Once upon a time there was a tiny community in the Swiss Alps. This community was in serious trouble. The well that supplied water to the village went dry. The people began to panic. A river was near the community but it was located at the bottom of a deep, deep gorge. Hence no one could reach the water. And it was the middle of summer, so the snow on the mountain had long since melted. There was, however, another well flowing with water across the gorge on the adjacent mountainside. An imaginative young thinker came up with a solution. He built a bridge across the gorge. The villagers were elated. A bucket brigade was formed immediately and the water supply was replenished. Needless to say, the bridge became very important to this group. It was their source of life. They honoured the bridge. They named the bridge after the builder and painted it a beautiful gold. Tinsel was strung from the bridge. Miniature bridges were built and sold in the streets. People wore them on their necks and hung them in the windows. A committee was formed to pay homage to bridge. Only certain people were allowed to walk upon it, and then only on certain days, and then only when wearing certain clothes. The bridge keeper became the most respected and revered position on the mountain. No one could see or cross the bridge without his permission. Unfortunately there were some disputes within the committee. The disagreement centred on whether a canopy should be built over the bridge. So the bridge was closed until a decision could be made. Many villagers died of thirst while the leaders debated.
It’s easy to think that in the above paragraph, what went wrong was that the decisions weren’t made quick enough, or that the committee should’ve been changed earlier, or even the bridge should’ve not been painted…but maybe, just maybe, the real reason why the bridge debacle happened in the first place was that people were putting emphasis, maybe even a resemblance of worship, upon the bridge itself, rather than acknowledge that the bridge was just a means to an end- just a way to receive the water the village desperately wanted? Everyone wanted the spotlight, and everyone wanted to matter, the leaders the most, so rules were made- you can’t walk on the bridge on Sundays and Thursdays because that’s when the founder of the bridge has his quiet time on it, you can’t wear blue or red on the bridge because the bridge founder hates those two colours, bridge visits are to be supervised at all times because…well, who knows what could happen when people walk on the bridge not supervised by the one who created and thought about the bridge in the first place. When we look at it, these rules seem farfetched, and the story itself seems farfetched, but deep down, we all know we can act that way in life. Especially towards our fellow Christian brothers and sisters.
As like how the bridge was respected and worshipped, to the point where there were disputes and arguments about who was to walk on the bridge and what the bridge would look like (and thus people died of thirst while the dispute happened); we as Christians may place more of an emphasis on the process of being a Christian than really be a Christian. What does it mean to be a Christian? Should I have a cross around my neck? Should I try to discuss about God, Jesus and the questions about eternity in every conversation I have with strangers and friends alike? Or should I try to always give words of encouragement to our friends, in the name of love, even if we know they are not in the mood for such a word? Should I have a bumper sticker on my car, or quote bible verses to you when you’re feeling down? What does it really, really mean for us to show God’s love to those around us? Is it to do all these things that I’ve aforementioned, or is it just simply to love without reservation, and be present in the situation? We don’t have to say or do much for them to know God’s love. In fact, sometimes saying a bible verse here and there, or even discussing about Jesus at every moment we have, may often deter people away from wanting to know more about Christ. Because at the end of it all, we will we placing more emphasis on the ‘rules’, rather than the grace that comes from just letting all our preconceived ideas of what a Christian should be, behave and undertake, down before Christ, and allowing Him to shed light on how He wants us to act when we’re in the presence of people who don’t believe in Christ.
