Finding Meaning in the Small Moments: Taylor Tippett & Curtis Grimes
Taylor Tippett: Being a flight attendant is really stretching. But for the most part, I really tried to just be kind to people in small ways where they don’t even know that it’s anything different than how they’re supposed to be treated, so just really trying to kind of sneak up on them and not even realize that they’re being loved in a different kind of way or really getting kindness almost sprinkled on them.
Finding Meaning in the Small Moments: Taylor Tippett & Curtis Grimes – Episode #286
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. It seems that much of our lives are driving toward something big. Whether it’s career, personal goals, seeking success or building a life for our loved ones, we’re often aiming high to be or do something big. However, we’ll miss some important moments if we don’t look at the small ways God is showing up in our lives: a simple word from a friend that brightens our day, an act of service from someone that makes our day go smoother, or even a thought from a complete stranger that reminds us we are seen and heard. When we actively look for these moments, we realize that God is all around us, at all times—in the small details of our days as well as the big moments—and recognizing His presence in all of our moments will draw us closer to Him.
Flight Attendant Taylor Tippett started a project of leaving encouraging notes on the planes she worked on for passengers to find as a small act of kindness that has netted big results. Texas country music artist Curtis Grimes sees the value of reaching people for God not only in the big stadiums and auditoriums, but in the small honky tonks, fairs, festivals, and rodeos he plays regularly.
We’ll start with Taylor’s story.
Taylor: Hi, everybody, I am Taylor Tippett, I am a flight attendant based out of L.A.
Growing up, I was all over the place. I feel like it took me a long time because of childhood trauma to figure out who I was and what I wanted. So I kind of always wanted to be everything and do everything. And so being a flight attendant was always something I feel like that was in the back of my mind. I feel like it’s on that list of, like, being a teacher or being an astronaut. You know? Like, being a flight attendant is just one of those sparkly things.
My Mimi was a flight attendant for Pan Am. I think I kind of held a story close and dear to my heart. She was always talking about her glory days being a flight attendant. And just at a time in my life, probably about twenty, I was really struggling, trying to figure out who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do with my life. The thought of becoming a flight attendant just was like, Wow, I think I could do this and I want to do this. And so it kind of went from there.
Words From the Window Seat
I was going through a pretty hard time. I was not the person that I wanted to be and I wasn’t choosing good, healthy relationships. I wasn’t ready for them. They weren’t ready for them. And I was in a pretty not great relationship and I was not taking care of myself and the person was not taking care of me either. I was kind of sad all the time, and it was right at the beginning of becoming a flight attendant.
I had just moved to a new city and started a new career. That was kind of where something really ignited inside of me through journaling: If I’m not going to be kind to myself and love myself, how am I going to do that with other people?
I wrote that down in my journal, and I was sitting in the back of an airplane on a really early morning flight and my bag was open. I remember seeing when I graduated flight attendant training, our trainers had given us a goody bag of stuff, and so I put this tiny 99-cent notebook in the front of my bag. I saw it sitting there and I was like, You know what? Maybe somebody else needs to hear, “Be kind to yourself.”
So I took what I had written in my journal and wrote it on a piece of paper with a black Sharpie and went to the back of the airplane. On our little carts that we have with all of the soda and things like that, there is tape that has the catering papers on front. So I grabbed a piece of tape and just taped it to the window seat and took a picture. Then I left it in the seatback, because I’m somebody who if I see tiny things or billboards or stickers or whatever it is during my day, I think, Wow, I needed that.
I’m a very big believer in things happening for a reason. And so I was like, What if somebody finds this and really needs this? Then I was like, You know, what if I posted this on the Internet? And what if somebody else needs to hear this too? And so I posted it and a lot of people loved it and shared it. And I was like, Wow, maybe this can be something. So it kind of all started from there, just out of a really bad spot in my life, trying to love myself better and kind of give myself a pep talk on an early morning flight. And all the rest, you know, just happened.
“I’m a very big believer in things happening for a reason. And so I was like, What if somebody finds this and really needs this? And so I wrote “Be kind to yourself” and took a picture and left it on the seat back.” – Taylor Tippett
I usually leave them in flight or as I’m leaving, and I kind of like it that way because I love that unless you know me on the Internet, you have no idea who it’s from. And even though it’s mine, I didn’t want strangers to know that it was mine. And I kind of just wanted to leave them with that mystery and that kind of sparkle almost of, Who? What is this? It’s just a note left and made for them.
Finding God in the Small Moments
Through this project of keeping an eye out for the small moments and for the kindness, that’s my whole goal with this; it’s just that people would feel understood and loved where they are. And hopefully, you know, that the right person finds it and needs it.
I think that through this, my whole understanding and love for people has changed a lot because I’m just always on the lookout for the small moments and for the small kindnesses that I can offer people. I think that’s so much of the heart of this project, and I think that’s really reiterated in my relationship with my passengers like I’m not one hundred percent, I’m not perfect. I have my bad days.
