Five years ago today, on March 5, 2013, I released my first—and, to date, my only—studio album, From the Land of Shadows. In past few weeks, I’ve experienced a pretty decent range of emotions, from joy to sadness and everything in between. It’s like my heart, mind, and gut are all shouting to inform me how to respond to this.

At times I wanted to make it a big deal, and at others I wanted to let it roll by like a ripple in the ocean. But I never quite felt settled. Being the feeling, sensing, heart-language-wielding Type Four that I am (Enneagram nerd alert) I can’t help but just sit with the mess of it all.

After my music career didn’t work out, and my photography career didn’t seem to gain traction, and my engineering career never took off, my identity had pretty firmly been fixed into one of deep shame. I silently dreaded the part of my story where I had to explain to someone my flicker of a career as an artist. I would either fixate on it hoping you would think I was cool, or brush past it hoping you didn’t notice how insecure I was about it.

You may be thinking, “Aw man, you’re being a little hard on yourself.” Maybe. I’m good at that! But I really think it’s deeper than self-deprecation. It’s avoidance. And at that, I’m a Jedi master, y’all.

I can’t find healing in what I’m avoiding.

So I did something uncomfortable today. I handed a few copies of the album out to some coworkers, confessing that I have guarded that part of my life because I’m (more than a little bit) ashamed that it just didn’t work out. You know what I got in return? Genuine thanks. Warm smiles.

And not one of them ran!

The truth is, I flipping love these songs. Not because they’re super great technically or artistically, but because they remind me that Spring is coming. That God is the great thawer of hearts. I love them because they’re songs that Jesus has sung over me, about me, and through me, and they’re true!

In my prayer time this morning, I re-read a couple of verses in Colossians that have come to encapsulate the entire project for me, and I gave thanks:

“For he has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Thanks for celebrating five years with me.