Mercy & Grace – 40 Days with the Music of Amy Grant
Day 29 – Monday after 5th Sunday of Lent
These Reflections which take the music of Amy Grant as their theme, were originally published in Lent 2015. They are being republished during the Covid19 pandemic which is affecting the whole world
From the Scriptures:
26 Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’
27 So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.
31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1.26-28,31)
From Amy Grant: All I Ever Have to Be
When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavy on my head
And the thoughtful words of help and hope
Have all been nicely said
But I’m still hurting, wondering if I’ll ever be the one
I think I am – I think I am
Then you gently re-remind me
That You’ve made me from the first
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst
And I realize the good in me is only there because of who You are
Who You are…
And all I ever have to be is what You’ve made me
Any more or less would be a step out of Your plan
As you daily recreate me help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do what I can find
And all I ever have to be
All I have to be
All I ever have to be is what You’ve made me
Overthinking: the curse of those who always wonder what other people think about them (or their thinking about themselves) and find it difficult to just ‘be’.
I have several dear friends who fall prey to this condition. It is hard work, exhausting and, if left unattended, easily spirals into the black dog of depression. To those outside of the condition it appears mystifying and I have often had people say to me of a friend, ‘Why doesn’t he just snap out of it?” This is perhaps the most unhelpful of all responses.
Amy’s song today speaks of what happens when we think too much about what we are to ‘do’ instead of remembering who we are called to ‘be’. I suppose it is a common confusion. I still, though I know John Lennon’s words below, catch myself asking a young child what they want to “do” when you grow up when I should ask about what they want to “be”.
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” (John Lennon)
One of the ways to start to stop overthinking is to come to a place of realising that, no matter how much you think about a particular situation, some things cannot be changed. This can be bad but it also can be very good. If we could but see that one of the things we cannot change is that God has a plan for us then we may be able to breathe more freely and let go of large amounts of baggage. if we do we could do this we might be able to begin to move away from ‘doing’, with all its falls turns and dead ends, and towards ‘being’. On this road we can find contentment, acceptance, and peace within the security of God’s plan and purpose for us.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating a kind of ‘puppet master’ God: someone to whom we defer every decision we have to make, from the colour of our socks to the choice of our profession. But what I have learnt, along with Amy, is that when I try to do it all ‘my way’ my dreams end up as a heavy weight instead of a bright hope. However if I can put all my thoughts and plans into God’s hands and allow Him to ‘daily recreate me’ then all is well and I find a new freedom.
Who knows perhaps it is possible, if we ‘let go and let God’ often enough, to follow John Lennon’s advice and grow up to be happy?
Listen to the song again and as you do ask God to show you one thing in your life of which you need to let go.
in Christ you make all things new:
transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace,
and in the renewal of our lives
make known your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen
All of the music on the video clips from YouTube is © Amy Grant. If you enjoy listening to her songs please consider buying her recordings. A full discography and other information about Amy can be found on her website http://www.amygrant.com
Scripture quotes are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America
Prayers from Pilgrim are copyright © 2015 Stephen Cottrell, Steven Croft, Robert Atwell and Paula Gooder.