Our Music + Our Hearts =

Music is one of the most powerful things that I believe we have and possess. It has the power and feeling to bring tears to one’s eyes, to touch hearts, and inspire thousands. Music is very involved in our lives. Whether it is while we work out, when we are writing a paper, just laying around, the soundtrack to a movie, or we are playing the music ourselves; music is always present.

I love music. Since I was seven years old, I’ve played the acoustic guitar so that I could lead worship songs. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been singing. Its a memory that I have always had. This part of my life has always been there and I can’t imagine life without music. God has given us a great gift to be able to use for expressing our feelings, sharing stories, and gathering together with others in music. That this gift is from God. We know that God gave certain people the gift of music to share with others for a reason. That reason is to glorify Him.

At my youth group on Wednesday nights, we are talking about our culture. Each week we are going to look at different things like songs, movies, and television shows to see what messages we are hearing everyday from different things we take in. What was so interesting was taking a secular song and comparing it’s themes and messages to what the Bible said about that theme. When we looked at ‘Uptown Funk’s lyrics on paper, it was like a totally different song than what we’ve been hearing again and again and again and again… and again. I had to take a step back.

I love that song! It is so catchy, it is so fun. And because dancing is my favorite activity (no, I’m not a dancer I just like to dance!) I love grooving to this song. When I saw the lyrics, I saw what I was dancing to. A big theme in this song is pride. We also discussed vanity at youth group. While this song is so much fun, I didn’t like the message that I was reading into.

Secular music is not bad. Or let me say this; not all secular music is bad! I believe there are a lot of songs out there that’s sole purpose is to promote sex, prostitution, drugs, alcohol abuse, and partying. Yet these are the songs that we are demanding so much more of. When I hear songs like that, it makes me think of where I once was before I became serious about my faith. When I was in middle school, I knew Jesus, but I wanted to be cool so bad. I wanted to grow up and be the high schooler who would go to all the parties and be the girl that all the guys wanted to hang out with. It may sound silly to you, but some songs bring back memories of me trying to fit in and grow up to be “cool” like these people that were singing these songs about sex and alcohol and partying like “there is no tomorrow”. Personally, that wasn’t a good place for me. I wasn’t growing. I wasn’t becoming a better person. I was focused on me. Which is exactly what some of these songs promote. It’s all about me.

I like real music. Everyone has their own definition, but I believe in music that has depth and a great sound. I love when I can see an artist play a song just because they love being in the moment with the song not because they love the attention they’re getting from their adoring fans in the audience. Those artists deserve the awards and being #1 on the charts.

We need to be real with our music. We need to be authentic with what we listen to. Whatever we take in fills our hearts. Our music also says a lot about us. If your music is shallow and just “has a good beat”, what does that say? Do you ever think about how you influence others with the music you listen to or play?

Again, secular music is not bad. I love all kinds of music. Except country… But hey, that’s just me. I listen to music that relates to me, that has a cool and different sound, and that can lift me up. Ultimately, any kind of music that I listen to can honor and glorify God if I’m choosing songs that have a good message. Songs that have a good beat and are just for fun are always going to be there. We will jam in the car or go to a wedding and belt out “Yeah” by Usher… But we need to make sure that our hearts see what is on that sheet of lyrics.

That physical piece of paper of lyrics really prompted me to look at myself and to make sure that I don’t just listen to anything for the fun of it. Music is great and I want to make sure that my music has a positive effect in my life. If I want my life to glorify God, that means my music should too. Think about what you listen to and how you fill yourself up. Maybe take some time to give up secular music for awhile just to see what kind of impact your music was having on you before and after that break. Christian music will not kill you. It is sad to me how many of my Christian friends think that it will. There are so many amazing Christian artists out there that are making music by glorifying Jesus with their talents. I really appreciate that and love God. So why not listen to music about Him?

This series at church really challenged me and I hope it challenges you as well. Put good things in your heart and you will pour out good things to others.

