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  • Writer's pictureSummer Lace

"The Architect" by Kacey Musgraves Lyrics: A Theological Perspective

I've been listening to Kacey Musgrave's new album "Deeper Well" for the past few weeks and am absolutely obsessed. To use the slang of the youngins', it is so faith-coded. ;) The title track, the first single I heard from the album, hit me way deeper (pun intended) than I had expected. A few of the lyrics like these I've found I've loved to sing on repeat:

So I'm sayin' goodbye to the people that I feel Are real good at wastin' my time // No regrets, baby, I just think that maybe It's natural when things lose their shine So other things can glow I've gotten older now, I know How to take care of myself I found a deeper well

I could probably break this song apart and discuss it in-depth, especially the thought of a "deeper well", but the themes remain in these two songs. This album of Kacey's is super introspective, really reflecting on the complexities of the life she's lived so far, and looking forward toward a life of simplicity, truth, and pursuing what's important/what's life-giving/what's beyond.

I am by no means a theological expert, a skilled apologist, or perfect commentator.

What I am, though, is someone who has experienced the harshness, brokenness, and pain of this world, all while maintaining my faith and relationship with our Creator. To even just be a human is to be able to speak about these questions.

That brings me to her song "The Architect".

This may sound like a silly, surface-level "yearning for something more" song, but I think Kacey makes excellent points throughout the entire song. Not just points that people figuring out what they believe contemplate, but what people within a faith contemplate as well, even thoughts that are discussed and questioned in the Bible itself.

This song feels like someone teetering on the edge of finding a truly redeeming faith. I think in the Christian walk, we see this happening on the daily: struggling and rediscovering the redemption of faith in Christ. It's a daily battle for me — to feel like I've been blown through. hurricane of hurt from the world, confusion at the wildness around me, and the beauty of seeing God in it all. I will break down the lyrics of the song, and talk about each part, starting with the beginning:

Even something as small as an apple It's simple and somehow complex Sweet and divine, the perfect design Can I speak to the architect?

I love that Kacey brings up an apple in the first verse of the song. The apple, commonly used as the stand-in fruit in the story of Adam and Eve, the story of the creation and fall of man. the Bible never specifies what type of fruit was eaten by Eve, then Adam, in the garden of Eden. However, the apple has served a purpose of being symbolic of temptation, the folly of men and women, and a longing for biblical "Shalom" (universal flourishing, wholeness and delight in the Lord).

This is the first time the singer poses her question to "speak to the Architect". As a human on this earth, observing how divinely constructed even the mundane is, such as an apple, an organism under a microscope, or the arrangement of seeds in a sunflower, we can feel absolutely blown away by how complex this small thing is — how much detail is in every single aspect of the world we live in.

And there's a canyon that cuts through the desert Did it get there because of a flood? Was it devised, or were you surprised When you saw how grand it was?

Geologists can't agree when the Grand Canyon was formed, or exactly how it was formed either. There has been plenty of debate regarding the correlation between the story of the Great Flood in Genesis 7 in the Bible and the massive canyon in Arizona that takes the breath away from even the most unimpressed traveler. If geologists can't determine where this great chasm came from, I sit comfortably knowing what I, or we, may never know the true origins. With science, new discoveries are made every day, and even the most studied scientist can claim truth one day, and something radically changes the next to completely debunk that "true" thought.

Which is why I love that Kelcey questioned this in this way in The Architect. I'd want us all to feel these questions when contemplating a Creator. This is the first part of the song where there are answers to Kelcey's questions. The fact of the matter is: God is never surprised. "To be surprised you have to be uncertain about what is coming", and that does not align with the character of God. The Omniscience of God is outlined in the Bible is difference verses, each Old and New Testament. A few verses that discuss God's omniscience:

1 John 3:20 "for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, andhe knows everything."

Psalm 139:4 "Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether."

Acts 2:23 "this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men."

I think we are allowed to ponder if the Creator was surprised when He saw the beauty and majesty of this epic natural feature. If these questions weren't going to be pondered by humans, there would be no need to note these things in the the Biblical text, but this is something that as people on this earth, we have limitations in understanding the world around us, the Creator in which this was made by, and our relationship with Him and his universal reign. I'm grateful to sing this lyric as a sort of lament of understanding, and knowing that there is an answer.

Was it thought out at all, or just paint on a wall? Is there anything that you regret? I don't understand, are there blueprints or plans? Can I speak to the architect?