Sometimes it’s good to reminisce and think about things. To contemplate on the things of old; and understand that something of years ago can still be poignant, heartfelt, and impactful even today. That is what I’ve come to realise when I’ve been delving into a myriad of artists within the last year or so. Much of my 50 artists I’ve discussed aren’t necessarily new. You have Michael W. Smith, U2, Steven Curtis Chapman and Bryan Adams, who were all prominent in the 1980s, and then artists like Backstreet Boys, Tina Arena, Carman, Delirious?, The Corrs, Sheryl Crow, Hillsong and DC Talk, all of whom have made their prominence and relevance in the industry known in the 1990s. Music doesn’t have to be always new to be effective for a certain time period, and I’ve leant this in a way that I may not have, had I not dug deep into this blog series as I did. Songs and music are just that- melodies that transcend time and impact a variety of time periods into the future- same with a powerful text, a movie, a TV show; whatever medium of media that is present in a certain situation and time period, God can use in whatever fashion He does, to impact people dozens of years into the future, just because He can and He is God. For I’ve come to realise that even the music and songs, the writings of old, the things that can be unassuming at first- are in fact some of the material that God in fact uses the most, in ways that we may not even conceive possible. Take this above passage I’ve quoted. I wrote that myself…yes, me. Now I’m not sure where I heard the story from- the one about the bridge and the Swiss Alps. Maybe from Sunday School. Regardless, I paraphrased what I could remember into the bold text seen above. And upon reading this blog excerpt, I can’t even remember writing such things. Nevertheless, I did, and as I looked upon the date in which it was published…well, it’s no wonder why I can’ remember writing such things. The blog post that which this aforementioned quote was from, a Message Mondays post, was from a posting in 2016, August 16th to be precise.
The fact that I can’t remember writing such an inspiring piece of work, and then years later (in 2020) reading through the passage from years ago, once again, only to be inspired by the work that I did…well, that’s nostalgia, reflection and God at work 100%. For sometimes the Lord works in ways that we ourselves may not understand. For I’m sure I knew I was writing for someone when I did indeed write this blog post in 2016. I guess what I didn’t know was that the someone the blog post was actually for, was myself, here now in 2020. Trippy, right? Probably. But what I’ve come to discover and realise is that nothing surprises the Lord. Nothing. No matter how much out-of-plan things look, God always knows. The entertainment medium, especially mainstream music, is a perfect and clever example of how God uses things that we may not necessarily have regarded as being used by God, to in fact wake us up from our preconceptions of what we believe can and cannot be from God, in the first place. For what we assume to be how God works, instead makes people, when they see us, think we’re short sighted, or even unwilling to even consider that God may use something we’re not too comfortable with in order to bring us closer to Himself. Because that can happen. And it does.
This blog post above in the quote is about a bridge and how the bridge being the means to an end (getting water from a neighbouring village across the gorge), becomes the end itself. For it is a sobering moment to think that as Christians, we become more focused on the delivery of the gospel, how we portray the gospel, what we wear, how we look and how we talk like in order to effectively portray the gospel, than the gospel itself. It’s sad but true. And as I start to delve into yet another artist for this blog post about influential musicians in modern music history, this particular artist has been at the front and centre of many opinions over the years, each given to how they should look, act or be, or even be perceived, in how they themselves present the gospel of Christ through their music and message. Everyone has their opinion, and none more than opinions about Amy Grant, and how fans and critics alike, love to argue about her music, whether or not she is a CCM or a mainstream artist, if it was right for her to act or be a certain way if at the end of the day she was promoting the gospel, whether her lifestyle was in a way that showed us what being a Christian was really like…the list goes on and on. Usually, I know that we as fans are generally very removed from the artist- thus, we don’t know their story or their life. We can’t assume these artists would appear or be a certain way in order for us to alleviate our conscience as to how we think they should act in a society as the one we’re in now, showing Christ to others through what they do. Amy Grant is a legend in her own right, and yet there are still people within the deep dark ether of the web that debate whether Amy was even valid to branch out into creating mainstream music way back in the 1990s, especially when the music she started off in was CCM. Alas, such issues are talked about and debated about across time with not only Amy’s music but also others too. What we as Christians have been quick to do is to judge, to make snappy comments, to focus more on how people are perceived to other people, rather than the message of what is actually being portrayed in the first place. It’s sad, disheartening, unfortunate, when an artist is ripped to shreds because they don’t fit the mould of what a certain artist, according to the person doing the ‘shredding’, should look or sound like if they profess to be of the Christian faith.
