90 - Finding God's Life for My Will with Mike Donehey/Transcript

Note: Can I Say This at Church is produced for audio listening. If able, I strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which has inflection, emotion, sarcasm where applicable, and emphasis for points that may not come across well in written word. This transcript is generated using a combination of my ears and software, and may contain errors. Please check the episode for clarity before quoting in print.

Seth Happy Monday, I mean this comes out on Monday so I'm gonna assume that you downloaded on Monday, and if not happy whatever day it happens to be. I am Seth, this is the Can I Say This At Church podcast and let's do this thing.

A few weeks ago on Brad Jersak’s episode someone that is engaged with the show had commented (on Facebook)

“you know another great conversation that I can't listen to” because of audio impairments. I realized he was right and so what I did was I went in and I transcribed all of Brad Jersak’s episode, last week's episode with Clare I also transcribed. I'm finding little nuances there that I didn't see before but this episode also, if you go to www.canIsaythisatchurch.com click on the episode link and right at the beginning, right underneath the little animated play button to play the episode, will be a link to the transcription as well as in the show notes at the bottom-there will be a link to the transcription.

Tell your friends if you know someone that can't really discuss these things, can't listen to the podcast or anything like it, and you feel like they may benefit from a conversation like what is happening here. Let them know that I am transcribing now. Any episode before Brad Jersak eventually will be transcribed, I have no idea how I'm gonna do that that's a lot of hours of transcription-maybe I'll crowdsource the help.

It's a thing that I am happy to do it & is worth the time; and to be honest I'm slightly disappointed in myself that I didn't think about it prior but like most things unless, they directly impact you…you just have blinders on. To that gentleman thank you for bringing it to my attention and to everyone else let your friends know it's there, take advantage of it, I know I certainly am going to.

I really like having the text there has been a few new things added to the store at the website as well get you something there are some really cool things. I know I've seen you know people on Facebook and whatever taking pictures of what they're wearing and supporting the show in that way.

Those shirts those mugs they tend to start conversations not necessarily about the podcast but about God and faith and I love that, absolutely love that.

Mike Donehey is, well you'll hear in the episode and, I've listened to his music for a long time and it was an absolute privilege to have him come on to the show. So you'll hear a lot of people use that platitude of “its just God's will this happened because it's God's will” or “of course this happened because if it's the will of God it's got to be easier you know he shuts this door and opens that door”. And that's not quite right and so Mike has a book that is coming out man, it might already be out by the time that you hear this, called finding God's Life for My Will and that play on words is intentional. In this conversation you can hear some beautiful stories…

We laugh quite a bit, which I love it when I can laugh with a guest…love those, but mostly you're gonna hear just genuine conversation about what God's will even means. Is that a question that we should even ask? So I hope that you really enjoyed this conversation with Mike Donehey here we go…


Seth Mike Donehey, welcome to the show. I'm excited to talk with you for a couple reasons A: I didn't know that you wrote books B: I didn't know that we were about the same age. C: reading through a lot of your book, well when I say reading I mean briefly skimming I do want to be transparent, and the kind of the stories that you tell at, least in that first section or the first sections I relate a lot to l. So welcome to the show. I'm extremely excited to talk to you I'm glad you're here man.

Mike Thank you. I'm glad to be here.

Seth My wife and I actually saw you and your band, gosh, a couple months ago when you were in Charlottesville. I don't know what it was called “big night out”…no no “big tour out” big…big something big. It was at John Paul Jones Arena. I think we were the first one on the tour, and if I remember right somebody, I think was Michael W Smith, like his mic did not work at all.

Mike Haa! That was that was The Road Show.

Seth that's what it was, yeah yeah! We had a blast man. When we left I actually told my wife…I was…I've never seen Tenth Avenue North, although you are, the album that you had come out (gasps) what's it called?… You have bleached blond hair on the cover

Mike Over and Underneath!

Seth Yeah, there it is, couldn't think of what it was called.

Mike First one!

Seth Yeah so that is my soundtrack every time I paint one of the kids bedrooms because that was the soundtrack of painting my son's bedroom; and so it became the soundtrack of painting my daughters and my other daughter.

Mike Aweee!

Seth So every time I that's the, I don't know, why but that is that soundtrack takes me back to that moment of… “I'm about to be a dad!”. I don't know why it was that soundtrack, I'm sure there was a data storage issue and it's all that I had downloaded offline but it doesn't really matter that is that's become that soundtrack. All of that to say-been a fan for a long time.

Mike I hope that my music is synonymous with fertility…

Seth (laughter) why?

Mike Oh, you know I just wanted to be like just robust and spilling over with life.

