With the release of his 2016 book Unashamed, two-time Grammy award-winning hip hop artist Lecrae became a bestselling author. His coming-of-age story revealed how he overcame obstacles on the path to fame through the lens of his faith. In his follow-up, I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion but Found My Faith (Zondervan, Oct.) the rapper, speaker, activist, and entrepreneur unpacks the unhealed trauma that threatened to dismantle his family, mental health, and relationship with God at the height of his career.
Mick Silva, senior acquisitions editor at Zondervan Books, says Lecrae is breaking barriers with his new book which “could be prophetic for our time.” In an interview with PW, Lecrae says he wants I Am Restored to provide hope during the chaotic times that many people are experiencing.
(This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.)
What makes I Am Restored stand out from your 2016 release Unashamed?
I think for Unashamed you get to understand more of my story for sure. For I Am Restored you get to see how my story created problems and issues for my current world. What this book allows people to do is find hope whether it’s in the middle of racial chaos, political chaos or religious chaos. There’s a thread of how I’ve been able to navigate it all, because it’s been chaotic, but God has been faithful to me in the process.
In this book you shared moments from your past when you felt weak, afraid, and lost fights. Why was it important for you to be transparent in this way?
When you see yourself for who you are, you can have clarity and move forward. That was important for me. It was also important for other people (to see) because we put up these walls and we tell these pretty stories about ourselves, and you never hear about the stories when people were like, ’I lost that fight’ or all of those embarrassing things. There are more people who lost than who won. You’re never going to find healing until you acknowledge those particular things. And maybe you’re too afraid to, so I’ll do it for you. Let me do it for you to give you that freedom to be able to express those things in your own life.
You write about shifting your religious mindset to rediscover your relationship with the God of the Bible while also seeking therapy. Can you expound on that process a bit more?
Oftentimes people, whether religious or not religious, start off with open hands and then, as life gets tougher, start closing those hands and holding on to certain things. As life got tougher, I was holding on to my religiosity and my religious views (concerning) western medicine and even eastern medicine. I was just saying (no to therapy) instead of saying maybe God put all of this here for me to benefit from. I opened up my hand to therapists and realized we tend to be afraid of therapy and so on and so forth because we don’t understand it. Nobody would ever say, ‘I’m trying to lose this extra weight, so I’m praying a lot more. They would go and put in the work. In the same way when it comes to your brain. We just think it’s completely spiritual and there’s no physical components that specialists can help us with.
What do you hope readers will walk away with after reading this book?
We’re all dealing with the same earthly chaos: relational chaos; marital chaos; racial chaos, political chaos. Everybody will have to navigate (these things) regardless of your religious affiliation. So, here’s a person who’s navigated it just being honest. Let’s be honest about how sexual abuse caused me trauma. Let’s be honest about how racism caused me trauma. Let’s just start on a practical level and say let’s just go to therapy. Let’s just deal with some of this trauma so you can be a healthy person. Hopefully God can meet you there as well.