This is the repeated chorus of the song, and when I sing it passively, I found myself natutally altering the lyrics without realizing it: instead of singing "I don't understand, are there blueprints or plans?" I sing "I don't understand all your blueprints and plans". This is a part of the song where I feel so secure in this question that I already answer it in my questioning. Much like the Psalms, it feels like a "Lord, this life... is difficult. Kind of sucks, to be honest. I'm really suffering sometimes. And through that suffering, you're there, Lord. And you will always be. Whatever plan you have, I trust it. Because I know you have one." (really, really rough paraphrase of a typical Psalm). It's a true and honest way to come to the Lord and say that you don't understand what in the world He is doing. It makes no sense to you. Sometimes in hindsight, we get to see so clearly the sense of it all, sometimes we don't. But the security there is that the Lord DOES have blueprints, plans, and foresight into what each of our lives are to enjoy, endure, and be refined from.

Regarding the question regarding if the Architect "regrets" anything done. This question has come up in my Bible studies before! So when I heard this part, I thought to myself, oooooo this is a spicy one.

When contemplating regret, we need to look at what regret means. The definition and synonyms of the word cover a vast list of words that mean quite different things. For humans, regret echoes the fact that we are not perfect. Like.... really imperfect. We make massive mistakes in our lives that hurt ourselves, others, and adds to the suffering of the world. Our regret that we feel is sometimes synonymous with repentance, apology, bitterness, and self-disgust.

However, the regret from God in the Bible looks different than what we feel and see on earth as regret. In Genesis 6:6, it states "And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart." In 1 Samuel 15:11, it states “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” And Samuel was angry, and he cried to the Lord all night." So how do we reconcile these passages and what we know about earthly regret?

This kind of regret feels different than the regret we feel on a daily basis. It fits the other synonyms for regret: heartbreak, grief, disappointment, and sorrow. Because God knows the future, he can't be surprised, and that also means he did not make a mistake. These 'regrets' weren't because of lack of foresight in how things would turn out. God's regret "is not based on learning new information and wishing He had done things differently. It is based on wishing we would do things differently and not sin—even though He knows when people will sin and chooses to allow our sinful actions as He works out His sovereign plans.", says Zach Breitenbach.

Sometimes I look in the mirror And wish I could make a request Could I pray it away? Am I shapeable clay Or is this as good as it gets?

Uhm... yeah, I don't even want to talk about this one because this is the song verse that hits the deepest for me, personally. And that's a really good reason to discuss this.

Trying to accept the body, face, even personality, that God has given you is not an easy task. The most conventionally beautiful people on earth still have insecurities. We are our own worst critics, most often finding flaws in ourselves that almost no one even considers or sees. We spend time in the mirror, reflecting on the bodies we've been given. We're given unsolicited opinions from others about our looks. We listen to those opinions and let their harsh words sit in our heart. It's a constant onslaught of input that does not let up.

I am not in any place to chastise or shame anyone for feeling unworthy or somehow so deeply flawed and questioning why God made them like he did. I have made decisions in my life to drastically alter my appearance after feeling so insecure about myself. I have zero stones to throw, and to try to preach to you about finding security in how you were made would be hypocritical.

I've had the displeasure to read advice, blogs, and posts from people born into wealth about how easy it is to get through medical school debt-free, given dating advice from people married at 18 years old that have never seen the horrors of the 30-somethings dating scene, being told to be content in my singleness by someone who has only ever sought and received validation from men, and all-too-simple "shake it off" mental health advice from someone who has never felt depression in their life and has no idea the deep effects it has. It's laughable. It's honestly embarrassing on their part for being so tone deaf and not see how silly they look. I'm going to try not to do that. I hope God grants me the humility to be self-aware enough to not be a hypocrite, but able to convey life-giving truth.

Sometimes there is validity to what this misplaced advice is saying, or nuggets of wisdom that you can glean from it, but it'd be better off not coming from their mouths. So let it not come from me. I have no words of wisdom that would do this justice. Let's hear it from the Word:

Jeremiah 18:4-6 - "He was making a pot from clay. But there was something wrong with the pot. So the potter used that clay to make another pot. With his hands he shaped the pot the way he wanted it to be. Then this message from the Lord came to me: “Family of Israel, you know that I can do the same thing with you. You are like the clay in the potter’s hands, and I am the potter.” This message is from the Lord."

Isaiah 29:16 - "You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, 'He did not make me'; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, 'He has no understanding'?"

Isaiah 64:8 - "But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand."

What we can take away: Regarding our bodies, we're already made: This is as good as it gets here on earth. However, as God refines our hearts, he changes the way we see our outer selves. We are created to be useful. God's hand shapes us into Christ's image (from the inside out). God reshapes our broken dreams. His external clay work is done. His internal clay work is ongoing and reshapes our view of our external clay. Our external clay AND others. If you find yourself being harsh toward other people's bodies, please allow the Lord to do some internal clay reshaping.

