Music Discussions

Whatever It Takes

whatever-it-takes

Dynamic ImageMain Point: What are the things you are willing to push your limits to achieve? We push our limits sometimes to get in shape or to achieve a certain skill or have success in a sport. What is the thing that you were put here on this earth to achieve? What has God given you a passion for that you would do whatever it takes to achieve?

Vital Info Before You Get Started: The following info should help you contextualize this very popular song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: We at The Source for Youth Ministry believe that certain elements in our youth culture can serve as good discussion jump starters with students. At the same time, we would never hope to introduce teens to a negative influence that they haven’t already encountered. This balance is a delicate one. In our experience most teens, churched and unchurched, keep pretty current with music and music videos like this one. Thanks to YouTube, MTV.com, Spotify, and iTunes, the most popular music videos and songs are free to access only a click away. If you decide to use this, do so by catering it to fit your family’s needs.
  • Imagine Dragons started climbing the charts in 2013 and have shown no signs of slowing down. Hailing from Las Vegas, they released their third studio album entitled Evolve in June of 2017.
  • “Whatever it Takes” is the third Imagine Dragons song to top both the Alternative Songs and Adult Pop Songs charts, joining “Believer” and “Thunder.” The song also topped out at 12 on the Billboard hot 100, and its video has over 384 million views.
  • Lead singer Dan Reynolds was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He was considered devout and even did his Mormon mission work in Nebraska as a nineteen year old. His Mormon faith influences his songwriting, as is seen in the clear spiritual overtones. He recently has publicly expressed his struggles with the Mormon Church’s strict policies, and has created a documentary called “Believer” which focuses on how Mormon LGBTQ youth are impacted by the churches view on homosexuality.
  • Don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.

Introducing the Song: “Whatever it Takes” features Dan Reynolds fast-spitting lyrics and motivating tone. The video features a throwback band in the basement before flooding and fire contribute to the surreal tone change. This popular song has also been used both by the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and the video game Madden NFL 18.

The Music Video: The music video can be viewed for free at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOsM-DYAEhY

Song Lyrics:

Falling too fast to prepare for this
Tripping in the world could be dangerous
Everybody circling, it’s vulturous
Negative, nepotist
Everybody waiting for the fall of man
Everybody praying for the end of times
Everybody hoping they could be the one
I was born to run, I was born for this

Whip, whip
Run me like a racehorse
Pull me like a ripcord
Break me down and build me up
I wanna be the slip, slip
Word upon your lip, lip
Letter that you rip, rip
Break me down and build me up

Whatever it takes
‘Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins
I do whatever it takes
‘Cause I love how it feels when I break the chains
Whatever it takes
You take me to the top I’m ready for
Whatever it takes
‘Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins
I do what it takes

Always had a fear of being typical
Looking at my body feeling miserable
Always hanging on to the visual
I wanna be invisible

Looking at my years like a martyrdom
Everybody needs to be a part of ’em
Never be enough, I’m the prodigal son
I was born to run, I was born for this

Whip, whip
Run me like a racehorse
Pull me like a ripcord
Break me down and build me up
I wanna be the slip, slip
Word upon your lip, lip
Letter that you rip, rip
Break me down and build me up

Whatever it takes
‘Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins
I do whatever it takes
‘Cause I love how it feels when I break the chains
Whatever it takes
You take me to the top, I’m ready for
Whatever it takes
‘Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins
I do what it takes

Hypocritical, egotistical
Don’t wanna be the parenthetical, hypothetical
Working onto something that I’m proud of, out of the box
An epoxy to the world and the vision we’ve lost
I’m an apostrophe
I’m just a symbol to remind you that there’s more to see
I’m just a product of the system, a catastrophe
And yet a masterpiece, and yet I’m half-diseased
And when I am deceased
At least I go down to the grave and die happily
Leave the body and my soul to be a part of thee
I do what it takes

Whatever it takes
‘Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins
I do whatever it takes
‘Cause I love how it feels when I break the chains
Whatever it takes
You take me to the top, I’m ready for
Whatever it takes
‘Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins
I do what it takes

Three Questions to Ask in the Car (with thoughts to dive deeper with your kids):

Q: If you could do anything to further God’s mission in this world, and you had unlimited resources, what would you do?