1 Kings 8:61- Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.

Proverbs 4:23- Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

~

Here are some awesome songs that I have been listening to lately! And yes, I love Phil Collins:

Meridian (full album) by the Soil & the Sun- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztpIl-k9Zvc 

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Geronimo by Sheppard- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozsmSlvGHv4 

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Run Boy Run by Woodkid- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eje2r90MkGE

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Love is War (Acoustic) by Hillsong UNITED- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMUaqizunxg

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You Can’t Hurry Love by Phil Collins- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WPj0r5U41M

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Shine Like Lightning by Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIioazf71DE

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A Lonely Road.

We don’t want to feel lost. It hurts. It stings. We can’t see where we’re going. When we feel lost, we often run to the closest thing to us because it’s somewhere. We’ve been stumbling around for too long to walk aimlessly any longer. So we see a place to stop along the path we’ve been walking on for days. It may not be what we were searching for but at least it is a place to belong.

I think that we have all experienced this in our lives. We have felt lost in an area of our lives. The thing that blows my mind is that we can feel alone in so many aspects of our lives. Sometimes, we feel lonely in a crowded room. Sometimes, we feel lonely in a friendship or relationship. Sometimes, we feel lonely in our families. Sometimes, we just feel lonely in our minds. I know that I’ve been there. It sucks. And when you are in that place of complete and utter loneliness, it feels like there is no way out.

When I have felt loneliness in my life, I always hear the word wilderness from someone or something I see/read. This word is so significant to me because I have felt like I am in the wilderness in my loneliness. Tired and alone. Lost and insecure. Not knowing where to go or if I’d ever find a way out. Yes, I’ve always had friends and a loving family, but that doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been times in my life where I feel different. I feel set apart, like there is a distance between me and others. I can see it. There is a path that stretches longer and longer as I venture deeper and deeper into the wilderness.

Like I said before, sometimes, we just pick a random stop on the way. In some instances, it might be a friend or a person that is there as a safety net. You know that you don’t believe what they do or want to be involved in some of the things they may do, but you choose to stick with them so you’re not alone. Maybe its not even a person. Maybe its drinking, drugs, sex, spending money, watching Netflix… I don’t know! But let me just say this: no company is better than bad company. Don’t fill yourself up with things to get rid of the loneliness. Those things or those people will only make that loneliness sting more.

I am so glad to say that while I feel alone sometimes here on earth, I always know that I am not. There is a still, soft voice that is always with me. A heart that I long to draw nearer to with every step I take, even when I’m lost. This voice is a Heavenly Father who never lets go even if it doesn’t feel like He is there. I know He is.

Someone once told me to prepare for the wilderness. They said that I needed to embrace it and hold tightly to who I was and to who God is. That was the only way I could get out. Being in the wilderness feels like the worst thing that could ever happen to us. In my experience, I’m thankful for the wilderness that I’ve been lost in. When I’m bruised and beaten and tired from venturing all by myself, that, my friends, is when I learned to lean on Jesus and who He is. His Word is a lamp for my feet and a light to my path. His love is constant when the rest of the world is not. The wilderness brings me closer to Him.

If you feel like you are in the wilderness, I encourage you not to be sad about it anymore. This is a time where you can learn who you are and how to cling to Your Heavenly Father as a Christ Follower. Set your priorities straight while you don’t have any distractions. Be ready for the world and what life will throw at you because I’m telling you, there is a light at the end of the tunnel that will lead you out of that wilderness. It may seem long and never-ending, but it is but a blink of an eye for eternity. Be joyful in all circumstances, that is what God’s Word says. Don’t let these moments draw you away from Him. It is very easy to feel pity for yourself and want to give up. But please, don’t. Keep going. You have a friend with you the whole way.

            Cling to Him. Even if you feel like He isn’t there, I promise you He is.

Psalm 119:105- Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path.

1 Thessalonians 5:18- give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Words To Live By.

These words matter much more than mine:

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:14-17.