Better than I Was Before

JBC ProductionPhotoMy friend Todd and some of his fellow film students were over at my place last week to shoot a video.  For their senior project they are putting together a music video and asked if they could use a song of mine, “Better than I Was Before.”  They came to know the song through my myspace page.  They shot some interview footage at my house and this “unplugged” version of the song (and we went into the studio to shoot a bunch more for the music video now in production, to be completed by the end of the year) [update – here is the finished video below, and scroll down further for the “unplugged” acoustic version I reference in this blog entry].

Prompted by my sister, I wrote the song as an entry for the “American Idol Songwriter Contest.”  The idea of the contest was that the winning song would be sung by whoever won the “Idol” competition on their big winning night in their moment of glory (ie. “This is My Now“).  You know the type of song.  Got to have the word “moment” in it.  Helpful if it talks about flying, dreams, destiny, etc.  Such songs are fairly self-centered, but I thought, hey,  I’d give it a shot.  I wanted a song that would fit the contest, but that also came from my heart and my convictions.

I decided to write about how God has sometimes used the hardest times in my life to produce the most change.  The rocky road, the ups and downs of life can make us more useful, more surrendered to God and his will, more perseverant and possessing greater character.  It is not the easy times or the “good times” that make us who we are.  It is the challenges.  Jesus begins his teaching in the sermon on the mount with the basic idea of “How LUCKY you are when you are a loser… that’s when you find God.  God is with the down and out.”

Consider these verses:

Consider it pure joy… whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance… James 1:2-3

These (trials) have come so that your faith… may be proved genuine… I Peter 1:7

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him… Romans 8:28

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons… Hebrews 12:7

Anyway, so that was the sentiment of the song –still fairly inward and reflective, but coming from a place of seeing God and his sovereignty in the journey of life.  I got sick the week I was recording the song and so my friend Pete Wade came over to sing it for the contest entry (amazing singer – click here to hear him singing it).  The day it was due we went to upload the song and they had changed the front end of the entry page on the website — you couldn’t upload anymore!  (There were all kinds of people upset about that on the Internet forums that night –I’m sure thousands entered the contest).  I emailed it to a few folks who said it would still make it into the contest but never heard a word back, even to collect my entrance fee, so my guess is that it was never considered.  O well, I’m sure God will do something with the song down the road if he wants to.  Maybe it will encourage you, so here it is.

Better Than I Was Before

I was down
Some said I was out
I was looking down a long road
Heard the sound of the thunder
And the rains came down
Didn’t know if I could make it
But I’m here now!
And the hurts and pains and hunger
Have taught me that I could
Faith has made me stronger
It all works for the good
And now…

I’m better than I was before
I’ve changed
I’m not the same as I was
And I’m walkin’ through the open door
I can
I’ll take my stand
‘Cause the ups and downs
The ins and the outs
They’ve brought me here
I’m not lookin’ back no more
And I’m better than I was before

Here I am
My moment is now
It has all lead up to this point
It’s funny how the bright lights
Can hide all the crowd
I’m alone in all my thoughts
And they are racing now
As I’m looking towards the future
I’m feeling so alive
I’m part of something bigger
It’s open field and sky
Because now

I’m better than I was before
I’ve changed
I’m not the same as I was
And I’m walkin’ through the open door
I can
I’ll take my stand
‘Cause the ups and downs
The ins and the outs
They’ve brought me here
I’m not lookin’ back no more

I’ve learned I can be stronger
I’ve seen I can go longer
I know I can hold on to hope!
To hope…

4 Comments on “Better than I Was Before”

  1. Jimmy Bong says:

    Cool song and cool video, bro! Great job! Maybe you should re-enter it one day… : )

  2. Michael Aggabao says:

    I love this song but it’s tough vocally, been trying to sing it, modulation was too high for me.. Great video…thanks

    • jbriancraig says:

      Hey Mike – thanks for the comment – yeah, it’s tough for me too! It was written with an American Idol contest winner in mind – quiet different approach than a song for the church to sing, huh?

  3. Jenelle Lee says:

    could i get the notes for this song better than i was before

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