BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#163 - "My Own Little World" by Matthew West
NRT contributor Kevin Davis spends some time with Matthew West to talk about the biblical inspirations behind his latest single, "My Own Little World."
 


For his new record, The Story Of Your Life, Matthew West did something unusual: he turned the microphone around. Rather than write about what he was experiencing in his life, he asked his fans to submit the stories of their lives. When he opened up this opportunity to his fans, the message spread quickly--and soon almost 10,000 stories were submitted. Radio stations, media outlets, and retailers caught the vision and helped spread the word of this unique album. The stories gave Matthew a window into what his fans had experienced in their lives. And they covered a wide range of human experiences and emotions. “My Own Little World” perhaps serves as a capstone to the entire album, describing a person who lived in their own “little world” and then was awakened to the bigger picture of need and God’s work in the world.

I got the opportunity to interview Matthew about “My Own Little World” and this is what he shared with me.

Please tell me about the background in writing the song "My Own Little World."

I spent two months in a Tennessee cabin reading every story and writing songs inspired by them. During those months, my eyes were opened to see the world outside my door like I had never witnessed before. It was as if a veil had been lifted, allowing me a rare look into the lives of everyday people. I read joyful stories about adoption and cancer survivors. I read heart-breaking stories of abuse and broken homes. And with every look into someone’s life, something began to stir in my own. This song was written one night in the cabin as I found myself humbled by the realization of just how sheltered my safe little Christian life is most days. For the first time, I was truly sharing in the hurt and the pain of these other people who I’ve never truly seen before, and it felt good. I first walked into that cabin with my own little world being “population me,” but with each new story God began to change that. This is the song that talks about how the thousands of stories opened my eyes and my heart to see the world outside of my door through the eyes of my Savior, through the eyes of compassion.

Do you have any Bible verses you used in writing the song?

Matthew 25:44-46: Then they also will answer Him, saying, "Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?" Then He will answer them, saying, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me." And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

What's the message listeners can take away from this song?

My prayer is that this song sets the table for the rest of the album. We must first get outside of ourselves, look beyond our “population one” and begin to see the world in a different light if we are truly going to make a difference and live a life that is pleasing to God. Join me in this prayer. Every single one of your stories matter. We are all living proof of God’s grace, love and forgiveness. Look beyond “population me” and don’t miss what matters.

Here are the lyrics:

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I’ve never gone hungry or always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket
Shoes on my feet
In my own little world
Population me

I try to stay awake
Through the Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate
But I never give ’til it hurts
And I turn off the news
When I don’t like what I see
It’s easy to do when it’s
Population me

What if there’s a bigger picture
What if I’m missing out
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world

Stopped at the red light, looked out my window
Outside the car, saw a sign,
Said “Help this homeless widow”
Just above this sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself,
“God, what have I been doing?”
So I rolled down my window
And I looked her in the eye
Oh how many times have I just passed her by
I gave her some money then I drove on through
In my own little world there’s
Population two

What if there’s a bigger picture
What if I’m missing out
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world

Start breaking my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
Put Your light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me


Following the great trend already established by Matthew West of completely transparent and vulnerable lyrics, "My Own Little World" addresses the truth of personal selfishness that most believers are too proud to admit. I applaud Matthew for once again convicting me that my faith is not just for me and God, but needs to be expressed in outward appreciation for what God has done for me. From "More" to "You Are Everything" and "The Motions" I continue to hear a progression musically and lyrically from Matthew West.

Here’s Matthew Henry’s commentary on Matthew 25:44-46: Good works done for God's sake, through Jesus Christ, are here noticed as marking the character of believers made holy by the Spirit of Christ, and as the effects of grace bestowed on those who do them. The wicked in this world were often called to come to Christ for life and rest, but they turned from his calls; and justly are those bid to depart from Christ, that would not come to him. Condemned sinners will in vain offer excuses. The punishment of the wicked will be an everlasting punishment; their state cannot be altered.

The bridge is the prayer of the song: “Start breaking my heart for what breaks Yours, Give me open hands and open doors, Put Your light in my eyes and let me see, That my own little world is not about me.”

Kevin Davis is a long time fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. Kevin also writes reviews for ChristianMusicReview.org. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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