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Music Moment #1: The Sounds That Soothe

Music is Life

Music has the power to soothe, inspire, and inflame.  Add lyrics and this power is magnified exponentially.  Even for those who don’t consciously focus on the lyrics, the impact is still there.  Subconsciously, we hear and respond to every word.  Like it or not, we are influenced by everything we allow into our brains.  A medium with this much power should not be taken lightly.

Music that we enjoy is generally less about the musical style than we realize.  It is more often the result of the memories and feelings the songs recall.  We also tend to be driven toward the music that was popular within the groups where we felt the most connected and accepted.

Music can help us vent our feelings which is healthy, but taken to the extreme, this can actually fuel the very emotions we are trying to release.  Thus, we can end up digging our holes deeper rather than setting ourselves free.

It helps to recognize these truths because then we can begin to use the power of music to fuel our journey toward hope and healing.  Our choices really say a lot about our emotional and spiritual goals.  We can select musical content that encourages us to overcome isolation and empowers healthy connections.  We can also choose to infuse ourselves with positive messages that enable us to defeat shame and pain.  Music can uplift our spirits and help us to soar on the wings of eagles.

One of the hallmarks of Christian music is its positive message.  As a result, many find a tremendous transforming power in these songs.  But, all styles of secular music can be source of strength and healing as well.

Let’s share one song from each of these genre to illustrate this point.  Take a few moments to check out these 2 songs.  Pay close attention to the lyrics and contemplate how they might speak to you.

#1: A Christian song, “Beautifully Broken“, by Plumb.  This song testifies powerfully to the hope that God provides in the midst of our brokenness.

#2: A secular song by Alessia Cara, “Scars to Your Beautiful“.  This song points toward hope even in the midst darkness and the nature of true beauty.

Music can make a huge impact on our overall well-being.  It can be a powerful light in the darkness.  The choices are ours.  Choose wisely, Grasshopper.

 

 

6 Tips For Becoming An Overcomer

Aurora

Life is a series of battles.  The following tips can help us win the war.

There will certainly be times of peace and prosperity in our lives, but trials and struggles will come.   The issue is not “if”, but “when”.

2 Timothy 3:12 “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

We must have the tools to fight, or the battle is lost before it even begins.  But, it is possible to shift the odds in our favor and to be overcomers.

Tip #1

Have An Attitude of Gratitude

Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Depression, pain, and anxiety can easily be blind us to the many blessings around us.  Forcing ourselves to stop and find at least one thing everyday that we are grateful for can go a long way toward lifting the fog that surrounds and imprisons us.

Tip #2

Cloth Yourself With Positivity

Romans 5:3-5 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

It is very easy to get caught up in very negative conversations inside our heads.  We tend to berate ourselves and replay our mistakes over and over.  In doing this we rob ourselves of self-worth as we ignore our successes and wallow in our misery.  Although there is nothing wrong with acknowledging our shortcomings, but we need to give equal time and perhaps even more to the positive things we bring to the table. They are there.  Unfortunately, they tend to get lost, forgotten, or denied when we are experiencing darkness in our lives.

A good technique is to look at areas we perceive to be weakness and recognize ways in which these same traits can work positively in our lives as well.  For instance, my stubbornness can also help me to persevere through difficult situations.  Regaining this perspective can help us view our situation more accurately and fairly and move us toward the light.

Tip #3

Be Shameless

Herbert Lui in his 2014 blog post on Lifehacker discusses a TED talk by Brené Brown in which she said:

“Shame is a focus on self, guilt is a focus on behavior. Shame is, “I am bad.” Guilt is, “I did something bad.” How many of you, if you did something that was hurtful to me, would be willing to say, “I’m sorry. I made a mistake?” How many of you would be willing to say that? Guilt: I’m sorry. I made a mistake. Shame: I’m sorry. I am a mistake.”

Mr. Lui also astutely pointed out that it’s not just a matter of semantics.  Brown goes on to  expound on the profoundly different effects these two mindsets can have on our physical and emotional health:

“Shame is highly, highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders.