“Through this project of really keeping an eye out for the small moments and for the kindness, that’s my whole goal with this; it’s just that people would feel understood and loved where they’re at.” – Taylor Tippett
I think some lessons that I’ve learned have been, I know it’s almost cliche, but you truly never know what someone is going through, so always just be on the lookout to be kind and to be graceful. I think just having patience and grace with people that look different from us or act different from us or seem different from us is so important. And patience really, really goes a long way in other people’s lives. They’re always appreciative, even if they’re not seeming that way. And also patience makes us so much more beautiful. I think it really is something that makes us look a lot more like Jesus besides how we use our love and our kindness.
“I think just having patience and grace with people that look different from us or act different from us or seem different from us is so important.” – Taylor Tippett
God’s role in these small moments is really kind of who He just is, I think. I’ve learned through my project and through my job and just the life that I’m called to that I relate more to these small little nooks of kindness. More often than not, we overlook them because we think God has to be this big, crazy thing that happens in our lives or in our days, and so often God is in the smallness and in the little tiny nooks of kindness and in the tiny interactions we have with people. So I think that God really does show up in the nooks and crannies. And it’s been really beautiful to realize and to grow in because I found myself so in tune and so close with God, because I do look out for these moments with others and in my life and in my every day.
And God, while He might feel big and complicated and so intricate and have so many parts to Him, He just wants to be with us. And I think that’s all we have to do, is just to sit with Him and be with Him and ask Him to just have eyes that see smallness and beauty in whimsical moments in our life and just keep asking and showing up and He’ll do it.
I think the first step in order to kind of find these moments with God is to just slow down, to just breathe, to not worry about work and all of these things. It’s just to look around you and to dig deep and to ask yourself how God can show up there, whether it’s through driving and talking to God, or if you’re around other people and doing something small for them, or whether you decide to wake up thirty minutes early before you go to work and to go on a walk and to just look around you at the beauty, or watch a sunrise—God shows up in those moments. And I think you just have to practice the art of slowing down in order to see them and to really have eyes that can catch them.
I love Jesus Calling for the fact that I can get something beautiful and not have to spend hours doing Bible study. You know, it’s really beautiful and Jesus is in it already, so I don’t have to read something for thirty minutes. I just really, really love and appreciate that about Jesus Calling.
Jesus Listens, February 16th:
You’ve been teaching me that there is no randomness about my life: Here and Now comprise the coordinates of my daily life. The present moment is not only the point at which time intersects eternity, it is the place where I encounter You—my eternal Savior. Every moment of every day is alive with Your glorious Presence! Help me to keep my thoughts focused on You—enjoying Your Presence here and now.
I confess that I let many moments slip through my fingers, half-lived. I neglect the present by worrying about the future or longing for a better time and place. Please open my eyes and awaken my heart so I can see all that this day contains! I want You to be involved in everything I do—equipping me to do my work heartily. Working collaboratively with You lightens my load and enables me to enjoy what I’m doing.
I find that the more time I spend communicating with You, the less I worry. This frees me to let Your Spirit direct my steps—guiding my feet into the way of Peace.
In Your guiding Name, Amen
I think when we start to kind of lay ourselves down and look at other people first, not only does it change us, but I think it’s what Jesus did and what we should be doing. We become more like Jesus when we love other people before ourselves. While it is important to love ourselves and to take care of ourselves so we can do these things for others, at some point, it’s all about balance. So we have to work on ourselves and love ourselves, but then we lay ourselves down and focus on other people.
Spending time with God every day is extremely important because it kind of sets the mood for how your day is going to go. How we treat others, how we treat people in our workplace, how we treat who we love, I think really is impacted by how we start our day or what we do before life kind of happens, whether that’s reading a devotional or whether that’s just talking to God or whatever it is for you. I think it’s really important to do that because it kind of sets the tone for your day in how we treat others. And I think that that’s really how God and Jesus show up, is in our relationships and how we love other people, whether they’re people we know or people we don’t.
So spending time in the morning or just at some point during the day or constantly throughout the day is a gentle reminder of what we’re supposed to be doing and what God tells us to do and what we’re called to. And I think that that’s just really beautiful. And it’s truly a gift that we can constantly bring ourselves back to the beauty that we’re called to and be reminded of it, but also at the same time, be challenged to be like Jesus.
Narrator: To learn more about Taylor Tippett, you can follow her on social media @wordsfromthewindowseat, and be sure to check out her book of the same name at your favorite retailer.
Stay tuned to Curtis Grimes’ story after a brief message.