Amy Grant started off her career in the late 1970s, and all throughout the 1980s and 1990s, she dominated Christian radio. Now I don’t need to tell you all the hits she has recorded time and time again. I’m sure you’ll have google or Wikipedia for that. For that I’m certain. This is not a facts-spewing session. But rather, this is an acknowledgement of the timelessness of Amy’s music in general; and understand that songs in her career have maybe shaped the musical landscape much more than even Amy I’m sure realised herself. Amy, alongside Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman, have all been instrumental in carrying CCM to where it is today- all three artists were in fact lively and relevant in the 1980s when they all virtually started, and leading into now in 2020, all three are still active in an industry that they themselves helped create and shape. Remarkable isn’t it? Amy’s body of work certainly speaks for itself, spanning from 1977 till now (well, her last studio album was in 2013 with How Mercy Looks From Here, and her last Christmas album Tennessee Christmas dropped in 2016, but for all accounts concerned, she’s still active in the industry!), and as we glance and the songs that have charted, the songs that have impacted all the while over the years, we can certainly see the relevance of Amy even now in this day and age. ‘Lead Me On’, from 1988, is still a song even now that makes myself declare alongside Amy with fervent conviction, enthusiasm, and passion, as this song powerfully declares God’s sovereignty and leading in life, in all circumstances. The song itself touches upon instances in life and history when we don’t have God leading at the forefront- wars and genocide being good examples of this, and ‘Lead Me On’, as powerful the drums and guitars are, still evoke a heartfelt message of giving up the control of self and surrendering it to the One who knows so much more about your life than you do, and knows what’s best for you, maybe even more than you. ‘Lead Me On’ has been a song for the 1980s, a track that has certainly transcended time (worship leader and singer-songwriter Bethany Dillon recorded her own version of the track in 2004), and one that a lot of people would think about if they were to be asked to recite some of Amy’s most popular songs back in the day that still have traction, relevance and meaning now.
One snapshot of Amy’s discography and you can see the impact she has had on culture, society and music as a whole. Songs like ‘Baby Baby’ and ‘Every Heartbeat’ dominated mainstream radio during the 1990s from arguably Amy’s most mainstream-esque album Heart in Motion unveiled to us in 1991. ‘Baby, Baby’ showed to us an appreciation between lovers, spouses or even just simply boyfriend/girlfriend; while ‘Every Heartbeat’ is a declaration, that every heartbeat in your body beats for the other person, a way of showing outwardly through words and even action, the love that you have for another. Both these two songs still stand the test of time today- ‘Baby, Baby’ was rerecorded in 2016 featuring up-and-coming pop sensation Tori Kelly, while a lot of Amy’s older songs from the 1980s and 1990s were remixed (for the generation of today) in a bundle called In Motion: The Remixes. Songs like ‘That’s What Love is For’, ‘Find a Way’, ‘Thy Word’, ‘I Will Remember You’, ‘Lucky One’, ‘House of Love’ (a duet with now-husband Vince Gill), ‘Takes a Little Time’ and even Joni Mitchell cover ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, all found their place in our hearts and homes during the 1980s and 1990s, reminding us all of the songs from such an artist that has made a great impact and imprint on music and society that when we look back at her music career, we can see the points where God has used Amy to deliver songs of hope, encouragement, and even melodies that stir up issues in our own life that maybe we haven’t been that aware of until such a moment as listening to said song.