Something else that we can take from this: reread what I said about how it's as good as it gets... on earth. Philippians 3:21 - "who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." So I guess I can say to Kacey, this may be as good as it gets. But it doesn't have to be. The Lord offers salvation to those who believe in the Gospel, and new perfect bodies unaffected by sin to boot!

One day, you're on top of the mountain So high that you'll never come down Then the wind at your back carries ember and ash Then it burns your whole house to the ground

I love that Kacey mentions this, especially in a song that is crying out for meaning, longing, and wondering about our Creator.

The moments where your life is burning down to the ground so often lead us to understanding the meaning of life better. It's an uncomfortable truth that suffering allows us to see clearer in a lot of ways, and leads us back to our Creator. Why? When our life is going great, we are on cloud 9 and it feels like we've just got things figured out, right? Somehow we've cracked the code and life is just serving us our good "karma". What happens, then, when everything crashes? We're left in the rubble of our own self-importance, and realize that we are not, after all, in control. Life is so unpredictable to us, we cannot plan on the wild winds that whip through at any given moment. And we're left to ponder who does control this?

Pssst — the answer is God.

Listen, we can rejoice when life feels easy and breezy. We're allowed to be overjoyed by the wonderful happenings of life!! Blessings, gifts, wealth, health, new beginnings, they're all amazing and worth celebrating. But we must also recognize that 1. Though we are responsible for our own decisions, some of life's goodness is just simply not by our own doing. Whether it's God's gracious intervening hand, someone else's generosity, or other outside factors, we have to acknowledge we're not just some guru that now knows how to have a good life. We can be thankful. True gratitude is an expression of hope and testimony. To give thanks means to know that there is someone that has contributed to something that blessed you, and acknowledging that goodness from them.

James 1:17 - "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."

And 2. We must realize that it will not always be like this. And we have very little power to make it stay that way. (This does not negate the work of being healthy in our relationships, taking care of our body's wellness, and doing good, diligent work at your job. Personal responsibility still has a large effect.) But any moment, things could be taken from us. Loved ones die. Relationships break. Friends betray you. Your health fails. You get laid off at work. You're in a horrible car accident. Your house literally burns down. You stub your pinkie toe on the corner of your dresser...

When life falls apart and you're dumbfounded at how you go there, turn to the One who is not surprised.

(Also let it be known that this brings up a larger topic on our will and decisions, God's sovereignty, and God's decisions to listen to our prayers — but that is WAY too much to dive into here. If you want more info this is a good article.)

I thought that I was too broken And maybe too hard to love

You are never too broken to run back into the arms of our loving Heavenly Father. When you see the stories and lives of those mentioned in the New Testament, you can see that God's loving hand reaches down to the most wretched poeple, offering salvation and reconciliation. His sacrifice bridges that gap between our own wayward lives and hope in the future with God forevermore.

Here are some reminders of hope despite your current brokenness:

Ezekiel 11:19 - "And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh."

Psalms 51:17 - "My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise."

Psalm 34:18 - "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Most importantly, let us reflect on Romans 5:8 - "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." You're not too difficult to love, God's saving love for us spans from when we are still sinners to having a close relationship with him.

I was in a weird place, then I saw the right face And the stars and the planets lined up

I don't know what face Kacey is speaking about here, and she also is still more mystical with her approach to life, which I see in this verse here. However, that feeling of divine intervention at the right place, the right time, all orchestrated like the perfect symphony of personal faith revelation? Those moments are pure joy.

Does it happen by chance? Is it all happenstance? Do we have any say in this mess Is too late to make some more space Can I speak to the architect?

While we are here on this earth, it is never too late to make space for someone to come to the Lord. The story of the thief on the cross being crucified is a great example of this:

Luke 23:42-43 - "And he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. And he said to him, 'Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.'"

A quote from something I read before (and cannot find the origins) said: "How does the thief on the cross fit into your theology? No baptism, no communion, no confirmation, no speaking in tongues, no mission trip, no volunteerism, no financial gifts, and no church clothes. He couldn't even bend his knees to pray. He didn't say the sinner's prayer and among other things, he was a thief. Jesus didn't take way his pain, heal his body, or smite his scoffers. Yet, it was a thief who walked into paradise the same hour as Jesus simply by believing. He had nothing more to offer other than his belief that Jesus was who He said He was [...]Just a naked dying man on a cross unable to even fold his hands to pray."

The thief did what most call a "deathbed repentance". He was at the very end of his life, presumably having made a mess of it, committing and being charged for a crime punishable by public execution. He didn't have time to "make right" of his earthly life, no time to refine himself, but Jesus still welcomes him into the Kingdom of God with open arms. There is space for him. There is space for all of us to repentance.

This life that we make, is it random or fate? Can I speak to the architect? Is there an architect?

Yes, there is an Architect, Kacey. I'd love for you to know Him.



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