Seth Ahhh…yeah…we already… I don't often play on the title of the show but we're already really close to that line, like.

Mike Bro. I live on that line…you don’t even know.

Seth So for those that don't know that you sing, or don't know anything about you, if I was to break you down into small parts and you're like alright I got 90 seconds which really you can take as many seconds as you want. What is it that makes you you and then how does that like inform your faith; what what matters and how did it get there?

Mike Well I was a middle child but the eldest male. I'm an Enneagram 4…I'm thinking of all like you know the titles have just been handed upon me

Seth mm-hmm

Mike I love…the thing that makes me, me, is I love when I see a light bulb go on for someone; particularly when that light bulb is freeing you from unnecessary shame that you've carried for a long time.

Seth hmm

Mike Does that make sense?

Seth yeah yeah I want to circle back to that. What are those points in your life though that have shaped you religiously isn't the word that I want to use. Spiritually also isn't the word I want to use. But what are those, those, things that when you think back you're like: “This moment right here…” this is where I began to become…at least whatever you are now. I'm a big fan of believing that the Christian that I'll be in a decade is probably going to be different than the one that I am now, and if not I'm a little sad for faith.

Mike Oh, bro. You're in good company.

I remember a conversation with my dad when I drove a big wheel down my front road, the road right outside my front house. And you're you're near Charlottesville, I grew up in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Seth Yeah I actually live right outside Staunton, it’s a much smaller city right at the base of the Wintergreen Ski resort there.

Mike Hot dog man! Yeah I know Wintergreen…I learned to snowboard at Wintergreen.

Seth I've never be on a snowboard up there, I'm brittle and old and it’s not happening, not happening.

Mike osteoporosis like…?

Seth yes

Mike So conversation with my dad like I knew I was bad and I knew I needed someone to save me from my spankings. So those early conversations like that whole like “Jesus will be your savior” it's like okay cool yeah I can get into that. I definitely want someone else to take my spankings because I got a lot of them. Then I would say a couple like inexplicable sort of experiences one would be my freshman year a high school I went to a young life camp and I sat out on this lake and there was a heat lightning storm and for lack of better words I felt the presence of God.

I felt like I was connected to this Great Being who loved me even though I was this little peon in the universe, right. And then my senior high school, and I write about it in my book, I got in a near-fatal car accident. Got thrown out of a car, broke my back in 2 places, broke my head, and you know I flat-lined five times on the way to the hospital. That was the first time I went, “Oh man. I am fragile and life is fragile”.

There's this verse in the book of Job that it's actually one of his friends…there's kind of like ranting about what he thinks about God. So it's a weird verse but it basically says if it was God's intention and he withdrew his breath all mankind returned to the dust. So getting in a near-fatal car accident senior high school is this revelatory moment of “wow I am dust and I'm gonna die and if I'm breathing it's a gift”, right? And then I get him to college and I start I went to like a private Christian school called Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Seth mm-hmm

Mike Which most kids go to just because the word beach is in the title

Seth and the other 20% are there because they were forced to go by their parents.

Mike Yeah and those people I usually fail out the first semester. There's a very high Freshman flunk out rate at Palm Beach Atlantic, unfortunately. But I went all four years I loved it. My first day on campus there's this group of kids who are just just worshiping and praying right outside my dorm room and I looked over my balcony I went, “man there's a lot of good-looking girls down there”. There were guys playing guitar and I just started learning to play the guitar after having my near-fatal car accident in high school because I had to lay on my back for two months, waiting for my back to heal. And while waiting for my back to heal that's the first time I asked for a guitar. So I didn't start playing guitar until I was 18 years old

Seth hmm

Mike So I got to freshman year of college and I was like man. There are these good looking girls and these guys who play guitar…these good-looking girls are singing with them so I need to get better at the guitar. And with all that mixed motivation, I again, like my freshman year high school sitting there with 50 kids experienced this sort of supernatural, effectual, presence that I didn't have any other explanation for. And I saw things in that freshmen year college, when usually people are experimenting and doing all kinds of crazy stuff. I got really into prayer, and really into worship, and we would three or four times a night five of us or 50 of us would gather in this little outdoor amphitheater outside my freshmen room and just pray for each other and worship and sing. I just experienced a feeling that I'd never really experienced before.

