For King & Country's Joel Smallbone on Reclaiming Identity and Vulnerability – Hope 103.2

For King & Country’s Joel Smallbone on Reclaiming Identity and Vulnerability

For King & Country has a penchant for writing songs that capture the nuances of the Christian life with a big sound and style.

By Laura BennettMonday 21 Mar 2022Hope DriveGuests and ArtistsReading Time: 3 minutes

Since their family made the move from Australia to America when Luke and Joel Smallbone where just kids, the brothers’ band For King & Country has become one of the most beloved artists in the Christian music genre.

Winning a number of Dove Awards, Grammys and Billboard Music Awards, For King & Country has a penchant for writing songs that capture the nuances of the Christian life with a sound and style that feels big on the radio and even bigger on stage.

This month, their fourth album What Are We Waiting For? dropped, and Joel told Hope 103.2 the “intermission” of the last few years has been a clarifying time as he learned what aspects of normality he craved.

“I’ve been waiting to get busy again, but not in a good sense,” Joel said.

“I felt the jitters of ‘I’ve got to do something’.

“I needed to pay attention to that because there’s something about stillness, there’s something about quiet, there’s something about slowing down that I think sets you in a really good rhythm with yourself, and with others and with God,” he said.

“There’s something about slowing down that I think sets you in a really good rhythm with yourself, and with others and with God,” – For King & Country’s Joel Smallbone

The forced pause of the pandemic has “given me opportunity to do all the things that you don’t want to do”, Joel said.

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“You don’t want to self-reflect, you don’t want to dig deeper in your marriage necessarily, you don’t want to ask yourself the question of, ‘am I Joel? Or am I just this guy in a band? Where’s my identity?’.

“All of these questions, if you stuff your life too full you can sort of avoid them – or at least seem to – [but the pandemic] has been a hard, but good, opportunity to just sit back and really dig into some of those big questions that I think we’ll be better for [asking],” he said.

The first single from the album, Love Me Like I Am, is one that Joel noted down the idea for in the middle of the night in a restless moment and then woke up and thought, “there’s something really interesting here”.

It combines both the notion that God loves us with all our flaws, and how profound it is it that he can continually offer up that kind of love.

“[The song] is a dualistic celebration of God loving humanity just as we are, but also very much about my wife just loving me as I am, not needing to be anything or do anything,” Joel said.

“It’s a celebration of the fact that we can emulate this God-given attribute of love with one another, and I see it play out in my life.”

If someone really knew everything about me, could they still love me?

Being fully known and fully loved is an experience based on vulnerability and trust that can make some of us feel uncomfortable: if someone really knew everything about me, could they still love me? Would they just abandon me?

Deciding to be vulnerable though, and become OK with our imperfections, is something Joel thinks people are embracing more both personally and within their communities.

“I do sense that we’re dealing with the skeletons in our closet better than we ever have in some ways,” Joel said.

“I feel like in a lot of churches people are having more real conversations, I feel like with therapy people are really getting into the depths, and with friendships.

“I think people are just understanding no matter where you fall on the spiritual spectrum, [being vulnerable] is a healthy, free way to live.”

“I think people are just understanding no matter where you fall on the spiritual spectrum, [being vulnerable] is a healthy, free way to live,” – For King & Country’s Joel Smallbone

For King & Country’s album What Are We Waiting For? is out now. Listen to Joel Smallbone’s full conversation in the player above.

What Are We Waiting For Album Cover

Source: Supplied