You are in the car with your mind on autopilot. Your radio station is playing your favorite new song. Suddenly you snap out of autopilot to turn the radio up. Picture yourself: music is blaring, fingers strumming, and voice following along. You have the chorus down just right because the artist sings that part several times. However the verse is another story. Most of the words are a hilarious mumble and blur.
Have you ever thought of the irony of this scene? A song is delicately crafted. It tells a story that someone lived and experienced. It even expresses emotions better than our own words. Yet when it plays in the background it is just that- in the background.
A song that demands your attention by relatable lyrics can change your mind, and even your life. Yet, it plays only in the background.
Society has filled our environment with noise. So much so, that music has become noise behind the scenes of your life. Think about it. In the average American home, there is a TV in every room, an ipod in just about every ear, and a computer with YouTube playing in the background. So what do we listen to? The TV next door or the computer? While we struggle to listen, someone is on the phone in the other room while you are texting a friend in the next state.
We have become so accustomed to all this noise that music is becoming only background music. Our brains would overload if we didn’t filter something out. Music becomes the victim.
Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:19 to “Speak to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord”. In Paul’s time, there were less noisy distractions. Music was special and sacred. Unlike today, it’s everywhere.
If we were to break down his instructions, starting with “speak to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” the power of the spoken word would change our hearts and minds on a daily basis. For instance, if the dialogue in your mind was, “I don’t know how I am going to make it through this situation. My heart is broken and I feel like everyone has turned from me. I don’t even know what to do to change this.”
Instead of leaving your plea with no solution, you could continue your dialogue by quoting or paraphrasing Psalms 61:1-4. You could say, “ My heart is so broken, I don’t know what to do, and I don’t even know who to turn to. For this, please hear the cry of my heart and lead me to the rock that is higher than me. I will trust in you and I will hide in the shelter of your wings”.
Not only have you expressed yourself, but you have also given yourself a solution. You decided to trust in the Lord and to go to him when your heart was overwhelmed.
If you didn’t follow the first part of Paul’s instructions you would have been left with an overwhelmed heart and empty hands. If you do follow his instructions, the first moment you are overwhelmed, you will have brought yourself to the Man who is higher than yourself and can see your need from a better perspective, and you have filled your hand with his promises for a better future.
If you don’t know any psalms or hymn or spiritual songs, how will you encourage yourself? There is something special in being able to know your need, and knowing how to address it. Suddenly your conversation with your friends will change. You wont have to constantly ask them what to do with your life because you will have a better handle on it. Instead of asking them what to do, you can tell them, “Hey! So, I was totally struggling with this situation and this is how I handled it. You should try it!” Your conversation will become uplifting, pleasant, and empowering. Paul really knew what worked and what he was talking about.
The second part of his instructions tells us to sing and make melody in our heart to the Lord. Do the songs you listen to have anything to do with God? Are the lyrics uplifting? Do you know what the songs are talking about?
If you are struggling with depression, what is a better medicine for your soul? Would it be best to listen to a song with lyrics that talk about a man who cheated on his wife and decided to leave or is it better to listen to lyrics that say that there is hope and a better day, and God is for you not against you. You decide. The goal is to feel differently and to change your circumstance and your mind. If you are depressed and you hear the message that someone is for you and tomorrow is a new day, you are going to look to tomorrow with hope. You can’t remain depressed with hope in your heart.
If you don’t know psalms, and spiritual songs you can find Psalms in the Old Testament of the Bible. All of those Psalm deal with your heart, mind, and daily struggles of life, and each one tells you how to deal with them with God rushing to your rescue. Hebrews encourages you to continue doing the right thing even when the right thing is hard. Proverbs is the book of wisdom. If you wish your could go to a counselor but you can’t afford it or too embarrassed to go, the book of Proverbs tells you how to be wise and gives your suggestions for your life.
If you are someone who has always heard about the Bible but never dared to open it because it is so big, start with Psalms and Proverbs. This is a beautiful way to learn about God. If you have read the Bible but it seemed unrelatable, get in a Bible Study with a church group. If the songs you listen to have nothing to do with lifting your spirits then change the type of music you are listening to. There are Christian stations on the radio, online, even on Youtube! When you go to church, there will be about 45 minutes of worship music. If you love a song, or want to know where to find it, ask the Music Minister of your church. They are a huge resource to find encouraging music. That is what they are there for.
If you change the music you listen to, you end up changing the words that play in your head. If you change the words that repeat in your mind, your mind will change. If your mind changes, your prospective will change. If your perspective changes, your Life will change.
I challenge you. Change the music you listen to. When it is playing in the background, stop and check the lyrics. If they have nothing to do with a better, more fulfilling life, change the station. You owe it to your future, and your self-esteem. Start paying attention, and you will notice the changes it will bring to your life. You will invite God into your mind and heart, and He will enjoy dwelling there because you have made room for Him to work.