Read the interview with Philippa Hanna in which we spoke about being who God made you
to be, living in God’s will and plans for 2019.
It was great to catch up with Philippa Hanna just before her concert at All Nations Christian Centre in Reading. It’s an interview I’d been long wanting to do. After listening to her songs for so long, I finally had a chance to ask her all the questions I wanted and I hope you’ll enjoy reading.
Last year, 2018, was a busy one for you – apart from the ‘usual’ things you do, like concerts and writing, every day you uploaded a new video to YouTube, as part of your 365 challenge – Philippa Hanna Inspiration 365, published a devotional book and just before Christmas you crowdfunded enough money to buy a new car. How did it all feel?
Last year was very busy and it went really fast. 365 challenge, despite giving me no day off in a whole year, was a good exercise of commitment. It was also very demanding, like training for a marathon.
It was also a strange year – very emotional with various things happening in the family. It was also a year of a lot of things coming to a head, so all in all -quite difficult. At the beginning of this year, 2019, I feel I’m looking at things afresh, as a new life, new page.
What do you think God has prepared for you this year?
I’ll probably write more books. I’ve just finished one and I’m starting to write another. I think it has become a daily thing for me. I want to launch further into the social media – Instagram, YouTube and hopefully have a family.
I always pray that I stay at the centre of God’s
What, do you think, is God’s will for you?
I think God wants me to use whatever I have – gifts, time, to build His kingdom, to let people know about His love, show them they’re loved and have a purpose in life. I feel like I get a real kick seeing people freed from not feeling good enough, or feeling useless and worthless.
I feel that people become distracted from their purpose, especially when they don’t feel good enough, and that is such a waste. I would like to have an input in helping them re-discover the purpose.
What does help you personally to stay on track and focused on Jesus?
I try not to look how I could fall or fail or not to look how I failed in the past but keep my eyes on Jesus and on the goal of what I can achieve for him.
How do you do this?
I know my daily need for Jesus. And also, I think that my strength is my weakness. I’m naturally a big worrier. I always imagine the worst, so I have trained myself to focus on the positive and to find the positive outlook in a situation. In the scripture it says not to worry about anything but pray about everything. Because I worry so much, I pray a lot too.
Things I sing and share about, on different channels, come from my own battle. I had to overcome them first, to come through.
Is this battle you’re talking about a search for identity and meaning?
I think so. I feel like every year of my life I’m on a journey to find my authentic self. I think one of my dreams is to totally accept that person that I am and rejoice in that person. It is a gift.
The world gives us masks and disguises and they tempt us to be unreal. But God gives to us
Out of 100%, where would you say you’re on that journey?
I’m probably about 70%. I still have a way to go but I feel more comfortable in life. I feel more comfortable meeting people, being on stage and presenting things.
If, and when, we have a family, I think it’ll help me to take the focus off of myself and see the bigger picture. I’m still really very self-centred but I feel and hope that when we have children, I’ll see things differently.
It’s also about overcoming the world and its approach towards beauty and look. Despite the pressures that are out there, I try to remember that I can be who I really am.
It’s hard. Our self-esteem is undermined 24/7 by different media, adverts etc. How do you stay away from that and build your identity on Jesus?
We need to be aware of how subliminal a lot of these messages are. Knowing that, we need to be more aware what we consume and judge it a bit more harshly. We may not even feel the connection between our Instagram feeds and our feelings but when we remove the Instagram feed, we may start feeling better.
I’ve just set up an Instagram account for my devotional book and, through that account, I only follow other devotional accounts – it’s amazing how good I feel when all I see is scripture or things based on the Bible. I don’t suggest that all you look at is scripture but it’s just interesting to see what difference it makes to remove all the fashion and beauty streams and how it improves our self-esteem.
You talk a lot about these issues during your concerts and in our songs. Why is it important for you to get this message out there, especially to young women?
It’s a natural instinct and a gift, I feel like I’m an evangelist. Even since I was a kid, if there was something I liked, I would tell people about it – whether it was a singer or a shampoo. I like to sell what I like. If you know something that is true, you want to see other people set free.
All of your songs, even reflective ones, like Getting on with life, contain a very strong and positive message, but it is a little bit different in each of the songs. Each of them could be a separate ‘story’. If you were to choose the most important song based on the message, which one would it be?
I think it would be I’m Amazing. It’s not because the greatest message is that we’re amazing but because we’re part of a bigger plan. It’s so important to realise that our self-esteem is not only about us. Healthy self-esteem affects everyone around us. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love other people. If you can’t love yourself, you won’t be able to reach the potential that God has given you. That’s the message in my devotional ‘Amazing You’.
Is this what a good life means to you?
Good life to me is living in gratitude and being fully in the moment and in the work of God in that moment, because nothing is guaranteed in life. I’ve seen family members live their whole life building a family or building their home and then seeing their marriage break down or having their home repossessed. We enjoy building our kingdoms and there’s joy in building those daily things, so I’m not saying we shouldn’t do them, but not to waste all our energy improving our life, because we don’t get to take it with us. One of my new year’s resolutions is to live in the moment, care less about how my house looks but look at now.
You went to the US to develop your music career there but what you were aiming for didn’t quite work out. Nevertheless, you’re not afraid to talk about your failing. That’s not very usual for people. How did you feel about the whole thing personally?
The US side of things is an ongoing thing and we’re still working on it. It’s all about the timing. Closed door can be as much a blessing as an open one.
I think sharing your problems helps. People don’t always want to hear a conclusion. They want to hear they’re not alone. Sometimes, it’s almost better to say I know how you
What did you learn from the US experience personally?
To focus less on what’s going to happen and what’s going to be an outcome and focus more on what I’m supposed to do. That way, whether it turns out as you planned it or not, you can still bear fruit from the moment.