A New Year, Refreshed with Prayer
As a new year begins, are you looking for a way to go deeper in your daily prayer habit? There’s a brand-new 365 day devotional prayer book called Jesus Listens from Sarah Young, the author of Jesus Calling. With Jesus Listens, you can strengthen or renew your relationship with God through the continual conversation of prayer. Jesus Listens is perfect if you’re busy with life’s demands but want to grow in your prayer life. Looking for rest and hope from difficult times? Or, are not even sure how to pray? By praying scripture through this daily devotional prayer book, you’ll experience how intentional prayer connects you to God, changes your heart, and can even move mountains. Get a start on a deeper prayer life with the new 365 day devotional prayer book, Jesus Listens. To find out more visit www.jesuscalling.com/jesuslistens
Narrator: Our next guest is Texas country music artist Curtis Grimes. After a childhood filled with playing baseball and eventually earning a Division I scholarship, Grimes was given the opportunity to appear on the hit reality TV show The Voice in 2011. Under the direction of coach CeeLo Green, he ended up finishing as a top eight finalist of season one. His country career took off from there and in 2019, he was named Entertainer of the Year at the TCMA Awards Show hosted by the Texas Country Music Association. In 2020, Grimes took home the Christian Country Artist of the Year.
Curtis has learned that God can be found in the small moments as well as the big ones, and he shares his desire to spend his life pointing people to God through his music and words.
Curtis Grimes: I had a pretty solid faith foundation in our house. I mean, we were at church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night. So that’s kind of the background I grew up in. I got saved when I was pretty young, pretty active in the youth group.
And I remember telling my dad, “When I get big, I want to play Major League Baseball so I can tell people about Jesus and use that platform for His glory and honor.” And here I was, I wasn’t a Major League Baseball player, but I definitely had a platform, definitely had the microphone for ninety minutes every night, and kind of the opportunity to influence and reach a lot of people. And not only was I not doing that, I was doing the complete opposite in a lot of ways.
I would say when I got into high school, when I would go hang out with my baseball buddies on the weekends, is kind of when I started falling off, started drinking and partying and cutting up, but still would go to church every Sunday. I had a pretty solid accountability factor at my household and definitely not something my family condoned.
I didn’t get into the music stuff until my freshman year at college. I had received a scholarship, and my roommate was another guy on the baseball team, and he had a guitar in the dorm room. And that’s when I started messing around with trying to play the guitar and write songs and sing in front of people and just kind of dug into that when my baseball career was over.
I had a few lucky breaks early on, won a radio contest to open for Kenny Chesney, and that kind of piggybacked into us touring outside of that Austin area we were in. And three years after that, I was on the first season of The Voice, and made the top eight. So that opened up the door for us to get on the more commercial national scale with the big booking agent and management publishing and the whole nine.
Pointing People to Jesus in Big and Small Ways
I guess a big pivotal turning point for me was about halfway through my career. I was having a lot of conviction for how I was living and was not representing Christ the way I should in not only my music, but also my lifestyle. And from that point on, I just kind of really made a conscious effort to use the talent and ability that God had blessed me with to reach people, to go into the bars, honky tonks, fairs, festivals, rodeos, wherever we were playing, and actually use that to point people to Jesus, not do the opposite.
“I made a conscious effort to use the talent and ability God had blessed me with to reach people, to go into the bars, honky tonks, fairs, festivals, rodeos, wherever we were playing, and actually use that to point people to Jesus, not do the opposite.” – Curtis Grimes
At the end of the day, when you feel like God has blessed you with this talent—especially knowing I didn’t grow up doing music, this was kind of a new-found talent and just put so many awesome things in play to put me in position to actually be successful in this thing. So when you realize, like, God has blessed me, even though I’m definitely not worthy of it, and not that we’re ever worthy of it, but especially when you’re living like you know you shouldn’t, I just kind of started having a lot of conviction for that.
There probably wasn’t one thing. You start feeling that conviction through just however the Spirit does that. And I was on the way to the gym one night and an Andraé Crouch song called, “Through It All” came on the radio. And it’s just kind of like the moral of the story, that God never gives up on us, and that’s really how I felt like I’d gone on this path, like definitely turned my back on Him. He never turned His back on us, never leaves us or forsakes us. But we definitely do that to Him when we start digging into our own selfish ambition, fleshly desires. And so that was kind of a wake up call.
I was still wrapped up in my management company. Of course, when they’re paying for your albums, they kind of have a say in which songs you cut. And I remember at the end of that following year after I had a meeting with them and said, “Hey, I don’t really want to do the drink and party and stuff. I want to do the more positive faith-based traditional country that just really reflects me in my personal life.”
By the end of the year, they dropped me. My booking agent dropped me, management dropped me, everything. And so I kind of had a hard reset, but I had total control. And so I said, “I’m going to record one more album. And if it works, I’ll go another year and kind of continue down that route.” And so I made it a point to record that song. And that was kind of the ultimate litmus test of, Are Texas country stations going to play this kind of music? And they did and went number one.