Seth mm-hmm. I relate a lot to that. So we talked a bit earlier and so I went to Liberty and had a very similar experience with guys and guitars and you know attractive women. So one of the questions that…so we buried the lead…so the name of your book is is a play on words. Which I do want to ask you about in a minute, Finding God's Life for My Will and the question I'll ask you is…I don't really want to know why the play on words I just don't know what you mean by finding God's life and then how that relates to any choice that I want to make. However, we'll table that for a second. So at the amphitheater if it's anything like Liberty and you know the flock that I was around what would be the ratio of, you know “real worship music” you know Heart of Worship, Chris Tomlin, maybe a bit of that..you know…the early stuff there. And then you'd have you know More than Words and maybe Enrique Iglesias. You know just the G C D (chords) things. So what would be that ratio there between - if I just twist these words a bit - it could be a worship song, but really it's just an Enrique Iglesias song or Extremes More Than Words. You know, just to get somebody to swoon. Like what would be that ratio there at your university.

Mike Honestly, in those little moments, it was like 15 percent Enrique and trying to think Lifehouse was popular you know at that time;

Seth absolutely yeah falling even more in love with you

Mike yeah absolutely. We weren't even to Tomlin yet, there was this record called Enter The Worship circle if you remember that?

Seth I do yeah that was the one that was a raindrop…right? That's hitting down and it's a raindrop I think yeah I

Mike Yeah, I don't remember the cover. I just remember playing those songs to my fingers bled.

Seth mm-hmm

Mike and those were the, those are the the repeat

Seth Enter the Worship Circle, I think was the one that was like Casting Crowns before Casting Crowns…like acoustic Creed-ish, Casting Crowns-ish right?

Mke No…it wasn’t Creedish; what are you talking about? It was more like “hippie-ish”

Seth I guess the vocal tone from what I'm remembering in my head.

Mike Well the guy from Waterdeep they wrote alot of songs. They were like seventies sort of rock band. So it had that sort of like, you know, Jesus Movement, 70’s, kind of thing going on. A lot of djembe…whole lotta djembe.

Seth well that's portable! It’s a better percussion than that back half of the guitar. Because you hit that too often and your guitar’s out of tune and it just ruins the whole night.


Getting back to the topic, so what do you mean in that title there of “finding God's life”? That's not a phrase that people say, like everybody says “God's will” or “my will” or “your will be done” and really I think when most people say that they're just looking for permission to do what they already want to do. And then pray about it so what do you mean when you say finding God's life?

Mike Okay, so just I have this unique position, right, I started a band spring of 2000, so it's been 19 and a half years. I've played in churches all across America, every denomination, you know, and the thing that I see over and over and over is this weird belief that if we obey and do things right and pray enough and have enough faith we can leverage God to give us what we really want. The rampant prayer I hear over and over is “I need to know God's will for my life, I need to go know God's will for my life, I want to know God's will for my life”. And there's this sort of like belief that if I do every and correctly he'll show me his will for my life. But really what we're saying is I want to know his plan for my life, and I want to know that if I obey he'll give me what I really want out of life.

Which really if you want to really label it correctly we're just saying “God how can i obey you where you'll owe me my idols” because like “God if I don't have sex till I’m married then you owe me a virgin to marry.” right; or if I am virtuous and I do business correctly you owe me like this really prosperous business and success in the business field one day.

And so I go I don't understand why we keep asking what's God's will for my life? There's so many verses in Scripture it's like this is God's will for your life…be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, and like well “no I need to know like this the secret plan” and I'm going let me get this straight you…you don't care how you make money or why you make money you just want to know that you're gonna make money. Because they're like “God what's what's the plan show me my career” and Gods going…yeah before we work on your career can we work on like why you want to make all that money. Why career is so important to you…

Seth yeah

Mike and why you need to be…So I had the stupid analogy about the book right. I was making a smoothie for my daughters I have four daughters by the way

Seth mm-hmm

Mike yeah all under the age of 10 and having four daughters is great just means someone's crying and it's usually me, someone is always crying.

Seth no they're crying, you're weeping.

Mike yes exactly I'm, dude right now right when we get off this podcast, I'm gonna go pick up my wife from the airport. I've been watching the girls by myself for 7 days so she could have this big trip out to Yosemite with her friend; I'm actually passed out right now. I'm talking in my sleep.

Seth But have they eaten anything more than chicken nuggets an easy Mac because that's my go-to?

Mike And Fun-Dip-come on…

Seth No... fun dip, so I don't know where you're at but there's too many the little pissants that come in with fun-dip because fund dip(s) everywhere, and although I have a miniature dachshund, she's kind of averse to flavored sugar. She just won't pick it up and I just don't want to…I just don't want…it's too much it's everywhere and then there's ants everywhere. So now it's just chicken nuggets an easy Mac

Mike My kids lick the fun-dip dust off the ground…I mean there is no trace of it left

Seth I mean well that's impressive.