A: The goal here is to provoke your kids to dream, and learn more about their heart. Push them afterwards to talk about what they could do with the resources they currently have, thinking along the same lines of what they are passionate about.

Q: Why do you think sometimes it’s hard to know what God has wired us for?

A: This is an opportunity to gain insight into how they view God and how He works in their lives.

Q: In the song, Dan Reynolds sings that he always had a fear of being typical. What do you think that means?

A: He’s afraid of being just like everyone else, just a face in the crowd. Follow it up with “do you ever feel that way?” Everyone wants to be extraordinary, but unpack what this looks like in his or her life.

Where to Take It from Here: Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There is a guide just after that paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged – the next time it feels right, try out another song. Keep engaging them

For Deeper Discussion:
(If your kids seem into diving in deeper and looking at what the Bible has to say on the subject, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)

Want help getting your teenager engaged in conversation? CLICK HERE for a helpful article from our “Parenting Help” page providing you with 3 Essentials to Talking with Today’s Teens.

Transitional Statement – Say something like this
Lead singer Dan Reynolds has said this song is about overcoming his own self-confidence issues he has dealt with since he was a child. He says, “since I was young…I was taught that you could do whatever you could dream of, you just had to work harder than everybody else and you had to never give up. It’s a cliché, but there’s a reason it’s a cliché.” The question for you today is, “what has God given you a passion for that you would do whatever it takes to achieve?”

Discussion Questions:

  1. ASK ALL FAMILY MEMBERS: When you listen to this song, what are some feelings you experience?
  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What is the hardest you have worked for something? Tell us what you did, and how it worked out.
  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What is something you love doing that most people don’t know about?
  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What is something you have done in your life that will matter a hundred years from now? In other words, what is something you have done that will outlast you?
  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: When Imagine Dragons sings, “I love how it feels when I break the chains,” what do you think that means?

Read the following passage:

      • Colossians 3:23


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What does it look like to work at something with all your heart?
  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think the difference is between working at something for the Lord and working at something for others?
  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: When the Bible says “whatever you do”, do you think this is literal, or are their exceptions to what you are called to do for the Lord?
  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: If you lived out this verse, how would that impact how you pursue the thing or things God has wired you for?
  5. ASK ALL FAMILY MEMBERS: How would your life look different if you adopted a “whatever it takes” attitude when it comes to the things God has wired you for?

Wrap Up:
During this time, we watched the Imagine Dragons video for “Whatever it Takes.” Ephesians 2:10 says, we “are God’s handiwork, created in Jesus to do good works.” As you consider this verse and the things we have already discussed, what do you think God is calling you to do in response?

(Pause and give them a moment to consider this question.)

You can be confident that life is going to get in the way of our efforts to do whatever it takes. We are going to fail, fight discouragement, and question if it’s even worth it. What are some things that you know you will have to fight against as you strive to do whatever it takes for Jesus?

(Pause and give them a moment to consider this question.)

During this song, Reynolds sings “I was born for this…Working onto something that I’m proud of.” Jesus says He has come that you might have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10). As you take steps forward in response to this discussion, remember that God is for you. He created you to do great things, to have abundant life. You have everything you need to do the things God has called you to. It’s up to you to step out in faith, trusting Him one step at a time. Close out this time by praying for each other as you strive to do whatever it takes for Jesus.

CLOSE IN PRAYER

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Rob Chagdes

Rob Chagdes

ROB CHAGDES had his life interrupted by God as a sixteen year old. In the years since he met Jesus Rob has devoted his life to working with students —for two decades now— with the goal of helping teenagers and their parents walk with Jesus in a personal way. His passion is to raise up the next generation of students and youth workers who love God and love others. Rob and his wife Leslie live in northern Iowa with their three amazing daughters.

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