Being a dad of three young daughters, it is difficult to find role models in the music world for my daughters who are making edifying and exciting pop music. You hear pop music everywhere you go, and most of the time the songs are fairly hollow when it comes to life application and promoting a positive self-image.
For that reason, 1GN (formerly 1 Girl Nation), now a trio comprised of Carmen Hadley, Kayli Robinson and Lauryn Taylor Bach, is an important band to me. After a successful debut album featuring the hits "While We're Young" and "In the Eyes," 1GN is back with their energetic, fun and more mature sophomore album Unite featuring "Get Hype." This album is loaded with positive, grace-filled messages of hope. The upbeat and heavily produced musical arrangements on this album perfectly accentuate these great songs.
I've had the chance to see the band live a few times now, and I really enjoy their energetic and life-giving songs which I can proudly share with my daughters to help guide them in their daily walks as followers of Jesus. I had the opportunity to speak with Carmen, Kayli and Lauren in-person about "Guard Your Heart."
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
Kayli: What's cool for me about this song is we are three different women, so we all take away something different about this song. What I take from the song is that as women we sometimes end up settling or give up on love. Now more than ever, girls are being faced with images coming at them through social media telling them how to dress and that guys will like them more if they dress a certain way.
You're going to find your worth and true love in who you are in God. Carmen's married, and she'll tell you her first love is God. Even when you find your mate on earth, you need to remember that. We want girls to know that you can only find that person when God is your first love. That's my take on the song.
Lauren: This song was written from my journal. Growing up I was the "good girl," and I felt alone. I wasn't necessarily bullied, but I was treated differently. It was really hard, but now looking back I am so thankful because I didn't experience the heartache that other people did. My take on the song is that I want to encourage girls like me or young girls before they get to that decision-making time in their life to guard their hearts. To go ahead and guard your heart early, so you don't have to experience heartache.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Psalm 139:13-14(NKJV): "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well."
Psalm 139:17-18(NKJV): "How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You."
Philippians 4:7(NKJV): "and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Proverbs 4:23(NIV): "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
Ephesians 2:10(NLT): "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago."
Romans 12:2(The Voice): "Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete."
1 Peter 2:9(MSG): But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you--from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.
What is the takeaway message?
Carmen: In our live show, we have a moment where we take out our phones. One thing we know is that our phones have become a part of everyday life. Social media we check all the time, Snapchat and Instagram has become the norm, and that's all some kids are talking about. It can be cool to keep up with your friends, but along with that they are being faced with hate and comparison, wanting to get "likes" for posts and looking for acceptance in the wrong places.
Finding your identity and worth in God and guarding your hearts from believing things about yourself that aren't true is what this song is also about. On the internet, people think they can say things they would never say to someone in real life. We have a lot of songs on our album about that topic including this song, "No Filter" and "Haters." The Word of God says "He is our Rock and our shield." The song is based on Proverbs 4:23, which says "above all else, guard your heart." It says over and over in Scripture that God is our shield.
Really this song can apply to so many situations, and to the younger generation to guard their hearts in relationship issues. The verse Ephesians 2:10 has meant a lot to me in my life. I grew up with scoliosis, and my back is really messed up. Especially in middle school where I had to wear a back brace, a lot of insecurities carried over in my life. It wasn't until I found that verse that "we are God's masterpiece" that I realized that God made me that way. I see it as a flaw, and I don't like it, and I want it to be covered up. It can be used because I see people differently and can better see people the way God sees them because of how I see myself.
Lyrics: In the middle of this crazy messed up world we live in
Surrounded by voices pressuring us to give in
Believe me, I get it
I know you wanna fit in
Everybody's telling you
What you're missing
But don't listen to anything but the truth
Know your worth 'cause you are priceless
More than gold, more than diamonds
Be the light inside the dark
Keep your faith and guard your heart
It's where life, it's where love is
Every beat has a purpose
It holds everything you are
Above all else
Guard your heart
Guard your heart
Maybe you feel all alone like something's missing
And all of your friends have found their prince charming
Believe me, I get it
You're so tempted
To settle or give up on love
But it's in God's timing
You can't rush it, don't believe you are not enough
I'm not saying to build a wall
Just to trust that God won't let you fall
I'm not saying to build a wall
Just to trust that God's in control of it all
My wife and I just celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary. The key to a biblical marriage is to keep Jesus at the center and know that He is the light of the world. God is the only true source of hope, rest and security. We can never completely be those things for our spouses. The Lord commands to us to have no other gods before Him. I love Jesus and I love my wife as Christ loves His Church. It is my heart's desire to more selflessly show my love and devotion and serve my wife in a Christ-like manner. That's a way we can both guard our hearts in God's love.
My daughters are 16, 12 and 10 years old, and this album is perfect for them. It has been one of my missions in sharing the biblical truth behind songs by Christians to help women who are bombarded with negative messages from the world regarding body image and identity to know that their true identity is found in the Person of Jesus. We are all made in the image and likeness of God. I am just my daughters' earthly father. They ultimately belong to our Heavenly Father, God. I want them to know their eternal destiny.
Unite features strong vocals, relevant and biblical messages, and this is a solid sophomore album from a talented young band. Probably the most memorable moments on the album for me are the songs about being made in God's image and not seeking society's approval but knowing that God created and loves us all as we are. That critical message is heard loud and clear in this song. I am passionate about this topic. There are important messages about our self-worth and identity in Christ that we all need to hear in this great new song.
As people experience the music and ministry of 1GN, I pray that they know the truth of their identities that they were made in God's image and likeness. His Word tells us that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." Having three young daughters, this song is the type of message that I want them to hear: "Know your worth 'cause you are priceless, more than gold, more than diamonds, be the light inside the dark, keep your faith and guard your heart." Amen to that!
Watch the lyric video below.
NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.
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