This is honest as honesty gets. Former American Idol contestant and now Grammy Award winning artist, Mandisa was nominated in two Christian Contemporary categories for her song “Overcomer” for the 2014 Grammy Awards. Instead of strolling the red carpet and soaking up the limelight, she was at home just relaxing. She took to her website to tell the absolutely compelling truth about what kept her from coming to the massive celebration of music. Read her truth below.
At 4PM yesterday, I was not glammed up in a fancy gown, sitting in my seat at the Grammy Award Pre-Telecast, listening to the man reading the nominee list for Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) Performance, Best CCM Song, and Best CCM Album. I was rockin’ some purple sweats, sitting in front of my computer, watching the live stream online. If you saw the video I posted yesterday, you heard my utter shock and immediate flood of tears, not to mention my phone blowing up when Overcomer was read as CCM Song and Album of the Year! I could not believe it!
Since then, many have asked why I was not there to accept the award. Ok. Are you ready for my brutal honesty? I have several reasons:
1. Over the next 100 days, I’ll be home for about 20 of them. I’m taking every chance I get to enjoy my time here…and Rufus (my bed, yeah, I said it!)
2. I can’t tell you how little I enjoy people scrutinizing what I am wearing and how I look. I’ve been on the receiving end of such mean comments coming from the other side of the anonymity the world-wide web provides. I can usually handle it, but recent events have left me feeling insecure about such things these days (if you missed my Facebook post a couple of weeks ago, I explain more about that here.) I wish I could tell you it doesn’t hurt my feelings. Honestly, it does. I’m still learning to believe the truth about me, remember?
3. All of my previous albums (True Beauty, Freedom, and What If We Were Real) were nominated for the Grammy Album of the Year award. It really IS an honor just being nominated. And I really WAS honored to be nominated with Israel Houghton (2007 & 2009), and Chris Tomlin (2011), the winners of each of those years. Following that trend, I naturally assumed Chris Tomlin would win this year, too! I figured I would cheer Chris on from the comfort of my home!
Finally, the fourth reason I chose not to attend this year: Yes, both times I have gone to the Grammys I have witnessed performances I wish I could erase from my memory, and yes, I fast forwarded through several performances this year; but my reason is not because of them, it’s because of me. I have been struggling with being in the world, not of it lately. I have fallen prey to the alluring pull of flesh, pride, and selfish desires quite a bit recently.
“Don’t fall in love with this corrupt world or worship the things it can offer. Those who love its corrupt ways don’t have the Father’s love living within them. All the things the world can offer to you—the allure of pleasure, the passion to have things, and the pompous sense of superiority—do not come from the Father…” 1 John 2:15-16a (The Voice)
(CLICK NEXT FOR MORE OF THE OPEN LETTER)
I knew that submerging myself into an environment that celebrates those things was risky for me at this time. I am taking steps to renew my mind to become the Heavenly Father-centered, completely satisfied with Jesus, and Holy Spirit-led woman I felt I was a few months ago, but I’m feeling a bit like an infant learning to walk again on shaky legs. Perhaps being alone with Him as my name was announced was protecting myself from where my flesh would have tried to drag me had I been up on that stage. It gave me time to focus. With what I do for a living, and the doors that have opened for me to sing about Jesus on mainstream platforms, I take the phrase from John 15:19, “be in the world, not of it” seriously. God never taught us to stay in our safe Christian bubbles, completely separating from those who do not share our faith (see 1 Corinthians
5). After all, how else will people come to know Him, if not by His children? We must live, look, and speak differently so that we shine (see Matthew 5, Philippians 2, and 1 Peter 3)! I can’t force my morality on anyone else. What I can do is live my life in such a way that reflects well on my Savior, stand firm in my values, and do all of these things in love. If God can use this Grammy win to advance His Kingdom, I’m all in!
So yeah, should I ever be nominated again, and I’m feeling up to it, I’ll go. I recognize that I may feel a bit like an alien in a strange land, but Jesus, friend of sinners, felt that way and still managed to shine…by His Holy Spirit, so can I! Plus, I can’t lie…it”d be pretty cool to see Ryan Seacrest on the Red Carpet now!
As for the Grammy Award, I know I keep saying it, but “whose life is this?!?!” “Overcomer” is an album that speaks life, hope, and encouragement to so many, yes, including me. While this affirmation feels unbelievable, I lay this trophy at the feet of my Jesus in humility, honor and gratitude for all He has done in, to, and through me.
“You, dear children,are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you
is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 (NIV)