Amy’s career will be remembered for pushing the boundaries of what a Christian music artist should look like, and what they can be, while still serving God front and centre. The Christian community has been such that has caused a lot of camaraderie and commonality between people, but also a lot of hurt and division too. People like Marty Sampson, Joshua Harris and more recently Jon Steingard of Hawk Nelson have described their disillusioning with Christian culture and just Christianity in general, and I think part of this is because of the fact that we place a lot of pressure on people in the spotlight, especially if they are of high regard in the Christian community. We expect them to act a certain way, to be a certain mould so that we are viewers of videos, listeners of music and readers of books can be satisfied that the media that we are engaged in, fits a certain mould that we believe Christians should be. Alas, this only works to a certain point- the people on the pedestals I’m sure feel a lot of unseen pressure to be ‘perfect’ or to go with ‘Christian culture’ even if they themselves feel uncomfortable with it. Nevertheless, this is what is wrong with the culture of Westernised Christianity at the moment- we place so much issue in and around the actual bridge, rather than understanding that bridges are just means, to get to the water that we so desperately need. We focus more time and energy, more of our arguments, on how to look like a Christian, rather than to just be one. And this is what has been people have been saying about Amy’s life too, back in the day when she wanted to branch out from CCM to a much more mainstream sound, in order to increase her appeal to a wider community, and thus, increase the ways that maybe the gospel itself would have gone forth.
Nevertheless, people took offense to such a broadening of the music style that Amy delivered throughout the 1980s and 1990s. She never shied away from her faith, but that didn’t mean her music was only for those within the four walls of the church either. In fact, in the mainstream community, I’m sure people would know of Amy more so than Michael or Steven, because Amy herself took risks to allow her music to reach more people in a way that now looking back on it, her songs with a lot of double or triple meanings (‘Every Heartbeat’, ‘I Will Remember You’, ‘That’s What Love is For’, to name a few), give us more opportunities looking back on it, to share with our friends who may not ascribe to the Christian faith at all. Amy’s crossover appeal is a good thing, and her influence not only in CCM but music overall is a reminder to know exactly who the target audience is before music is being made. There are some people that primarily write and perform Christian music- worship artists like Chris Tomlin, Hillsong, and fellow pop/CCM musicians like Casting Crowns and Matthew West, for example. Then there’s the artists that impact and affect both CCM culture and the mainstream arena, who call themselves Christians but try to impact both spheres of influence- Switchfoot, Skillet, needtobreathe, the list goes on, add Amy Grant to that list as well. Then there’s the artists that we know who are Christians, but yet still primarily impact mainstream media, and hardly ever write a song about their own Christian walk of life- artists like Carrie Underwood, U2, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, Stan Walker, Lady Antebellum, even artists like Rascal Flatts, Lifehouse and Owl City, You get the picture. There are three categories of music if you will (of which I discussed just before), and all three are indeed valid, and can and does get used by God to show us more of ourselves, Himself and about life. We need to understand that people are called to different areas and places where they themselves know that God can effectively work. That doesn’t make them any less of a person of faith if an artist doesn’t line up with a preferred stance on how they should look and be, singing Christian music. Very rarely does this happen in real life, which is why I reckon that often unrealistic expectations of our Christian heroes, can often lead to their very downfall in the end. Sad to say, that people of today, unfortunately focus more on the bridge than understanding that the bridge is there just to get the water- no matter how beautiful or ugly the bridge looks, it’s still a bridge. And shouldn’t be treated as if it is water, like I’m sure a lot of people do when they pass judgement on people’s careers in music, Amy’s being no exception.
