Story Behind The Song: Peace, My Mind
Peace, My Mind
At a Common Hymnal writing camp, Isaac, Justin and I all found ourselves in the living room with 20 minutes before dinner was ready and Isaac looked at us both and flippantly said, “let’s write a song!”
I sat at the piano as Isaac shared how he wanted to write a song about mental health, as his family had walked through some mental health challenges. We knew the song was meant to be as soon as Justin shared that his family had walked through a journey of mental health struggles as well.
The song was intentionally simple, almost like a lullaby. Mental health is a real issue in our world today. One that is talked about less than it should be. Peace My Mind aims to provide some hope with the intent of being a therapeutic song for someone who feels tormented mentally to find some sense of solace and rest.
Peace My Mind was one of the fastest songwriting sessions I've ever participated in. Isaac grabbed Mark Alan and I about 15 minutes before a break at a songwriting camp and said "Hey, let's write a song before dinner." He shared that the topic of mental illness had been heavy on his heart. I sung a melody idea and away we went. Fifteen minutes later the song was done.
When we shared the song with the larger group later that night we all realized that we had either personally dealt with mental health issues or had close relationships with people who had been in a similar struggle. I'm convinced that the heart of God was guiding us to find the words to convey something deep that none of us had been able to articulate previously.
My hope is that this song will be a source of comfort to those who are feeling discouraged, marginalized, and even hopeless while trying to find that elusive peace of mind.
Mark Alan, Justin, and I happened to all bump into each other right before dinner at a songwriting retreat with Common Hymnal. We said, “we’ve got 15 minutes until dinner, let’s write a song!” So Mark Alan hit record on his iPhone, and I think the voice memo was right around 16 minutes. We had a complete song by the end of it.
Some songs can take 10 years to write. Some only take 10 minutes. I think the ones that take 10 minutes to write -when they are heartfelt, emotive songs- may really represent years of internal work that had not been actualized until sitting down to write the song. So while it may only look like 16 minutes, the actual work of the song represents many combined years of life experiences and ideas that led to that point.
All that to say, this song flowed naturally because it came from a raw place. We started to write the song with the prompt that we wanted to talk about struggles of mental health. While we didn’t have time to talk details in that moment, it was clear that there was something honest and real happening.
Later that evening when we shared the song with our group we reflected back on the experience and shared more deeply about our own personal journeys of walking with family members and friends through their own struggles with mental health and addiction. When we sat down to write the song we didn’t even know that was a motivating force behind the writing.
Speaking for myself, I have struggled throughout my life with varying levels of anxiety (as many people do). That was compounded in the last couple years in the wake of the passing of my father as well as the passing of several other family members.
I remember as a kid my mother singing to me when she would tuck me in. She would often sing “peace, peace wonderful peace. My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid...” It would bring comfort and rest to my anxious little mind; I would sometimes fall asleep while she sang it.
My hope is that Peace, My Mind would offer a similar solace to anyone who is enduring their own internal battles or walking through it with people close to them.