In December 2018, Bethel Musician who is famously known for the song “Reckless Love” announced to his 230,000 Instagram followers that he would be taking 2019 off from music and social media. And in 2019, he did just that.
In a recent interview with Bethel Music, Asbury explained why he took a year away from music, stepped away from social media, and chose to stay home from tour.
It all started after the success of “Reckless Love,” which was ranked as the biggest Christian song in 2018 by Billboard, and the fourth biggest Christian song of the 2010s.
“It’s awesome when a blessing happens, but I was also traveling a ton,” Asbury explained to Bethel. “One day I had a come to Jesus moment with my wife. We asked the Father, ‘You’ve poured this blessing out on us, so how are you going to make a way for this to be sustainable for our family?'”
A moment he shared with his wife, was particularly pivotal in his decision to take some time off from music.
“At that moment my wife Anna reminded me of a conversation she had with our son Gabriel. She asked him if he had the choice to either travel the world and go on tour with dad to all the big cities and eat all the best food—or get a dog and stay home for a year—which would he choose? I was thinking about my response, that I would rather travel and see all the places and eat all the food. Anna told me that Gabriel responded so quickly and said, ‘Mommy that’s easy, I’d get a dog and stay home together.'”
In response, Asbury couldn’t help feel convicted by the Lord, who asked him a poignant question: “You wrote a song about being reckless and extravagant and throwing it all away for love—could you do that with your family? Could you throw away career, money accolades, and success? Because if you don’t, you might not have a family.”
Asbury, who has wanted to be a serious professional musician since he was a child, explained how stepping away from music made him feel like Abraham from the Bible.
“I felt like Abraham who prayed and prayed for a son, and when he got his son God asked Abraham to sacrifice him,” he explained. “I can imagine him walking up that mountain, and when I walk up the mountain God is going to say ‘I’ve provided something for you.'”
During Asbury’s year off, he and his family created boundaries they didn’t previously have as well as open dialogue about his career.
“I only led worship at my church once a month and declined touring opportunities,” he said. “I even stopped writing music for the first 6 months and waited for God to speak or reveal a significant next step.”
In his return post to Instagram, Asbury announced a new single that he wrote during his year off.
“This last year was really important to my family and me and I’d appreciate it if you took the time to check it out,” Asbury wrote.
But the past year was not just about writing songs. In fact, for the first six months, Asbury did not write a single one.
“That first 6 months was difficult after doing so much and winning so many awards left and right,” he shared. “I always knew that wasn’t what life was all about, but going from that into nothing—a winter of the soul—I went stir crazy for the first few months. I wasn’t hearing anything from God, just silence. I kept thinking, ‘What the heck am I doing?’”
He explained an exessive need to always produce, sharing how his year off was counterintuitive to that.
“I learned that you don’t have to create something to be called worthy,” he said.
I think our immediate response to the Lord when He asks us to slow down is, ‘Okay I’m going to slow down, but what do you want me to get out of this?'” He added. “That was my mindset going in, thinking I was going to get this crazy revelation and this crazy song, or the next big things are going to come out of this season like it’s a formula. God is a mystery, never 1+1=2. He wants to cultivate trust and faith in who He is.”
By the end of summer 2019, Asbury finally decided that he was going to write. It was only when he took God out of this boxed-in idea of who He is that he started to hear Him speak.
“There was a 3-4 week period where songs were flowing out of me,” Asbury shared. “I couldn’t shut it off or even go to sleep, and when I did I would just have dreams about song ideas. I think I wrote eight songs in two weeks. It was wild. It felt like the most prolific writing season of my whole life. It felt like the heavens opened, and all of a sudden, God was speaking. It was awesome.”
One of the songs that came out of the written sessions was “The Father’s House.”
He began writing the song years ago, during a tour in California. It was during one of the days off, when Asbury penned the words “You never want it perfect, you just want my heart.”
Later, during the off-year, Ben Hastings of Hillsong United went to visit Asbury at his family’s home in Michigan, he encouraged Asbury to finish that song. They finished the song, and “The Father’s House” was born.
“When you come into the Father’s house, everything you’re going through—anxiety, fear, shame—has to stop at the door because you come into peace,” Asbury concluded. “In one moment all of that can go, and the peace that has been in His heart since eternity can transform you forever.”
Check out Asbury’s full song “The Father’s House” below.