Mike (laughter) So I'm making for my kids the other day right it's early in the morning and I've actually I'm actually gonna fly on a plane early in the morning to go do this festival with Tenth Avenue North. So I get up early and I'm like feeling like a king because I've set my alarm super early, I've gotten up at 5 a.m., I'm gonna make this smoothie for my girls so that my wife when she wakes up breakfast will be made for the girls. And smoothie is just it's the only way I can secretively force nutrients into my children's body.

Seth mm-hmm

Mike Right…so good because you can hide all kinds of nutrients

Seth oh yeah throw kale in with Kiwi yeah

Mike You never know! So this is what I’m doing…I added an avocado, to make it creamy, so I’m forking half an avocado into the Vitamix blender and my nine-year-old wakes up. It's like 5:15 in the morning she comes downstairs she goes “dad what are you doing?”

I said, “I'm making a smoothie I was gonna put it in the fridge so you guys could have it when you wake up.” and she says “Oh daddy! Daddy I want to help. and I said “ok here”, I mean I was about to throw some spinach in. Well I just forked the avocado which came downstairs took me by surprise and I dropped to the fork in with the avocado into the Vitamix.

Next thing I know she's putting a big handful of spinach into the Vitamix. I forget the forks in there right so she goes to hit the switch on the Vitamix…well what happens? The fork, the lights in the kitchen are like flickering right, and then this fork goes shooting out the side of the Vitamix and puts a hole in the wall. I'm not making this up there's a hole in the wall. It exploded outside the Vitamix-there is smoothie everywhere!

Seth I feel bad for laughing, but I don'.

MIke So now I'm gonna spend the next 20 minutes I have to get ready to go to the airport cleaning up and…okay so the title of my book is finding God's Life for My Will, right? It's, God I don't need to know your will for my life like, what the big plan is, I just need your life to come change my will. Some of us are going we're just throwing stuff in! I want to make my portfolio look perfect! I want to make I'm putting everything in! I look good, my Instagram looks amazing! Everything is like awesome and God's going “hey how about that fork that's in your your smoothie...like the bitterness you have for that guy?

It's like, no, God what's like am I supposed to be a lawyer or am I supposed to be an astronaut and Gods like hey can we just work on the bitterness you've got in there?

No God! Like just show me what to do. I just, before we do that, just take the fork out! You got a fork in there and if you don't deal with that fork now then you could be the most beautiful put together businessman but it's gonna come out sideways eventually.

Seth mm-hmm

Mike That's sort of the the idea the book. How I have seen my own hidden idols come out sideways.

Seth Did they drink the smoothy?

Mike Heck yeah they drink the smoothy! I mean I was scraping it up off the ground. I was like “this is good for your immune system…you will like this!”

Seth It makes me think of description of the plank in your eye but if you don't address it, when that fork explodes, like it's gonna break you. It's gonna break your Vitamix, you probably got a new one now, but it also I mean you got lucky it sounds like it didn't hurt anybody but it literally could have shot anyone. It could hit you could hit your daughter

Mike it could have impaled me…right through the stomach

Seth I think you're right now if we don't address it when it shoots out like it's gonna cause more damage than your uncomfortability of dealing with it if you just sit with it if you just sit with it. What happens then when I'm trying to find my will and I work at a bank for a living and I feel like I'm good at it; and you know and I'm like, I've got these big dreams to do this. If I'm honest, if I'm really honest Mike, if I could make the amount of money that I needed to, to do this (podcast) I would do this full-time; if I could figure out how to make it work. I would much rather talk about God then talk about money. But I'm really good at the other and so what happens when my hopes and dreams seem to work out just fine but you don't feel like it's necessarily filling that hole of what God's will actually is? Like how do you make those two puzzle pieces, they go to different puzzles, all fit together?

Like I'm having success but I don't have any fulfillment-this will make me go bankrupt but I get so much fulfillment, like how do you reconcile it too?


Mike Right, and and it's sort of like ,we have to recognize that we do live in this very privileged place in world history where we even get to ask that question. Like you're living in poverty you're not going “What can I do that's gonna bring me a great fulfillment and feeding my family?” You know? You're going “I will do whatever it takes!”

Seth mm-hmm

Mike But we have to acknowledge that that can't be God's intent-is just do whatever you can to pay the bills. There's an amazing Frederic Buechner quote that I've been sort of trying to aim the trajectory of my life toward, and he says…do you know Frederick Buechner?

Seth No, mm-hmm.

Mike He wrote in the 60s and 70s primarily, anyway he's basically too religious for a secular crowd and to secular for a religious crowd.

Seth So like Henri Nouwen where he only fits in now?

Mike Yes but even more like…salty. Think of Henry Nouwen and he had a love baby with Mark Twain

Seth (laughing..so much laughing)

Mike okay…so make sense yeah a little more like salt of the Earth. Okay he says your calling is where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Seth hmm

Mike He’s like, you got to ask two questions. You don't just ask what makes me come alive, if that's the only question you ask you just end up a narcissistic a-hole right. And you can't just ask what is the world need, what does the world need, was does the world need.

