Matthew West hit the Christian music scene in 2003 with Happy. The album produced "More" which became the most played Christian AC song of 2004 and helped earn him two Dove Award nominations. History, his sophomore release, hit the scene in 2005 and helped continue to grow his fan base. In April 2007, West had a new label home at Sparrow Records, concerts booked all over the place and plans to hit the studio with brand new songs. Things were looking good for Matthew and it seemed like his career in Christian music was settling in for the long run ... until he lost his voice.
The Bottom Falls OutThe news from Vanderbilt Voice Center wasn't good. Matthew had a vascular polyp and hemorrhaged blood vessels on his vocal chords. The only treatment that would give him a chance at singing again was two months of complete silence and surgery.
The concerts were canceled, the new album was postponed, and Matthew's only form of communication became a dry erase board -- something his wife of four years understood, but not a concept his 1-year-old daughter was old enough to grasp.
Things got dark and West says he was in an uncertain place. His faith, however, didn't allow him to stay there for too long. He turned to writing in journals, praying a lot and a determination to get closer to God formed. The silence forced him to grow as both a man and a Christian, and he came out the other side changed for the better.
Something to Say, the album he had put on hold, took new life as the songs he had already written took on deeper meanings. The album's lead radio single, "The Motions," a tune about not going through the motions of faith, spawned a campaign called "No More Going Through the Motions." Fans were asked to go to Matthew's web site and share their resolutions to stop going through the motions and start really connecting with Christ.
Going Through the Motions of LivingFor me, that campaign and song caused me to look around me at the people I see in life. It appears that "going through the motions" is a matter of course in many more areas than just faith. It is almost like there is some book (that nobody even remembers reading) that tells us what a "good ________" should act like. We mindlessly strive to be that good ________ on the surface, when the situation calls for it, never really connecting or understanding what it is we're trying to become.
In this series of Q&As, over a five day day period, Matthew and I talked about life when you are "going through the motions."
Church/Christ/FaithKim - For some, being a Christian means showing up in church on Sunday and Wednesday. Going a little further, it means tithing and/or being on one committee. Tell me about going through the motions of Christianity.
Matthew West - "My dad has been a minister for 35 years so I've spent pretty much my whole life in church. I'm so thankful for my upbringing with such amazing parents, but I have struggled over the years to stay fresh in my faith. At a certain point, I think I mastered the art of looking, talking, and acting like a "good" Christian. I learned how to put up a front, and make everyone around me think I had it all together, even if my heart was not in it. The thing is, dressing up, going to church, dropping a twenty in the offering plate, those things are all well and good, but that doesn't make you a Christian. God is way more concerned with the condition of our hearts than our outward appearance."
The ChallengeYour challenge today is to look at your own walk and decide for yourself if you are connecting and giving God your heart or if you are just going through the motions of your faith. If you find that you have some "motion" in there, make a commitment to God to stop talking it out and start walking it out!
Matthew West 'Going Through The Motions' Interview Series
- Going Through The Motions of Everyday Life
- Going Through The Motions with Family
- Going Through The Motions as Parents
- Going Through The Motions of Marriage
- Going Through The Motions at Work