'God Ripped up the Lies': Christian Artist Tasha Layton Guides Readers to Freedom with First Book
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Christian singer and songwriter Tasha Layton is adding something new to her repertoire – she's now a first-time author too.
Her new book is titled Look What You've Done, which is also the name of her wildly popular single. Layton sat down with CBN News' Studio 5 during the Virginia stop of her tour with TobyMac. She shared life stories from the pages of her new book. And she shared tales from her busy day-to-day schedule.
"We are busy bees. It has been a very full season of life. A lot of shows I think I did 150-something shows last year. You know, being a wife and a mom and having a husband who tours too. You know, it's complex. I like to describe it like a 3,000-piece puzzle where all the pieces look the same and they're all the same color, and your job is to put it together every single day by 8 a.m. It's crazy, so that's a bit of our life. We toured a lot last year and we're doing it as a family now. We have our two littles with us... and that has been a sweet season and also hard. It's hard, but it's worth it," she continued.
Family is very important to Tasha. She often tours in an RV, just so everyone can tag along for the musical journey.
"It's a giant RV that can sleep 8 people and we have it slam-packed some weekends. But it's been fun. I mean, I've had a learning curve with the RV. What host goes to what and don't mix them up you know. And you know the generator went out, what do we do? What do we do with this? What do we do with that? It's been a learning curve. It's been fun," she told CBN News.
Tasha managed to write the new memoir while touring and still being a wife and mother. She shared why this book was so important for her to write and more important for people to read.
"Well, interestingly enough, a lot of the content in this book I wrote years ago, before I even had kids, I had started to write down stories. I felt like I had lived in 10 lives. So, I started to write down stories where there was maybe an interesting thing about my life, but something that God had shown me during that season. And I just started to write them down so I wouldn't forget. And then over time, that grew into 40 some thousand words. And I was like, okay, maybe there's something to this. That's when last year we sort of pieced all that together in a way that was accessible for the reader. I love it because it's short chapters that you can pick up and put back down, and a little bit of my life meets psychology, meets scripture. It's sort of like a memoir meets devotional," Tasha continued.
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"I think with how vulnerable I was in the book, I really tried to just say things I thought would help people. I think when you are fully honest about your story, that's the thing that really helps people. That is what helps people know I'm not crazy, and I'm not alone. So, I really did get vulnerable in the book, and when I went back to record the audiobook," she continued.
"I went home the first day, and I was just fried, I was mush. I told my husband, I said, 'It's one thing to write about something on paper. It's another to read it aloud or have to reread it and not get choked up, or not, you know. Just have to take a break.' There were moments I did have to take a break because I think I emotionally relived a lot of that along the way."
There is also a message in the book's subtitle, which reads, "The Lies We Believe and the Truth that Sets Us Free."
"Yeah, I think one of the biggest lies that I believed started as a child. I was seeing things through that lens as an adult and didn't even realize it was. I have to prove to the world that I am good. It stemmed from a nightmare I had when I was five or six years old, and I was sitting on a counselor's couch in Colorado at 30 years old."
"I had never shared that dream with anyone. As I shared it, I thought it was just going to be some insignificant thing that is normal for a child to experience or whatever. Little did I know as I shared that dream the tears started to flow because I realized I took a message from that early on. I've spent my life trying to protect myself and prove to the world that I'm good. It was exhausting, and when I shared it I thought, 'Oh my gosh, like, I didn't know the power this had over my life.' The enemy got a hook in me from a young age that caused me to believe that."
"An enemy is not strong enough to take us out. We're made in the image of God. But, if he can get us to believe a lie, we'll just self-destruct, and so that's what I was doing. I was self-destructing and trying to prove to myself, God, others, that I was good, and it took me re-imagining that scenario and asking God where he was in that moment and telling him how I felt. Then allowing the space for Him to speak back to me. That was what offered true freedom because I've been to counseling, I studied psychology group in the church, knew the Bible, but there were things about my story that I really needed to hear straight from the horse's mouth. I needed to hear Jesus say, You are worthy, you are good, you are innocent, you are pure. When I heard those words over my life straight from Him – that's when I just felt so free. And I felt free ever since. From those lies when He came in and broke them. He broke them. He replaced them with truth and set me free. There really is something to 'you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.' There is something to be said of hearing truth straight from Truth because He is the way, the truth and the life. So, when you hear it straight from Him, man, it's powerful," she told CBN News.
The lies took Tasha to some pretty dark low points in her life.
"I share in the book about trying to take my life and I share details in the book that I don't normally share when I speak about that subject. And, you know, when I tried to do that and when I was experiencing those emotions, I have to say I still didn't know the truth. A failed suicide attempt that was a lowest of low, but it didn't free me. The fact that I was still living, the fact that it didn't work, the fact that someone walked in, it did not free me. I still had to experience freedom later in life now. That lowest of low did shock me enough to cause me to change my trajectory."