Because if you only ask that then you just burn out but if you can figure out and obviously this is it's a trajectory it's like what you're aiming for it doesn't mean you're gonna get there right now. But if you can at least aim your ship toward, okay what makes me come alive, and how can I meet the world's deep needs doing that thing? That's where true fulfillment and true calling is I believe.

Seth I would go one more ,if I found anything in doing this A: other people are impacted by just having an honest conversation but I find if I focus on meeting my needs other people hear truths in that whether or not they intended to. At least that's the feedback that I get I get it like

Mike I get the tension of like Tenth Avenue North is my band. The last EP we put out was called The Things We’ve Been afraid to say and every every song was about an issue that the church doesn't like to talk about. And for the people who listened to it I felt like it was incredibly rewarding, but it was our worst performing piece of art we've ever put out, commercial.

Seth I'm assuming that's because, and I forget who they give you like a name…like Susan, or whatever doesn't the people on the backend of the production, like a target demographic Susan or whatever.

Mike The name is Becky

Seth Forget who told me that…David Zack from Remedy Drive, I think, and I'm assuming it's because they couldn't put that on KLOVE…I don't know I don't listen to SpiritFM or KLOVE all that often but I'm assuming that probably relates to why it wasn't as successful.

Mike Here’s the deal with KLOVE, people like Christian artists they kind of have this chip on their shoulder about Christian radio. I go look it's not that KLOVE doesn't want to talk about Jesus but they built their brand on a slogan called “positive and encouraging”

Seth Which is not the Bible..

Mike Right well but it is parts of the Bible. do you know I mean you're like and this is true of a lot of churches wait guys we're not against the other parts of the Bible but these parts if we double down on this one section we found that more people like us and more people want to be a part.

Seth mm-hmm, yeah

Mike You know it it doesn't start like malicious or through ill contrived I guess. It really begins is like Hey…how can the most people hear about Jesus we find that if we just stick with the positive encouraging things about Jesus more people hear about him. And if their slogan were music about Jesus that is beautiful and true. That's a really it's a much narrower slogan but it's actually a much broader landscape of genre and themes you could sing about right.

But I get it like Jesus isn't appealing to people who don't know Jesus so positive encouraging it's like that could that can be marketed to people who know Jesus and marketed people who don't know Jesus.


Seth guess my biggest gripe with KLOVE is it doesn't matter where I'm driving or KLOVE or anything like it it doesn't really matter what you call it you know Way-FM or whatever; it's all the same stuff. Um when you hit that point of the dial on the radio there is a lyrical and melodic stamp but it's like that with with everything like I know when I hit the country station it doesn't even matter like you know when you're in the dial range? That's my biggest gripes is there's nothing…the lyrics are fine but the lyrics aren't the only part of music that moves me matter of fact sometimes I just wish people would not sing and just let their emotions bleed through the instruments. But that leads me…it's actually so a question I like to ask every musician I talk to…

How does making and writing music shift your lens personally of how you see God?

Mike Oh…wow…

Most of the songs I've written I feel like have been gifts to help me actually believe God likes me. Because I feel like my default is to believe he doesn't like me, and you know I think…I think it was Leo Tolstoy who said music is the shorthand of emotion. Like you put these little lyrical truths, that you've heard a million times, you put it in a song with a melody and suddenly it's much more impactful and much more quickly (impactful).

Seth yeah

Mike and a lot of the songs you know people say to me, man thanks for writing that song; that was just for me, and I was like…actually it was for me but glad it spoke to you too.

Seth right right

Mike There's great verse in Psalm 49 where David says I incline my ear to wisdom and with the music of the lyre I will solve my riddle. So that to me is a really beautiful template for some writing is I'm just trying to solve my riddles with this music. I don't know it's it's interesting I the Christian radio thing like I love every song I've ever put out on Christian radio. They sound a lot different than the songs that haven't been on Christian radio but I get that they are, you know, they're trying to mathematically figure out what will people like the most. And honestly they really do care they're like “I really want people to hear about Jesus” but we also want the most amount of people to be listening. Mathematically we found that this, you know even like the mix of a song you listen to on record, and then listen to on the radio and the vocal is almost twice as loud and that's because the people who listened to that station have said we really want to hear the vocal, you know.

