His life took a turn for the worse as he got into drugs and alcohol. But God had another a plan for him.
- Posted on Oct 29, 2019
There was a time a few years ago when I was writing really negative songs about couples “slippin’ round” on one another, drinking and being miserable. Back in those days I was pretty miserable myself.
I was in Nashville, the capital of country music, where I’d come from my home state of Mississippi to try my luck as a songwriter. By the late ‘70s I was beginning to make a living from music, but I was also making a mess of my life.
I was a Christian—or at least I said I was—but you couldn’t tell from the way I acted. I got into booze and drugs and had all sorts of tawdry affairs.
Finally I hit rock bottom. I was on the road playing guitar at a club when the club’s owner saw what bad shape I was in. One night she confronted me and made me look at how I was destroying myself.
I sat there, half-drunk in that noisy, smoke-filled room, pondering her words. Right there I prayed, “Lord, if You’ll get me out of these bars, I’ll live my life for You.”
Three weeks later I got a call from a friend back in Nashville wondering if I’d be interested in a job with a song publisher. The Lord kept His end of the prayer, but it was still years before I kept mine.
That was the beginning of my long road back. Eventually I gave my life to Him and allowed Him to start His work in me. Because of Him I was able to stop doing the things that were doing me in and started writing songs for Him.
In the lyrics of one of those songs, a husband asks his wife what he should give her for standing by him—diamonds, furs? And she replies with the title of the song, “I won’t take less than your love.” Then a son asks his mother what he owes her for everything she’s done for him. And he gets the same answer.
Finally, a man asks the Lord how he can repay Him for the life He’s given him—what is the price? And God gives the same reply: “I won’t take less than your love.”
The man who asked that question was Paul Overstreet. I’d found that it wasn’t enough just to say I believed in God, or even tell others about Him, while going my own way. I had to give Him everything—no more, no less. God said to me, “I won’t take less than your love.”
This story first appeared in the November 1988 issue of Guideposts magazine.