Thankfully, when I first started out, I landed in the midst of a creative Christian community who were working hard to build mutually supportive relationships that saw the value of encouraging new artists from the beginning. I have never failed to appreciate how rare this might be, something not easily found elsewhere. As I connected with other bands, distributors, promoters and music supporters, I realised that, simply put, I needed people. I needed people to learn from, people to support me and I needed people with patience.

My friend Neil immensely encouraged me that this was something I could really do and offered to help record my first project. He may not know it, but his belief in me, the way he took me seriously and treated me like a real artist with something to give, was what gave me the push to take those first steps.

The team at reached out to me early on, saying they were willing to distribute my material once it was released, treating me just like all the artists in their network. Revival FM invited me to do my first radio interviews and play my songs on air for the first time.

In those first few interviews I couldn’t call myself an “artist” without doing the air quotes. It took me about a year to stop doing that. Somewhere along the line I stopped pretending to be an artist and actually became one, but not without the help of a lot of people. Thankfully they saw enough potential to invest me while I was working it all out.

My band have also been on this journey from the beginning. They have seen the best and worst of me over the past few years. They’ve been subjected to trying out new songs that were complete disasters. They’ve battled through rehearsals where my voice has been less than delightful to listen to. They’ve seen my pre-gig panic of: “What am I doing here – I can’t sing!” There aren’t that many people who would have endured this process for so long and I’m grateful that God has placed me among such wise and patient friends.

While we are cultivating our gifts we’re going to make mistakes. It’s going to get messy and perhaps for a while we might just not be that good at it. What we need is to be surrounded by people who can look objectively at where we’re at, invest personally in where we’re headed and walk patiently as we go the distance.

Michael Jordan once said: “I have missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I have missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

But he didn’t succeed alone. He needed coaches to hone his skills, more experienced players to test his skills and opportunities from his team to try again after each failed attempt. In short, it takes a village. Find your village and learn from them.

As Christians, we need to create safe spaces and viable opportunities for people who are exploring their gifts to have a go. Somebody had to give Billy Graham his first opportunity to preach in church. Somebody had to give Matt Redman his first gig. Were they as great at what they do back then as they are now? Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m sure people saw their potential and created those opportunities to let them grow. Look at the disciples – they were a mess! They had gifts and potential, but so often I picture Jesus facepalming because they’d missed the point or messed up again. Yet, even in the face of incredible failure, he walked with them daily on a life-changing journey.

I’m still caught somewhere between pretending to be an artist and actually being one, but I know this for sure: if I’d given up back then, I wouldn’t be where I am now. As a great internet meme once said: “Don’t give up on your dreams because of the time it will take to accomplish them. The time will pass anyway.”

Read {PART ONE} here: You have to start somewhere, so just start.

Read {PART TWO} here: Be ok with being bad at things – for now.

Written by Amie Aitken // Follow Amie on  Twitter // Amie's  Website

Amie is singer-songwriter with a debut EP that is currently being played on radio stations worldwide. Her weekends see her off on tour but she spends much of her week as a children & families worker in a local Scottish Baptist church. She’s best known for her love of tea, cake and ridiculously high-heeled shoes.

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