Those sort of intangibles, it's interesting, a lot of the songs even, I don't know if you heard the Hillsong UNITED song oceans that was just a massive song

Seth mm-hmm

Mike they had like four different radio edits for it than the album version. That was because they went, look we really love the song and we'll put it in whatever package you need it to be in to speak to your audience

Seth hmm

Mike Cause as an artist you're always balancing this weird line of “this is really what I believe in” but also, like I tell my guys whenever we take the stage

“Don't forget we're waiters tonight.”

Seth What do you mean waiters?

Mike Okay so like there's two ways, well there's probably multiple ways, to look at it but in my mind there's two ways to look at taking the stage. I'm either there for them to serve me, or for me to serve them.

Seth Okay

Mike And when I think of my job as being a waiter….I go “cool! We have this art, we have these songs, but ultimately I'm here to serve you. Then it…it shifts just my whole perspective on what I want to get out of the evening. And part of that is I was a theater major and you know there's a lot of different ways of looking and acting. There's some people who say as long as the person viewing me acting feels something then my acting is effective'; but then there's some actors you go depending on the style, or the express…gosh what's the word?

Seth method acting?

Mike there it is! Say if the audience feel something it doesn't matter I have to feel something refer to be important and like I look at it as … man I want it supposed to be feeling something but if it's one or the other I hope you feel something before I do.

Seth I get that. So I sing at my church

Mike sing us something!!!

Seth So that probably won't happen although…

Mike have you ever sung on this podcast?

Seth Uhh… The patrons


Seth no stop it, not doing it. Maybe, I don't know, maybe I will. I have sung and I think people that follow me on Facebook have seen me singing. I sang a song that John Mark McMillan did on his Christmas album which is one of the best Christmas albums that I've ever listened to, that came out last year but I can't remember the name…Baby Son…that's the name of the song. I enjoy singing though the comfort level of my singing is I have to have a guitar in front of me even if I'm not playing it or I feel like I'm too close to everybody, if that makes sense? It's my blue Linus blanket, and that's that's all about me.

Mike A Linus blanket..that’s fantastic!

Seth It's the best analogy I can think of mostly because there's also blue blanket directly behind the computer here so but the only two, Oceans song, that I've ever listened to are the one that they'd filmed in I believe it was Israel and then one from the Relevant studios because I really don't want all of that mix all I want is as few guitars as possible and the voices; because that's really what I want is the voices on almost any song.

I don't want the production I need the emotion because if you sing as you do your voice is the biggest instrument out there but that's hard to relate to and it's really hard to explain to people that don't - don't sing

Mike Well no, what sets bands apart more than anything isn't the music, it's … there's something that you can't replicate and that's the timbre of the singer's voice.

Seth There's a part in your book you talk about position and so I asked it because you relate to like you know Michael Jordan and I think you tell story about Michael Jordan just you know when he was done playing basketball like just falling off you know Wylie coyote style like right off the edge. Like life is over, I have no place in this world, and I feel like so many people set the bar so high especially in the economy and the culture that we live in America of I have to excel all the time; anything less than whatever accolade I'm striving for is not acceptable. I'm curious, you know when we're talking about roles, what does it look like to be the Barnabas? You know in whatever vocation you fit into, whatever puzzle piece that finally latches into, you know as you're honest with yourself and with life and what you've been called to do to to bring joy to the world. Like how do you know if that's where you're at and then if you can realize that like how do you make sure that you're not ever trying to to push further than you really meant to but also still be satisfied in that?

Because I think you know without Barnabas most of what we have from Paul we wouldn't have that, but nobody talks about Barnabas; like his role is deeply important and to take the wisdom that you took from Monsters University and without whatever that that one guy is with the one eyeball without him

Mike Mike Wyzowski

Seth and then we'll call the shaggy one Paul; he wouldn't have succeeded.

Mike If you’d have kept reading there's a chapter in the book called The Day I Stopped Asking God to Use Me, That is, so I worked at a church a local church for a long time. A lot of people who work in a local church I don't think they realize how big of a deal they are. Like I say this all the time, I've been in this band for 19 years and you know we've gotten some accolades here and there but I've never felt as famous as I did when I worked at a local church because everybody knew me everywhere I went in that town. And when I got out on the road and touring I just prayed what we always prayed “God use us. God use us, you've given us the special thing that we're gonna share with the world; we want we want to be used by you.”

And that's a good prayer right? Like God used me, God use me, God use me. Then one day God kind of like revealed to me how even that really noble prayer can go sideways in your heart. We're at this big festival and it was the first time we were kind of you know, we had started touring now, we were out with other bands and we'd never been in that situation. We were always just the worship band at church, there was no one to compete with right; and now it's weird like, the longer you do music the more young kids who've just been in the music business a tenth of the time you have-they shoot past you in accolades and listenership and CDs sold and tickets sold.

