by Matt Conner
There was a season in which Meredith Andrews would have been a bit more anxious than she is now.
On the verge of the release of her latest album Faith & Wonder (Word), Andrews is calm and collected, a state of mind and spirit she attributes not so much to experience as she does her spiritual identity. She’s learned some things over the years about where to find her calling, her value, her well-being, and it serves her well as she prepares for another album cycle.
“My identity isn’t in how people react or respond to what I create or release,” says Andrews. “I have to honor the call God has put on my life and the things He’s entrusted to me. Those things are my children and my marriage and the people who let me into their worlds. They sing the songs that I created and those are the lyrics on their lips. So that’s not lost on me. Life is too short to chase what other people think you should be doing. You get one shot, so I have to pay attention to what God is saying.”
Andrews admits these lessons haven’t been easy to learn, that such rootedness doesn’t happen overnight. However, she’s very thankful for the path God has laid out not only for her but for her music and ministry.
“In the past, I’ve tried to jump into this momentum thing or I’ve tried to fall into some kind of formula that would equal success,” she says. “Early on, God had to redefine my idea of success because things were panning out like I thought they were going to. I didn’t have the number of record sales or overnight rise to the top that the chatter had been around me saying. However, I’m so thankful for that. I’m so thankful I didn’t go zero-to-60 overnight, because I think I would have burned out a long time ago. It’s been a slow, steady learning how to be faithful in every season, in the little things, when it feels insignificant. That’s what has grounded me.”
As a now-veteran artist, songwriter and worship leader, Andrews is taking on more of a mentoring role than ever before. Fortunately she’s able to pass on these lessons learned through the industry to those following in her wake.
“I actually met with an up-and-coming artist yesterday with such an amazing heart. I told her every mistake I’d ever made and I said, ‘Don’t do that,’” she says with a laugh.
“I told her one of the mistakes I made in the beginning was that I thought I had to say yes to everything that came my way, that I had to hustle and build something and make it happen on my own. The problem is when you start building something on your own, then you have to sustain it on your own. I would much rather have God build something in me and through me that He sustains, that I don’t have to try to manipulate or manage.”
Despite her wisdom and grounded perspective, Andrews isn’t quite over all of her nerves. Faith & Wonder is her first ever live recording, a move she made after she “felt a stirring” in her heart.
“A studio record is safer and easier in a lot of ways,” says Andrews. “Playing live is what I do, however. It feels more significant to me, when I get to lead worship and look people in the eye and see how they’re responding. I can see on their face where they are at. As a worship leader, I don’t take what I do lightly. It’s not about another project or new batch of songs, which I am thankful for. It’s more about wanting to see people encountering God.”