The Motions

Album: Something to Say (2008)
Charted: 110
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  • This was the third single from contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Matthew West's third studio album, Something to Say. It was one of West's most successful recordings to date, reaching #1 on Christian Adult contemporary radio in April 2009 and peaking at #10 on the Billboard Bubbling Under 100 Hot Singles chart.
  • The song is about complacency and a desire to move on from a stale faith. It was inspired by a June 2007 column that West wrote for CCM Magazine and some vocal fold surgery that he'd experienced. The singer explained to CCM Magazine: "I don't always feel it. Sometimes my faith seems stale. Numb. Sometimes I pray, but I don't feel connected. I sing, but my song sounds empty. I write, but my words sound cliché. I ask God questions, but I don't hear answers. I could try to act like I am always so spiritually refreshed and thriving in my relationship with God. But that wouldn't be honest. That wouldn't be me.

    Does your faith journey ever have these desert seasons? I think one of the greatest challenges in actively living out a relationship with Christ on earth is to avoid the trap of simply going through the motions. I know what a "Christian" should say. I know how to act. I know how to put up a spiritual front, even if I'm not passionately seeking God.

    That's why I wrote this song. I was frustrated and tired of that constant settling for a stale faith. God is a God of passion. His true plan for our lives is anything but boring. Every day, the God of adventure beckons his sons and daughters to quit going through the motions and walk into a life filled with passion and wonder. The last line of the chorus strikes me every time I sing it:

    I don't wanna spend my whole life asking
    What if I had given everything
    Instead of going through the motions?

    My surgery and silence really brought this song to life for me. Trials force movement. Pain makes you feel. I'm thankful for the difficult time I had to go through, because God used it to remind me that going through the motions is not really living."
  • The song's music video, which highlighted West's experience in 2007 with vocal surgery and two months of prescribed silence, was his first promo.
  • This topped the 2009 Billboard Hot Christian Song and Hot Christian Adult Contemporary Song charts. The song also ranked #4 on the Billboard decade-end chart for Christian Songs, having only been introduced to radio earlier in 2009. It was the third time West had claimed the Most Played Christian Song of the Year title, following "You Are Everything" in 2008 and "More" in 2003.


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