Story Behind the Music: Scars by TobyMac

Video Credits: “Scars” by TobyMac

TobyMac just released his album The Elements last month. I highly recommend checking it out – every song is unique stylistically, but the album has an EDM feel of sorts.

Maybe you’ve heard “Scars” on Resound Radio and wondered what it’s about?

In a YouTube video, TobyMac says,

“The people I love the most are going out facing the pain, the struggle, and the temptation of this crazy world. I’m very aware of the scars that come with life’s journey. But sometimes we insulate those things from the ones we love.”

He goes on to say, “I wrote this one for my boy. I wanted to let him know that I’m here for him and that and that God is there for him. So lift your head up, my son, to where your help comes from.”

I’ll admit it. I’m a huge TobyMac fan and I probably have Internet-stalked him way too much. His oldest son is twenty and in college. It’s so easy to relate to the message of this song as a fellow college student.

Transitioning from being a “kid” to an “adult” is definitely a journey. College comes with more independence and life becomes so much different than what you’ve previously known.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed about change. Am I really following God’s path? Is this the right major/career to pursue? What if God calls me completely away from the place I’ve known for years?

And along the way, mistakes are going to happen. I showed up to a professor’s house for a party a week early! I completely misread the date. While it was super embarrassing at the time, I learned an important lesson from it.

Now I triple-check dates to make sure I’m at the right place at the right time.

Maybe you’ve made some mistakes along the way too.  Maybe some have left scars. But you don’t have to dwell in guilt or shame.

I absolutely love the chorus of this song:

You are not alone
We’ve all been there
Scars come with livin’
You are not alone
We’ve all been there (been there, been there, oh), oh
So lift your head, lift your head
Lift your head to where your help comes from
Yeah, you, you’re not alone
We’ve all been there
Scars come with livin’

Psalm 121:1-2 (ESV) says,

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lordwho made heaven and earth.”

Even though change in life can be intimidating, it’s so comforting to know that we don’t have to go through anything alone.

This world may leave scars. But God promises to never leave or forsake us. No matter where we go or how badly we mess up, He’s there.

What’s your favorite line from Scars? What verse helps you the most when you’re feeling overwhelmed or lonely?

Don’t Let Doubts Defeat You

It’s that time of year we have all been dreading: midterms. Midterms and other exams can really be draining, especially when it comes to your hardest classes. So this week, I thought I could bring some encouragement for when our work load becomes more than what we can handle.

There is a saying that goes around: “God won’t give you more than you can handle”. Is this a true statement? If we look at 1 Corithians 10:13,

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Is this what Paul is telling us? Let’s look at this as a college point of view.

There will be at least one college course here at school that you will struggle with. You may be consuming all your time studying for that class, but your grades still don’t look so great. This can be really frustrating and mostly discouraging, sometimes you doubt your ability to succeed. College isn’t meant to be easy. Here at Cedarville University, you will be challenged academically and spiritually to be ready for the real world. Sometimes a class seems too difficult, and the work for the rest of the semester seems too much. And the work load before doing it, already puts you down. To me, I want to be self-sufficient, and when getting grades I am not pleased about, I tend to let it bring me down and worry about what the rest of college is going to look like.

But the Bible tells us to not worry about the future as long as we trust in the Lord and not our own ability, God will provide. He will provide you a path to follow:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

So this is my advice: If you are going to be defeated by a college course, then at least give it your best effort. Give it your best shot with the abilites God has given you. Use your free time outside of classes wisely. But don’t be absorbed by what your grades look like too. Grades are important, sure, but your growth in character and your growth in knowledge is more important. And the only way to grow is through the challenges that life throws at us:

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:1-5).

We can’t be successful at everything, and you might face challenges that seem to be too much for you, but don’t work against God’s plans for you and let your doubts defeat you.

So back to the question, does God not give us more than we can handle? Well, this is only partially true. I think at least one class here at Cedarville is going to be a class that we may not be able to handle with our own strength. And this only portrays our weakness and how much we need God’s strength. So it’s not really about if we can handle it or not, it’s more about that God will help us through all we have been given, as long as we trust and have faith that He will provide.

Fresh Encouragement for a New Start

Opportunity can be Overwhelming…

It’s the start of a new semester and we’re starting our second full week back from break. We’ve started new classes in new schedule with some new friends, and for some of us we started life in a new room. After three weeks of rest I would argue that there is something refreshing about coming back to campus to meet up with friends and prepare for a new set of challenges. Unfortunately, though, these new opportunities don’t come without cost. Some of us are staring at the hardest semester of our college career right in the eyes, some of us will be filled with new anxieties, others will fight to maintain academic performance, fail to balance social and school life, and some will just struggle.

I know some of you reading this are trying to understand what my point is or why I would bother to dig any of that up. The truth is, at first, I had no idea why I did either. In the end, that might just be the point. With so much “new” being thrown on our plate we can get lost and overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all. It’s so easy to worry. While I hate to be the bearer of cliché suggestions, when these challenges come your way, the best place to turn to is God.

When you’re anxious: Psalm 43:5, Matthew 6:34, Philippians 4:6-7

When it feels like what you’re doing isn’t good enough: 2 Corinthians 12:9, Romans 8:39, Psalm 138:8

And, of course, never be afraid to go to your friends, or even your professors, when you just need a friend, because “…if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:12).

Whether it’s just another semester or the final semester leading up to the rest of your life, we’re all experiencing some kind of change approaching at breakneck speed. And if it gets to be too much, never be hesitant to ask for prayer.

Many blessings to you all as we start another semester!!

Photo taken and edited by Zach Bevins