Here’s what you even need to know more: Guilt is inversely correlated with those things. The ability to hold something we’ve done, or failed to do, up against who we want to be is incredibly adaptive. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s adaptive.”

The bible refers to a similar distinction that affects us spiritually.

2 Corinthians 7:10 “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.”

Godly sorrow (guilt) causes us to own our mistakes.  Its leads us to turn outward to seek His forgiveness and His help in overcoming our weaknesses.  On the other hand, worldly sorrow (shame) causes us to isolate and turn inward and to believe the lie that we are nothing more than worthless failures.  Thus, we become entrapped in our weakness.

But wait, there’s more.

Colossians 2:14 “having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Our sin debt is paid in full by Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.  God can take our pasts and nail them to the cross.  The old self dies and His power gives us new life.  With God’s help we can become shame free (shame-less).

Tip #4

Don’t Be The Victim Of  Bad Framing

If we put a beautiful picture into the wrong frame, its power and allure can be completely lost.  The same can be said of the difficult events and situations we encounter in life.  If we interpret or frame those events improperly, their true meaning and importance will often be missed.  Frequently, we do our greatest learning and growing when life is the most challenging.  Unfortunately, these lessons can be can overshadowed by the awkwardness or discomfort we experience.  These are the times we need to dig deep and find the purpose in the chaos.

We were created by God with a purpose.

Psalm 57:2 “I cry out to God Most High, ​​​​​​​to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” ​​​

Proverbs 19:21 ​​​​​​​​”Many are the plans in the mind of a man, ​​​​​​​but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” ​​​

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

The positive and/or negative nature of any situation is much more subjective than we often realize.  Curse versus blessing is often a matter of perspective and often reveals our limited ability to see the bigger picture.  The true impact for good or ill may not be clear to us right away if ever.  A grandmother’s brave struggle with illness inspires her grandson to years later pursue a career in medicine long after her passing.  The loss of a child enables a couple to powerfully minister to other couples going through the same ordeal in ways others can’t.  A woman’s battle with and victory over depression allows her to bring light to others still living in darkness.  A recovering addict sharing his journey brings hope and healing to another still held captive to addiction.

It can be very hard to see beyond our pain and imagine something good coming from it.  But, great freedom can be ours if we choose to look beyond our situation to find the deeper lesson or greater purpose behind the pain.  Doing this can bring immense growth and healing for ourselves and allow us to become a powerful source of growth and healing for others as well.

Tip #5

Trust The Trustworthy

Another obstacle is our tendency to trust in our own abilities rather than in God’s.  This cuts us off from the one power that can truly transform our lives.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”

Isaiah 46:9-10 ​​​​​​​​”I am God, and there is no other; ​​​​​​​I am God, and there is none like me,​​​​declaring the end from the beginning ​​​​​​​and from ancient times things not yet done, ​​​​​​​saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, ​​​​​​​and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ ​​​”

Did you catch that? God sees the end from the beginning!  Think of it this way.  We are standing at the curb watching the parade go by so we are limited to experiencing what’s in front of us, the present moment.  But God flies above the parade in a helicopter and can see the entire procession from beginning to end.  That is power that can carry us though our trials and beyond.

Tip #6

Recognize The True Enemy

We believe that Satan is real and that he is the enemy of God and everything God created.  Satan loves nothing more than to isolate us and cause us pain especially if it will drive us away from God.

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

1 Peter 5:8 “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

This reality is sobering, but another truth can help us hold onto hope.

Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

God turns Satan’s efforts against Him.  This doesn’t mean life will be easy, but it does mean that we don’t face our struggles alone.

Romans 8:31 “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Satan wants us to believe our situation is hopeless, but always remember that he is the father of lies (John 8:44).  Even when things seem darkest, God provides a way out.   It may be through the support of someone He places in our life; or through a seemingly random opportunity; or maybe simply the courage to walk (or run) away and regroup.  The solution may not be anything like we imagined or even hoped (remember Proverbs 3:5), but there is always hope with God.

 

 

 
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