And it's easy to go and “I'm doing it wrong” you know and I'm sure if I keep writing books I'll say the same thing about book writing. I remember this one time we're doing this festival called Livefest in Wisconsin and we were sitting backstage going “God use our band, use our band, use our band.” A God just kind of tapped me on the shoulder and said “Hey what if I want to use the other bands?”

And I remember (Dog barks over and over) “oh sorry…we got a dog barking here” (laughter)

I remember I was sitting there going “that's fine just use me first!” And I realized that I was using being used by God to to be my identity; and I actually that day…I stopped asking God to use me.

I love saying that people go what? That's…. your you a heretic!

I go “No! Now whatever situation I'm in I just say God move, God work, God set people free, God heal peoples shame.”

I'm here I would love to be used, I'm available, but it doesn't need to be me. If you use someone else I will celebrate that you're moving; and suddenly I'm not in competition with other people, I'm in solidarity and I'm in community with them all striving for the same thing. I'm actually able to participate in their joy when God uses them instead of being like fraught with jealousy because it wasn't me.

Seth That goes back to what you were talking about earlier with you know when you're on stage you you want to act as the waiter like it's the same mentality it's just a differently it's a differently phrased sentence. That's actually the last thing that I wanted to touch on before we wrap with…I have a few random questions that have nothing to do with anything but I'm curious because I could read your humor in the book. So I just, you know some little, I don't ever do a rapid-fire session but I'm gonna try we're gonna make it happen.

How do you then define joy because that that words got a lot of nuance and I think I know you have a chapter on joy that again full disclosure haven't finished reading. How do you define joy because I think what is joy for one person is deep pain for another person? You know the joy of childbirth, or the joy of motherhood/fatherhood or success or music or whatever. It is like that joy can equally be entirely unjoyful.

Mike Yes, I'm generalizing the quote Ann Voskamp she talks about the secret joy is to keep looking for it in the places you're unlikely to find it.

Seth hmm

Mike so joy is like that to me they always say joy and happiness or two different things. Happiness is everything I want circumstantially has worked out and I'm happy. Joy is I have a piece, a bedrock of peace, that exists even when circumstantially things are going way wrong. Right…

Seth yeah

Mike and I think that only comes and the theme in my book is really just surrendering your idols and the more you surrender every Idol then the more circumstance doesn't have the power over your peace that used to have. Joy is peace that surpasses circumstance.

Seth who is the quote again you said?

Mike Ann Voskamp

Seth You keep with the last names that I don't know how to spell but Google will fix that…

Just a couple of quick questions just to tie up some loose ends that made me laugh as I was skimming through…

So when you explain Hollywood video to your kids what's the look on their face? Because my first job was at Blockbuster Video you know?

Mike Yes!

Seth Out in West Texas and there was a Hollywood Video across from me; it was the enemy, because I don't think that they charged you to rewind the videos. and so either way,

Mike Sure didn’t, I rewound those videos bro!

Seth Yeah I was 50 cents. Do It Yourself I mean this is, you're gonna pay for my service, so but what is like how what's the best way to describe the look on their face when you're like, “let me explain to you Meet Joe Black-in a six-inch tome of two massive VHS tapes. Like how does that work when you try to explain that to your kids or other people?

Mike That's funny cause me and you we probably working at the same time when you meet Joe Black came out when I was working at Hollywood Video. And it was, it was, two VHS tapes.

Seth Yep

Mike Double-double tape! Did blockbuster charge you double if both tapes weren't rewound or was it a just single rewind fee?

Seth I think it was per UPC…

Mike Ha that’s fantastic!

Seth You know I think it was so it was just one item that you rented.

Mike I given up, I've actually given up, trying because the best equivalent is RedBox cause RedBox is still around though I don’t know when this podcast gonna air, it might not be around by the time this thing airs. But my kids they get that like well I gotta go get it cuz it'll save us $4 I leave here…and I go…but a whole store like…

THIS…guys…imagine all of these titles that were skimming through on Netflix, imagine each of them as an entity on a shelf and we have to go into a store and browse them manually. I lose them on the manual concept, you know?

Seth I can remember, you know, from the cashier stand you would judge people inherently as you watch the same people week over week. Like, oh that guy only goes down the drama section he's got some issue. That guy I know he's going to the comedy section and we moved the comedy section and nobody told him. This is gonna be fun everybody get together.

Mike Maybe the guy looking in the comedy section is the one who has issues cause he needs a pick me up. Maybe the drama guy is only trying to get in touch with his feelings.

Seth I'm off topic

Second: you reference What About Bob, and I again, I quote what about Bob often so what's the best scene in that movie? Like if someone goes to RedBox and finds out that What About Bob is not there and then they go to iTunes and they buy it anyway…where did they skip to?

