KILLING THE MONSTER
So we know the monster lives. Now what? A well-fed monster can gain enormous influence over the person it dwells within—an influence so strong that outside voices of reason, and even the voice of God, can often go unheard. Feeling responsible for feeding and creating the monster, we become determined to find a way to break through. We must find a way to kill the monster!
I have found the task of dismantling the monster an extremely difficult and seemingly impossible undertaking. As egos grow, the monster raises a massive defense shield to protect his or her ego from outside intruders. The defense shield repels even the closest friends and loved ones as it perceives them as enemies. The monster surrounds itself with “yes” men and women who are plentiful and standing in line just to get the opportunity to hang out with the monster. Monsters like to hang out with other monsters, and anyone who speaks truth and wisdom quickly becomes the enemy.
When I married my wife over a decade ago, I entered into a celebrity family. My step-daughter is a multi-Platinum selling, GRAMMY®- nominated artist who was mentored by some of the best Dr. Frankensteins in the music industry. She found herself worshipped by millions of fans at a very young age. In her case, becoming a celebrity at fifteen years old wasn’t planned. She simply wanted to sing. I think it’s impossible for anyone under twenty- five to even begin to comprehend the implications of becoming famous. A quick look at the lives of most childhood stars shows the negative effects being worshipped often leaves behind. Their adult life is filled with trouble as they attempt to fill the emptiness the childhood stardom leaves within them. None of us were designed by God to be worshipped, so it would be ridiculous to expect a young person to walk through a celebrity experience perfectly unscathed.
Watching my step-daughter struggle with an ego that was planted and fertilized by the music industry helped me understand some of the difficulty artists encounter. Thankfully, Diana was by her side to help protect her from some of the craziness. Even so, the struggle to maturity was enormous. When one is surrounded by people willing to attend to one’s every need, basic survival skills become skewed. As with any human, if someone serves our every need, then it’s impossible to realize our true dependence on God. What happens when the “yes” people disappear? Complete emptiness is inevitable. In the case of my step-daughter, she was abandoned by many of her “yes” people the minute she encountered a difficult time in her life. Many in the Christian music industry abandoned and shunned her at a time when she needed their love the most. Thankfully, she had a mom and grandmother who cared for her way beyond any success she had achieved. Many prayers were lifted to God on her behalf; and as He promises, God was there to fill her emptiness. I can’t imagine what it’s like for a childhood celebrity who doesn’t know God or who doesn’t have friends and family who lead them in His direction and intercede with prayer. Interestingly, today if you asked Diana if she could travel back in time, would she have allowed her fifteen- year-old daughter to enter the music industry at such a young age, her reply would be a resounding “no.”
God gives us great examples in nature. One of the greatest is watching a mother bird with her babies. She feeds them and attends their every need while they are younglings. Once they begin to show signs of strength, she pushes them out of the nest in order to teach them to fly, which is similar to our role as artist managers. I not only want to see artists fly, I want to see see them fly with the integrity and the purpose God created them for. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing an artist live their lives according to God’s plan.
My struggle with helping artists build platforms is similar to that of parenting. No matter how intentional we are with mentoring, it is impossible to control the outcome. I’m often reminded of the old saying, “You can buy them books and send them to school, but you can’t make them learn.” As much as I would like to tame every monster I encounter, the only one I can directly control is the one that desires to reside in me. Maybe my personal experience in battling the flesh can be used to help artists realize and understand the existence of the monster that fights to control their minds and actions. While it may be a daunting task, it’s one I feel called by God to take on. Exposing the monster early on and encouraging artists to allow God’s Word to be their manual for living life will significantly impact the monster survival rate. After all, God is the ultimate monster slayer.