas has been the airport, so I am rather excited to see a bit more of the state before I head home on Monday.

Special thanks to all of the truckers who put up with me running around the parking lot with my camera. Also, special thanks to the Flying J truck stop for providing me with the opportunity of purchasing this crazy wolf shirt that I am wearing today.

Align My Eyes with Yours

We made it safely to St. Louis, Missouri yesterday evening.  I admit that most of the days are starting to blur together and I find myself constantly going back to my schedule to figure out the day and the state we are currently in.

That said, I am adjusting well.  I am getting used to sleeping in my tiny bunk, which is a top bunk.  I am hitting my head less on the ceiling and figuring out more efficient ways to change my clothes while horizontal.  It’s strangely comforting, even though it reminds me of what it would be like to sleep inside an MRI machine.

I am at peace.  My mind is clear.  I feel like I am returning to my usual self, for the first time in awhile.  More and more, I am realizing how stressful my job was and I am so thankful God brought me out of that situation.

Lord, You are good.

I tell people all the time how important it is to get away and gain new perspective.  To step away and refocus.  Sometimes our dreams are right in front of us, but we can’t see them until we look at them from a different angle.

“Make me know Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day.”—Psalm 25:4-5

This is where I’m at.  Throughout the last six days of traveling, God has been solidifying the answers to decisions I have been praying about and revealing His plans for me in a way I wasn’t able to see before I refocused.

Regardless of how long this trip lasts, I know I will be returning with restored vision and a fresh confidence to walk boldly into the direction He is calling me.

“Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.”—Psalm 86:11

Unite my heart to fear Your name.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, so reveal to me Your holiness.  Bind my heart with Your wisdom.  

“O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling places.”—Psalm 43:3

Let Your truth be the filter that guards my mind.  Lord, let me not worry about any other voice but Yours.  

Align my eyes with Yours.  Give me eyes to see what You see.

 

Wait. Listen. Respond.

Wait.

Invest a moment of your time to stop and . .  .

Listen.

He is always speaking, always moving.

And when He speaks . . .

Respond and

Act.

Take that next step.

He will meet you there.

We stayed in Fort Wayne, Indiana last night.  A friend of the band blessed us with a place to stay and a shower.  Yes, it was the best shower I have had in quite some time.  I feel like a woman once more. 😉  One of their dogs even randomly appeared and snored by my side all night.  It was just like being at home with Chad.

At this moment, the bus is headed to Chicago.  I am doing well, even with quite a bit of sleep deprivation.  God is here and He is good.

I told a five year old today that he needed to pray for me to have energy like him.  He prayed for me on the spot,

“Thank you, Jesus.  I ask you to give Stephanie a lot of energy.  Help her to also do a lot of silly things.  Amen.”