"I Give Myself Away" Song Story

Featuring William McDowell Posted on February 11, 2011

A few months ago I wrote in my Facebook status that I am really being challenged by the lyrics of my own songs. It’s much easier to sing about giving yourself away than it is to make it a daily reality. Help me Lord to make it a reality and not just a melody. There were a lot of responses and of course when one opens their heart the way I did there is a lot of room for interpretation. Let me clarify what I was saying. I believe that some understood and some maybe didn’t quite understand what I am saying.

I was asked by someone on Facebook last week where was I or what place was I in when I wrote that song? The answer to that question is that God spoke to my heart and invited me to hear His heart and as a result of a year alone with Him I wrote in response to what He was saying and showing me. This was after several years of internally questioning the outcomes of our worship, which seemed to be more focused on responses than results. As the Lord revealed His heart I would respond with writing and of course private worship to God. As a result “As we worship” was birthed and recorded live at my church where I serve as worship pastor.

Sometimes when you write a song it is out of the places you’ve been or maybe what you’ve been through etc. These specific songs on this CD are a response to what God is saying and mainly are prophetic in nature. As I was writing, I knew that what I was writing was ahead of me and more declarations of where we including myself need to be as the people who belong to God.

Where was I when I wrote “I give myself away?” specifically I was in church singing part of it as a musical response to a prophetic word that was released by my pastor Sam Hinn during a night of intercession. The rest came the next day as I began to contemplate what God was saying and I penned the words “I give myself away so You can use me.” That is the physical mechanics of how the song came but where was I? I was in the midst of a yearlong pursuit to know the heart of my Father. I learned that He is still asking of a generation the question that He asked of Isaiah in The book of Isaiah chap 6:8 “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Just like Isaiah when God asks that of us there is only one reasonable response, “Here am I send me!” How I long to be one that He can use and that He can send. At least that’s what I say.

This leads me to the point of this note. I said that it is much easier to sing/say it than it is to live it. I am not just talking about social justice here. Social justice is not a movement but a way of life. It is a mandate according to Proverbs 31:8-9. That’s good but that’s not giving yourself away. See we all seem to be willing to define giving ourselves away just a few steps away from our comfort zone but let me now say what it means for real. I give myself away means Mark 8:34-38. All of it and particularly verse 35 “for whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” I give myself away means Revelation 12:11 “and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”

I know that saying “I give myself away” is much easier than living it. It’s hard but it’s exactly what God is looking for from us and it’s exactly why I wrote it and it’s exactly why I will keep singing it as a daily reminder until it becomes a daily surrender that leads to a daily reality. Some have said well it’s easy all you have to do is this or that. I know the theology behind what I should do however that is quite different than what you would do.

I sat with a pastor friend of mine who told me the story of a man who he had a picture of on his desk. He told me the story of a modern day Acts persecution for the sake of the gospel. He told me how this guy in the picture taken last year was planting churches in Iran. He planted multiple house churches of 10 people. He was a Muslim who had a radical conversion to Christianity and as a result became a pastor and planted churches. Because of his zeal for Christ he was marked by the government, captured, jailed and tortured. One of his ways of being tortured was to allow his fingernails to grow and then with a vice grip device they would pull his fingernails off for the names of the people in the house churches he planted. One nail was pulled off for each name of a member of the church. He endured this multiple times because he refused to give up their names because he knew that even if they killed him he died for the sake of the gospel and that they could go on and win others and plant more churches with or without him. He is still alive today planting churches in another part of the world that most of us wouldn’t go because it’s not safe. To him persecution is normal because he lives the bible and doesn’t know of the land we live in where we have religious freedom from persecution. He is reading the book of Acts and simultaneously living it out. He is living Acts 29. (For those who don’t know there are only 28 chapters in the book of acts.)

It’s easy to say all you need to do is die to yourself, or take up your cross, or present your body a living sacrifice. We all seem to know what we should do but most of us if we were really honest don’t know what we would do. Would you endure what that man did for the sake of the gospel? I told you the lightest of his torture because the others are too graphic to share. Do we love His Word enough to die for it? We say yes of course however most of us won’t witness to our next-door neighbor let alone a stranger and here in America it’s not a crime punishable by jail or death like it is in much of the world. What do you love in His kingdom enough to die for? I can go on and on and on. Here’s the deal. This is not an indictment on us the church or anyone specific. I’m saying this. God is looking for people who are willing to give themselves away so that He can use them. I heard His heart and I said God let me be one of those people. That’s my heart I thought but when confronted with countless stories like the one I just shared I am challenged by the lyrics of my own songs because I wonder deep down inside would I do that for the sake of the gospel. I know what I should do but would I do it? Would you? I certainly say that I would and I sing it everywhere I go and so do countless churches around the country and in other nations. Be honest because that’s what God requires of you to be honest. I believe it was Martin Luther who said “Give me 10 people who hate nothing but sin and love nothing but God and we will change the world.” Once again we stand in a significant moment in history where we can change the world. Because I desire so much to be a part of what God is doing in the earth and want to be one of the ones He will use I keep singing:
Here I am
Here I stand
Lord my life is in Your hands
Lord I’m longing to see Your desires revealed in me
I give myself away
I give myself away so You can use me

Take my heart
Take my life as a living sacrifice
All my dreams
All my plans
Lord I place them in Your hands
I give myself away
I give myself away so You can use me

My life is not my own
To You I belong
I give myself
I give myself to You

It’s much easier to sing than to walk out but because I am determined to be one that God finds faithful to use I will keep praying it, I will keep saying it, and I will keep singing it until it becomes more than a melody but becomes a reality not just for me but for an entire generation. Sing it if you mean it and if you will really mean it, you will be one of the ones who God will use to change the world.

-William McDowell