Amy’s career has been one of fulfilment, accomplishment, and accolades that I’m sure even other CCM artists dream of. But within all the adulation and praise that Amy has received for her willingness to break out of the CCM-bubble mould that may have harmed a lot of Christian artists more than it helped; Amy’s faith nevertheless stood strong over the years. Amy unveiled to us two hymns albums, one in 2002 and the other in 2005, as she was candid with us all about the faith that fuelled her over the years- with these hymn albums showing us all the hymns of old that had influenced her on her musical journey. One thing that was fascinating about these two albums is the inclusion of Amy’s cover of MercyMe’s ‘I Can Only Imagine’, on 2002’s Legacy…Hymns & Faith. With ‘I Can Only Imagine’ being one of MercyMe’s biggest radio hits ever, the song itself was originally going to be recorded first by Amy- more about the song and how it came to be can be read here on Wikipedia. But the initial recording was never to be- the rights to allow Amy to record the song first, was given back to MercyMe, and the rest is now history- ‘I Can Only Imagine’ has now become an anthem for the ages, and truly a timeless song. Amy’s version, titled ‘Imagine’ with slightly altered lyrics, came out around a year after MercyMe’s, and is just as emotive and poignant. This is the perfect case of a song transcending an artist at its very core- ‘I Can Only imagine’ has become a song where a lot of people have known it and have covered it, but maybe somewhere down the line, they may have forgotten who wrote it in the first place. And that’s ok. I dunno what would’ve happened to MercyMe, Amy Grant or even music in general, had Amy recorded ‘I Can Only Imagine’ first. Maybe we’ll never know. But herein lies the great example of how God orchestrates things for our good and His glory. Amy’s life and music ministry, her hymns of faith, and her experimentations of mainstream pop, all of it, is a great reminder of how God can used whomever He wants to show us more about Himself and ourselves in it all.
Amy’s songs and music have revolutionised a generation of people, to move outside of what is considered the norm, and to go beyond what is expected and travel the road unknown. What has resulted from this journey in Amy’s discography is this: songs of old that have charted well on mainstream radio, but also songs of grounded faith and a firm foundation- like ‘Simple Things’, ‘Better Than a Hallelujah’, ‘If I Could See (What the Angels See)’ and ‘Don’t Try So Hard’. ‘Simple Things’ reminds us all to get back to the simple things of life, to reclaim the wonder and awe that comes with just sitting outside and looking at creation; while ‘Better Than A Hallelujah’ is a reminder for all of us that it is ok to come to the Lord as we are, with all the junk we have, that our difficulties and honest conversations are far more real and transparent than just ‘hallelujahs’ that we may not even mean in the moment. ‘If I Could See’ is a moment of wondering and longing, to see things from heaven’s perspective, and that if looking from another perspective were to happen, then maybe all our questions about this life would be answered in a way that we would understand; while ‘Don’t Try So Hard’, a duet with legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor, is a way for us to reflect and understand that sometimes we make life out to be harder than it should be- that our fast-pace mode of living is more often self-inflicted than we even realise. Slowing down is a gift and an art, and ‘Don’t Try So Hard’ is a reminder that we as Christians ought to carve out some time to sit back and allow God to speak, to not worry about issues or circumstances, because our striving isn’t going to change whatever happens. We’re loved unconditionally first, our striving shouldn’t be as a way of wanting to be accepted, but rather a result of the understanding that occurs when we realise how much Christ has loved us and has sacrificed for us to come back to Him- what we do is an act of showing our thanks and appreciation, rather than a way of earning it in the first place.
Amy is still undertaking music even now, but that doesn’t mean that her whole career focused on solely music- Amy wrote an autobiography called Mosaic: Pieces of My Life So Far, and according to Wikipedia; ‘…the book features song lyrics, memoirs, original poetry, pictures, and a partial index of Grant’s career achievements. The book is composed largely of short stories, most spanning only a few pages, that provide a glimpse into some chapter of Grant’s life or her personal philosophies, often containing a surprise revelation or twist at the end…’ The book itself was an eye-opener into Amy’s life, and is a reminder that behind every person we consider famous, there’s a private life to go with that- something that can be shared or not, depending on how private the person is. In Amy’s case, a lot of information was shared in the autobiography, as I’m sure the book itself provided people with all the more reason to appreciate, admire and respect Amy after she unveiled candidly her own struggles with depression and her feelings towards her very own public divorce to fellow Christian musician (at the time) Gary Chapman. Nevertheless, such autobiography books aren’t necessarily that easy to write, and thus, Amy’s ability to craft them and release them in a way so that she herself wasn’t that unravelled by the process of it (and further released albums since them- Somewhere Down the Road and How Mercy Looks From Here), is nothing short of miraculous and a great feat in and of itself. Amy’s music has inspired millions of people on their own faith journeys, and gives us a timely reminder today to always understand that God works how He works- and that if He wants someone to be impacted by a mainstream song, if people somehow find themselves closer to Him from listening to songs like ‘Baby Baby’ or ‘Every Heartbeat’, then who am I to judge the Lord’s methods?