Mike Richard Dreyfuss him and Steve Martin have probably embodied physical tension better than any other two actors at least in the early 90s sure. But like the tension that builds in that scene (dinner scene) we're just…just because of the bliss that Bill Murray is experiencing eating that fried chicken.

Seth I'm with you although I think the kids make that scene the daughter in there that looks on her face.

Mike Well that’s it I mean 90% of acting is reacting.

Seth For me it's the “I'm sailing! I'm a sailor”!

Mike I’m Sailing!!!!

Seth Final thoughts, like if people have not been listening and I hope that I hope that you have. I don't often get to laugh a lot on these podcast and so thank you for that. Often it's so overtly serious that I'm afraid to laugh but I've enjoyed laughing a lot and I probably kept my daughter awake who's literally above me.

Mike I just read this thing, an article from Princeton I think, about the honesty that exists in a community in correlation with the amount of cursing that is allowed by that community. That like the more cursing there is the more honest a community. And in some ways I feel like for me like the more I give myself permission to laugh and my kids to laugh there's like there's actually a deeper ability to actually go real low, and I don't know I have to do some study on that I haven't read Princeton’s study in detail.

Seth I mean do you feel the need now to curse is that what you're saying you need?

Mike No no!

Seth Feel free.

Mike It's like the great dramas, like the really greatest dramas in film history, are not sad the whole way through, right? There's always a comedic element because it actually enables the viewer to like go deeper down. Like Braveheart has hilarious scenes and that's what makes it great because it sort of like relieves you and resets you and almost like builds trust. Okay, I can laugh with this guy, I can go deep.

Seth Yeah he does that craziness, and so does “spoiler alert” you know Game of Thrones that giant guy. I don't know if you watch Game of Thrones or not but there's a giant it's a….

Mike Yeah, I don't watch Game of Thrones because I’m a Christian…Ha !!!

Seth I also am one and I finished it. But do you really not?

Mike I haven’t

Seth There is a comedic character that's like he lives outside of civilization so like if Jonah's trying to escape Nineveh you know he's going west off the known earth and then he meets a giant there like a half giant. The dude is hilarious but he is that in that whole show…of all this war and tension and ability and then I'm a crack this joke which and you're right it builds like you just you wait for him to be on screen.

But for those listening in the back row if they haven't heard anything at all like what is the last thing that you want them to hear and then how do they connect with you?

Mike The only thing is like that God, and don't miss hear me I'm not saying God's not interested in what you do with your life, but he's way less interested in what you're doing then he is in how you're doing it and why you're doing it. What you do with your career to make money is not near it's not even close to why you're wanting to make money and how you're doing it. So that's it.

Seth Perfect how do people connect with you? Obviously they can get the book everywhere fine books are sold I feel like in August that to answer your previous question that'll be close to when this releases. Where would you direct people to either engage with you, engage with the band engage, with a book. Where would you send them?

Mike We have a new record coming out a couple days before the book comes out. It's all happening. Honestly for me ,if you want to talk to me online direct message me on Instagram. That for whatever reason of all things like there’s a million ways to comment on things if you direct message me on Instagram I'm gonna see it. I may not respond to you but I will see it and choose not to respond.


Seth Ha…farm that out to your ten-year-old it'll be fun.

Mike Could you imagine….

Seth Say whatever you want

Mike God is awesome! Love, Ponies! Butterflies Mike are you okay? Have you been drinking?

Seth It would be fun. So those links obviously I'll include the show notes. Thank you again so much for being on I've really enjoyed man.

Mike Dude, such a pleasure. Thanks man.


Seth And we wrapped another one didn't we? It's fantastic! it is such a privilege to be able to do this. Thank you so much the supporters of the show on Patreon and if you're not one that get off the couch and make that happen well actually you can do it from your phone so just stay on the couch and make that happen.

But thank you to every single one of you to support the show financially you make this work. I can't stress enough how much you make this work and I am honored that you value the show in that way.

Gor those of you that can't do that rate and review the show I won't read some of them on the air but man they really…I love those things I'd like to see them even if I don't agree with them. But remember to do that it helps other people kind of make their way you know when they search “Bible” or when they search “church” or when they search “faith” to find a show that they maybe wouldn't have seen prior. So rate and review the show

All of the music today is from the newest release of Tenth Avenue North. I believe the album is called No Shame it is really good! I had the privilege of listening to it a little bit before its release to find songs for this episode…I mean it's really really good, I can't stress that enough. So you'll find links to today's tracks on the Spotify playlist for the show.

Thank you for listening, I hope that you have a fantastic week.

Be blessed, remember that your beloved. Talk to you soon!