Initially, my thought was to just remove myself from the environment, just get out of the scene, get out of the lifestyle, get away from it, and just go lead worship in a church. But God really put it on my heart that, “I have you here for a reason. I want you to do whatever you think that you were going to do in a church out here where you’re actually reaching people in a place where people aren’t going to hear about Jesus.” And so that’s kind of how I looked at it, as more of a mission field than just a music career playing music concerts.
“Initially, my thought was to just remove myself from the [music business], just get out of the scene, get out of the lifestyle, get away from it, and just go lead worship in a church. But God really put it on my heart that, ‘I have you here for a reason. I want you to do whatever you think that you were going to do in a church out here, where you’re actually reaching people in a place where people aren’t going to hear about Jesus.’” – Curtis Grimes
I think that’s different than if a pastor were to walk in and try to start preaching to folks in that environment, in a way that might push them away. I feel like they’re more accepting to listen to me when I’m sitting here sharing my testimony in between songs or when we break down in the second verse of “Graves into Gardens” and just talk about how awesome it is that God never leaves us or forsakes us. I think they’re actually more apt to listen, knowing my story, knowing my background, and knowing that I’m not there looking down on them. I don’t know how long that door is going to stay open. But for now, things are going pretty good.
My band guys are all on the same page. Most of them play in churches and do worship on Sunday also. But I would say everybody in our group is walking in the same direction, they understand this is more about the ministry aspect of it and less about the playing music part. So it’s not uncommon at all for us to just have full-blown Bible study when we’re going down the road, or a lot of times it’ll kind of start with, “Hey, I was reading Revelation this morning, it said this. What do you think about that?” Then that will turn into an hour-long conversation with everybody kind of chiming in. So that’s really cool.
Jesus As a Constant in Our Lives
Jesus Calling, that’s kind of like the most common daily devotional that I’ve seen around the people in my life. That’s kind of the standard.
I’ll read this passage [Jesus Always, May 1st]:
THE PRESENT MOMENT is the point at which time intersects eternity. It is also the palace where you can encounter Me—your eternal Savior. So keep your thoughts focused on the present as much as you can, enjoying My Presence here and now.
Invite Me into whatever you are engaged in. Ask Me to help you do your work heartily. Working collaboratively with Me lightens your load and enables you to be more effective. Share with Me not only your work but also your leisure—thanking Me for both. When something upsets you, don’t let fearful or obsessive thoughts take over your mind. Instead, talk with Me about whatever is troubling you. Then cast all your anxiety on Me, knowing that I care for you.
If you ask, I will open your eyes and awaken your heart so you can see more fully all that the present contains. I delight in meeting with you in your wide-awake heart! I came into the world so that you may have life in abundance—till it overflows.
We need Jesus in our daily lives, in our constant walk with Him, not just for the eternal salvation aspect of it, just because there’s always something—we’re always going to come to crossroads many times a day. And you get to that point and whether it’s temptation, whether it’s, you know, just decisions that need to be made, and that’s the source. That’s the ultimate source.
One thing I really try to talk to people [about], our outreach is really centered on the relationship, which is getting people to a relationship with Jesus because finally, I realized that it’s not me that’s going to change it, and the words in my mouth aren’t going to change someone. It’s getting them to enter into a relationship with Jesus. And He’s going to change and the Spirit is going to change. I’m not me, but I need to get them to make that introduction to where they build the relationship. Not only that aspect of staying focused and just realizing that He’s our source and we don’t need to get caught up in what’s going on in the world around us, but also the fact that we need Him. We need Him every second of every day because we’re not capable of it by our own accord, and we see that when we fall, when we struggle, and most times it’s because we try to do it our way in and just it doesn’t work out that way.
That’s something else to this that my eyes have been opened up to this year, is how much we need to walk with Jesus now. Because that’s when we’re living our best life as a Christian, and that’s when we’re really reaping the full benefit of having that relationship. It’s more than just salvation. It’s more than just, “Hey, this is what we need to do as Christians,” it’s “Hey, we really need God, and we really need Jesus walking with us daily.”
Narrator: You can find Curtis’ latest self-titled record, which includes the radio single “Noah Built a Boat,” wherever you buy music.
If you’d like to hear more stories about how God works in the small and big moments, check out our interview with Lisa Harper.
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast, we speak with New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist Elaine Welteroth and her husband musician Jonathan Singletary, who talk to us about how their work isn’t just “work”, but what God has called them to do.
Elaine Welteroth: Everything I did was from a sense of I felt there was a calling put on me. My career is not just a career, it’s a calling. And I was obedient and I surrendered my own fears and my own doubts. And to the point I didn’t even, like, What barriers or what fears? I just went after it because I knew that God had me. It was like a prophecy.