Of all that Amy Grant has undertaken in her career thus far, let me say this one thing- her influence is far greater than maybe she herself realises. With an artist to start off in the industry in the 1980s, and still be active right now, is nothing short of awe-inspiring and dare I say, God-ordained. Only two other CCM artists (Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith)…and maybe to some extent Carman, have undertaken such a feat. For that alone, Amy’s music should be listened to, at least once. Amy has undoubtedly worn her Christian faith on her sleeve, even though some of her music, primarily during the 1990s, had crossover appeal and primarily geared towards mainstream media, even with the subtle spiritual undertones. So if you want to hear a very universal and broad appeal music, with songs having double or triple meanings, then on the whole, Amy probably isn’t your girl, even though a fair amount of her music in the 1990s still leans more towards mainstream than Christian- maybe you’re looking for an artist like Switchfoot, needtobreathe, Josh Groban, Rachel Platten or Tori Kelly. But what Amy sings about, is life events that pertain to the Christian walk, about Jesus, and songs for Him too. It is her boldness for Christ, shown a lot through her hymns and her later material, that will continue to create opportunities for her music to continue its influence both now and into the future. And while I still haven’t heard much of Amy’s full-length material pre-Heart in Motion (aside from songs like ‘Thy Word’ and ‘El-Shaddai’, this undertaking of this blog series has made me appreciate much of Amy’s earlier work, far more than if I hadn’t undergone such a task.
Amy’s contribution to music goes far beyond the songs she has recorded for herself- there’s been plenty of tracks she’s recorded as a contributing artist on someone else’s record, throughout her career- ‘Find Me In the River’, a popular song by British worship band Delirious?, was rerecorded with Amy, while she also lends her voice to the collaboration of ‘Faithful’ with Gotee Records artist Ryan Stevenson, a song that is in my opinion, one of the most underrated on his album No Matter What. Amy also collaborated with singer-songwriter Nichole Nordeman for a duet in 2011 called ‘I’m With You’, as part of a bigger project titled Music Inspired By the Story, while Amy herself delivered her own rendition and reimagining of ‘Just As I Am’ as a tribute song to Billy Graham and his ministry. Amy also lent her voice to the poignant Christmas song ‘Give This Christmas Away’ featuring popular CCM artist Matthew West way back in the day too. It is in these collaborations with other artists that I find myself seeing the amount of honour and respect given to Amy in each of these instances. To collaborate any song with Amy Grant ought to be an honour- a legend of CCM in her own right, Amy’s mark on music shouldn’t go unnoticed. We see artists come and go, but the true staying power of an artist is their own ability to stay humble in their craft- and Amy has certainly done that. Songs like ‘Thy Word’ and ‘El Shaddai’ stand the test of time from a Christian standpoint, while melodies like ‘I Will Remember You’, ‘Baby Baby’ and ‘Every Heartbeat’, more so for the mainstream, but with that being said, music can still impact and influence, even if said songs aren’t as popular in a particular artist’s discography. While when we look at Amy and her career, we immediately are drawn to her more well-known songs; a fair amount of her lesser known tracks, songs like ‘I Will Be Your Friend’, ‘Somewhere Down the Road’, ‘Deep as It is Wide’ and ‘Say it With a Kiss’, have all delivered poignant lyrics and heartfelt enthusiasm over the years, in a reminder that songs don’t have to necessarily be ‘famous’ in order for them to impact a person’s soul.