"I definitely needed to hear truth. And it wasn't until my 30s that I heard that truth. I think I had wanted to feel free my whole life. It wasn't until 30 years old sitting on that couch that I talked about that I actually felt free. And I feel like the freest person. I know now because that process that I used to go through stuff in the past, I still use today. Like when I experience something hurtful now, 'Like God, where are you in the room right now? What do you want to say to me? Because this is what I'm feeling, and I need to hear your truth over this situation instead of the lie that I'm taking from my experience right now,'" she said.
Tasha hopes those low points in her life will encourage others going through similar struggles.
"I think when you are honest about where you're actually feeling and what goes through your mind, it's funny. Like, I had a professor in seminary, he was a psychotherapist and a pastor as well, and he said, 'You know, if we can hear other people's thoughts and how evil they can be at times, we wouldn't feel so bad about, you know, the guilt and shame we feel from what we think and what we feel.' When you hear someone's story, when it's an honest account, when they don't hold back, man, it makes you feel seen," she continued.
CBN News Studio 5 anchor Efrem Graham asked Layton, "There's a line in the book that I love. I want to read to you, and it says, 'As I grew and healed and as God ripped up the lies that had once been written on my heart, my voice grew stronger.' Can you just talk about that?"
"A moment when I was believing lies in life, I was presenting to the world a self I thought might not be. Rejected or a false sense of self that who wasn't really me – it wasn't really me. It was who I thought I should be. ...I think when I experienced God's truth replacing the lies in my life, I felt his love in a way that I had never felt before. I knew that He loved me. I knew that He adored me. He adored my singing voice. He loved when I worshiped Him when I led worship, all the things that were in my heart to do. I felt a freedom to do like never before because I knew how God felt about me. And that honestly changed how I started treating other people too because when you know how much God loves you, then you start to recognize how much He loves other people. I was literally smiling at strangers in airports, like just going up and telling them wonderful things about them. I love your top. I love your smile. Show up. I was just so complimentary because I loved people in a way that I didn't feel free to love them before because I started loving myself."
"So, when that change occurred, I wasn't trying to mimic any other singer. I wasn't trying to have a voice that I thought people wanted me to have, or the voice I thought I should have to be strong enough to bleed out or whatever. I literally felt so true to myself. My voice changed. If you go back and listen to recordings of me, you know, 10 years ago versus now, it's a completely different person because I'm different."
"When people listen to you or get what you're creating artistically, they're not getting just your gift. They're getting who you are. Even on a spiritual level, people are getting who I am. So, when that person changed, everything about what I did changed. I was willing to sing, what I was willing to write in a book, what I was willing to try with songwriting, everything about me changed. I am literally living proof, right here sitting in this chair, of how much God can take a person and turn it around and someone who believed one way entirely. Now I believe the complete opposite. It's just it's mind-boggling to me," she told CBN News.
Tasha's approach to sharing her journey includes scripture references and reflection questions.
"You know, scripture says we will overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. I think you have to know Christ. You have to know the Blood of the Lamb. You have to know the Word of God. You also have to experience your testimony. You have to share your testimony. You have to hear other people's testimonies. I think that combination of testimony and Word, I think, is important to help people see this is a practical application of scripture in our lives because the Word of God is so powerful. It can it says it's a double-edged sword, you know, and it's so sharp. I think when you include scripture with testimony, it is powerful and can be life-changing for people to see. That was my hope with the book. I don't want to just share my story because that alone doesn't feel like it's powerful enough to change anyone or offer any sort of power to change for them. However, if I share that testimony and Word, that's where I think the power comes," she continued.
"What I love about the questions I think that, you know, having a relationship with anyone you have to speak and you also have to listen. If I'm wanting anyone to have a relationship with God or for their relationship with God to be strengthened by reading this book; I want them to tell what they're feeling, but I also want them to give Him space to speak. And the questions at the end I thought about them for a long time. I think that if people do them, it can cause the sort of self-reflection that can really inspire change. One thing I know about teaching, like when you study how to teach someone something, it's important when they're looking at a page of something, they're studying. The empty space is just as important as what's written on the page. You have to center in a way where they're taking in, but also breathing or like a life, a heart monitor, you know, it's got to go up and down. You just can't have this whole way or you're dead. There's got to be some balance. I think the questions at the end are solemn moments where people can take in what they've heard, allow some space to be still, and know that He is God and to share their own experience with God or with other people. Then give that space to God to speak to them about it. I think that's where real change can occur," she told CBN News.
With all that Tasha has accomplished, she has a message for her younger self.
"If I could go back and talk to little Tasha, I would tell her not to be scared. Don't worry so much about what other people think. Be bold, be courageous, have the fear of God, and not the fear of man. That's what I would say."
Tasha Layton's book Look What You've Done: The Lies We Believe and the Truth that Sets Us Free is available now wherever books are sold.
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