I came into the new record really wanting to explore the world of co-writing. I’ve almost always written by myself. I’ve written a few songs with one of my best friends, Chris Collins, but that’s about it. It’s really hard to trust someone else, especially someone you don’t know very well. But I committed to the idea for this record. So I packed my bags and went to Nashville for a few days to lay bare these raw ideas to some songwriters that I really respected.
Jason Ingram writes hits. And that’s intimidating. He’s written great songs with Brandon Heath (Give Me Your Eyes, Your Love), Bebo Norman (I Will Lift My Eyes), Tenth Avenue North (By Your Side, Love Is Here, Healing Begins), the Afters (Light Up The Sky), Sanctus Real (Lead Me), and others, in addition to writing I Will Follow (Chris Tomlin) and Forever Reign (One Sonic Society) with Reuben Morgan from Hillsong. That’s just the beginning of the list, and I’m rolling up to this guy’s house in my rental Ford Focus with my little notebook of song ideas, with no real idea of how to co-write a song in the first place. The thing about Jason is… he loves Jesus, and he knows a lot about pop songs. In that order. And he doesn’t seem to let #2 ever get in the way of #1. That’s hard to do. My #2 is different than his, but our #1’s are the same. So we got along just fine.
Jason made sure I was welcome and comfortable in his place and then we got to work. He had me start to share my song ideas. I began with the ones I felt most confident in. The songs I thought he would like. The songs I thought were radio-friendly. And he kept asking to hear more. By the time we got through idea #6, I was fairly sure he hated all my songs and was wishing this was over. But he was still kind and asked for another. I explained to him that I really cared about this next snippet, but that everyone who had heard it had immediately written it off. It just wasn’t what we needed. But he wanted to hear it anyway.
It’s hard to pour out your heart for someone you don’t know. This song was very personal. And it’s even harder to pour out your heart, when you have poured it out before and… it didn’t go so well. But I rolled out this song once more. Jason listened intently and after the chorus, he broke in and said, “This is it. This is special. Let’s get to work.” He said, “Todd, from the first line of the song, I knew I had to hear the rest of it.” No one had ever said that to me before. And to be honest, most of the encouragement I get goes in one ear and out the other. But this time I received it.
And so we began to work on this song exploring the idea of being a bride, undeserving and yet chosen. What does it mean when my identity depends completely on someone else? Because while I may not feel lovable, that does not change the fact that I am loved.
You may be wondering what the first line of the song was. Well, it’s…
“I can’t let you see me this way.”
That’s how I feel with God a lot of the time. I’m ashamed of who I am and what I’ve done. I want to repair myself before I turn to Him. But I look back at being a kid, when I crashed my bike in the street, and came home bloody and crying. My dad would have never sent me to the bathroom to clean up before he spent time with me. ( My Mom wouldn’t have either by the way.) He would have taken me in his arms, let me bleed on his shirt, and hold me while I cried. And then he would do everything in his power to make it better. Is my dad any better than my God? Not at all. He is only a pale reflection. Yet so much of the time, I stare at my wounds, at my shame, at my filth and it seems overwhelming. I don’t see anything redeeming, valuable, or lovable.
“It’s hard for me to believe I could be lovely in Your eyes, that I’m really the one You want.
It’s hard for me to believe You would want me by Your side, that I’m really the one You want.
I’m really the one You want.”
And yet the bridegroom chooses to love me. He pays my bride price, the debt I owe. And He returns to take me home.
“And You love me, You love me, You love me still.
You love me, You love me and You always will.”
The earliest memory most of us have of church is singing “Jesus Loves Me”. But it was so much easier to believe then than it is now. But it is just as true today as it was then.
13 thoughts on “H2BL Story Behind The Song: “The One You Want”, the blog”
Powerful words, Todd – I’m glad they’re true.
I understand completely what you mean about feeling unlovable sometimes. I, too, have loving parents and know in my head that God loves me. But my rational mind would tell me they were just doing their job. My heart finally grasped the concept that I was lovable through a human connection who affirmed by his words and actions what God had been showing me all along through His eyes. Finally the pieces came together and with heart, mind, and soul I am beginning to grasp a little more of the vastness and recklessness of God’s love to me. It has changed me from the inside out, and continues to change me each day as I learn how to give and receive love better. I’m so thankful for healing love.
That’s beautiful Todd, just beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart with the rest of us. And may God bless you, your family, and the ministry he’s entrusted to you.
Very encouraging, Todd. Thanks man. Can’t wait to hear the record. When I go in to write my next one, I’m gonna stop by your house and do the same thing, okay? haha
Todd, aside from almost running you over in the Tyson event center in Sioux City a few yea. rs ago, I only know you from your songs and blog. Yet, I think we could be great friends, because of the way your words speak to my heart. You have a great gift. Please continue to create these beautiful songs of worship.
Completely broken before reading, completely humbled in the reading. Thank you for allowing God to offer these words to my heart through your choice to be vulnerable in co-writing and honest in song. The song is an echo in all hearts some are simply more aware. This song found me painfully aware this morning. Grateful to have happened on the tweet! Blessings
Just made me cry. Thanks Todd.
Purchased new cd, and I keep listening to track one over and over again. Even before I read this I felt God’s hand in writing these words. A great message that needs to be shared.
I pre ordered the CD and fell in love with “The One You Want” the first time I heard it. On the way to work every day I just hit the back button on the player and listen to it over and over. Reading the story makes it that much more valualble. Thank you Todd for giving us a piece of your heart, that has now become a piece of my heart also.
Todd, I’ve listened to this song on repeat today, feeling like you stole the words out of my own heart and sang them to the Husband for me. It’s my anthem. After walking with Jesus through many abusive relationships and learning what it means to have Jesus take away my shame, this is the song my soul now sings: You love me. You love me. You love me still. Oh, hallelujah.
Todd when i heard this song for the first time i was not in a good place in my head…it spoke powerfully into my self condemnation (which is a constant struggle for me)……..Jesus gave you this song…so Good friday i went to hear more of this Jesus music from a guy who is very comfortably transparent….hope you are feeling better. His grace was sufficient because He used you in a powerful way its like my whole thought processes were exposed that night… Thankyou for being a yeilded vessal! God bless you and your family with much more grace and peace!
Todd, I’ve been struck at the honesty in probably 3 of your songs so far (I’ve only heard maybe 4). I’m guessing the Psalms are some of your favourite scriptures, just like me. As an addict, I believe your chorus really expresses the cry of so many of us who fall again and again when the “insanity” takes hold of us. The world has written many of us off, and it’s incredibly powerful to see the church start to embrace songs and stories of people that we know and like who also struggle with demons.