As I leave this post, I will let you readers stop and wonder, ponder and think, as well. Has Amy Grant and her music impacted your life as it has mine? Can someone who has been undertaking music as their career since the 1980s still bring about a relevancy compared to current pop radio artists at the moment? Should an artist constantly reinvent themselves, for fear of staying on the radar as opposed to off, or should they stand firm to their beliefs, even if it costs them their fame and glory? How has music impacted your own life, and which is the first artist/band you’d talk about if given the chance? Is there any song, like ‘Thy Word’, ‘El Shaddai’, ‘Every Heartbeat’ or ‘Baby Baby’, that has impacted you on your journey through life thus far? I’ll leave an excerpt of another blog that I wrote a while ago, that has been encouraging me of late in my own walk with the Lord, and how it applies specifically to Amy and her own ministry in delivering music that can be accessible to both CCM and mainstream. It is a reminder to not always make assumptions about what we think people should do or act, and who we believe God sends our way to bring us closer to Him, versus what actually does happen. Amy’s music I’m sure, has shattered people’s understanding of what ‘Christian’ music should be, as I’m sure it has challenged myself into expecting the unexpected when it comes to God. And remember, influential is far greater than popular. Let us strive to follow influential music artists rather than just popular ones! Til next time!
If I am to be honest, I look at people and I make assumptions. We all do. But herein lies the point- what if the person that I’m making the most assumptions of is in fact the person that is put in my life to break them all one by one? What if it takes the person we assume to be the lowest of the low to come into our lives, in whatever way they do, and shatter our perceptions of them and others like them, and remind us that often, it is the lowest that change our perspective of society the most? What if it is the different, the downtrodden, the unusual, the interesting and the irritable that are the ones that are ones that influence our lives the most in a good way, more than we can even realise? Questions to ponder, I know. In fact, dare I say that it can be the most uncomfortable of situations and conversations that God can shine through and remind us, that yes, we are too comfortable for our own good, and yes, because of this fact, we ought to have the intentionality and the purposefulness to service someone else’s needs, even ahead of our own? But, but…but what about my own life, God? Why would you want to interrupt it by sending this person into it? Why do I have to be thrusted into a conversation with them? Why? I often ask myself the same thing, almost once a day at work when I’m in contact with people I may or may not see eye to eye on.
Regardless of our comfortableness, God at times shatters it so that we can see that it is indeed the bubble that we live in that is going to be our downfall when it comes to relationships with others. If we are only in communion with people that agree with us all the time, we’d never be challenged. We’d never be asked the questions, and we’d never develop a respect for the other person’s view. We’d never learn how to navigate difficult situations, or try to at least find common ground with a person. Because being comfortable, though that is what we are most inclined to do, isn’t what we were made for. Since we’re in God’s image, and God is community of God the Father, Son and Spirit, we are therefore the same, to be made to long for community, to not be alone, and to fellowship with other people, be as it difficult cultures and beliefs, as we journey and venture on this thing called life together.
Life was never meant to be lived alone, nor was it meant to be lived just serving the needs of ourselves. And while I know that at times, serving other people’s needs may not have any gain to ourselves personally, aside from meeting people who may be of a different background to us, what we may say or do to another person may have a tremendous effect on them, maybe even more than we realise at that moment. It takes courage and maturity to abandon the things we want to talk about, and try to walk into their world for once and discuss the things closest to their hearts- courage because to know fully what is closest to them is to really care. About what they enjoy, about them personally. And maybe it’ll be appreciated and maybe it won’t. Regardless, there is something that transpires in the positive way when we serve the needs of the other, without any expectation that they will do the same. Sure, if they do reciprocate we’d gladly accept, but even if they don’t, hopefully, we can be selfless enough to keep going in our quest to connect, our quest to journey out of our comfortability and venture into the unknown to maybe be encouraged and blessed, by the other person, either through their response to our actions of servicing their needs, or even just the presence of them in our lives at that moment of conversation.