Mike Donehey is the lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for the band Tenth Avenue North. He has a new book out called Finding God’s Life for my Willand a new album, No Shame. We sat down to talk with him about the book, growing up in the pro-life movement, and a different way of looking at God’s will for our lives.
You’ve been busy! A new album and a new book. Tell us about your book and what inspired you to write it.
The book is called Finding God’s Life for My Will. I love flipping things around — phrases you’ve heard so often they lose their meaning.
People come up to me all the time and ask, ‘When did you know being in this band was God’s will for your life?’ I always say, ‘I don’t and it isn’t.’
What they’re after is for God to put a stamp of approval of what they want to do, but that’s not how God works. We think God needs us to be this big deal, to be famous, or successful, or productive. God’s not necessarily against those things, but He wants intimacy with us way before He wants those things.
What do you hope people learn from your book?
So many of us get paralyzed about choices. We think, ‘If I don’t hear from God I can’t go.” But this side of the cross the Spirit of God is with us wherever we go. I hope people will start asking, “How should I live my life and why should I live my life?” When we start doing that, all of a sudden what you’re going to do gets real clear, real fast.
The record is really about toxic shame. It’s trying to help people understand the difference between healthy shame and toxic shame. Healthy shame leads us to repentance. Toxic shame is the voice that cries out over your life that you’re too needy, too much, unredeemable. We happen to believe no one is unredeemable.
How did you get involved in the pro-life movement?
My dad was the director of communications for the pro-life organization, National Right to Life.
I grew up marching on the mall. I saw all the “abortion is murder” signs. As a teenager I was really disappointed in a lot of the pro-life movement. I dream of a day when people aren’t holding “abortion is murder” signs, but rather they’re holding “I will adopt your baby” signs.
What made you interested in getting involved with Save the Storks?
I love what Storks is doing. You’re saying, “We’re not going to guilt you or shame you. Being pro-life isn’t just being pro-birth.” I love that, rather than pounding guilt into people, you’re serving women, giving them what they need and letting them make a decision.
Why is Storks’ pro-life approach so important to the conversation around abortion right now?
We need to stop viewing ourselves as leaders and viewing ourselves as servants. Let’s serve women, let’s be a resource. You can’t tell people what you believe if you’re not going to follow it up with real action. Save the Storks is helping women see their babies and offering resources.
What would you want the younger generation to know about being pro-life?
I’d like to see more compassion from young people, especially if you’re highly motivated to see abortion end. Figure out ways you can be a servant to people.
I hope for a day of increased empathy and compassion from Christians. Where we can take a step back and mourn the fact that there are babies being born into a world that aren’t wanted by their parents. That’s heartbreaking and it’s a loss for everyone.
Romans 2:4 says: “It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.” If we want to see people’s hearts change it’s going to come through the kindness of God.
Watch more of his interview.
Learn more about how you can get involved in the pro-life movement.