Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Music Soothes Our Souls

Do you ever stop and wonder why music makes us feel the way it does? It can make us sad, silent, give us pause for reflection on the past, patriotic or joyful beyond measure. I would encourage you to think about that the next time you're happily singing along to your favorite tune. Ask yourself why is it your favorite? What emotion does it make you feel?

One of the ways I begin my mornings is to listen to praise and worship music. It provides me with about 30-45 minutes depending on how long I take to get myself ready once I am out of the shower and often times I find I already have a song on my heart when I wake up. Sometimes it's a silly song from my childhood or something I have heard repeatedly on the radio, and often times one that I hear my husband or daughter singing and then it gets stuck in my head. I call the ones that I wake up with that stay with me throughout the day, my "soul songs." I believe God puts them there as a way to get me to reflect on the meaning of the song's lyrics or the way it makes me feel. Some of my favorites are Toby Mac's Speak Life, Jamie Grace's Beautiful Day and Hold Me, and Mandisa's Stronger.

I have found that when I am struggling in my life with stress or anger that I know I need to let go off, the easiest way to get my focus off those things is to listen to music, preferably Christian music. My reason for listening to Christian music is that the lyrics often times contain scriptures from the Bible. My husband was recently struggling to memorize scripture verses from the Bible and when I gathered a handful of songs like Matthew West's Hello My Name Is.. I knew he knew the words to, I played them back to him watching to see if he would easily remember those scriptures. I took it one step further and looked them up for him and began to quiz him on those verses and surprisingly even now, he can remember them.

God's got a point in using music to speak to our heart and soul. God can work through music to heal our troubled souls much like he did for King Saul when David played for him when he was troubled by evil spirits that were tormenting him.

1 Samuel 16:23 NIV ~ "Whenever the spirit from God can upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him."

I believe the same is true for the praise and worship music that we find in church from rock bands to the old classic hymns, people are drawn like moths to a flame by the call of God to our heart and soul through music. It can get us through tough times and get us to focus on other things besides ourselves and our troubles. This is one of the reasons I love the first thirty minutes of being in church is just singing those amazing songs like 10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord), Amazing Grace, Lay Me Down and Awake My Soul. You can't focus on what you left behind at the door when you begin singing songs like that. They are designed to encourage, lift us up and change us in unremarkable ways.

This is what happened with Paul and Silas. Their surroundings wee dreary. Their circumstances were disappointing. Their prospects were discouraging. The only thing in their situation not depressing was their attitude.. Paul and Silas didn't blame God for their imprisonment; they worshiped Him in spite of it. Even though their bodies were locked up, their spirits soared free as they sang praise and worship songs to God.

And they didn't just praise for a few minutes; they praised for as long as it took. Verse 25 says they were praying and singing hymns at "about midnight" when God shook the jail cell and they were freed. They didn't stop at 10:00 p.m.; they didn't give up at 11:00 p.m.; they praised until their problem crumbled before them.

Joyce Meyers said it best in her book You Can Begin Again, "I want to encourage you to develop a life of praise. Regardless of what you are going through today, find something to praise God for . You may be on top of the world - the kids are getting good grades, you job is not feeling like "work," your spouse is helping out around the house, your health is great, and you found some great sales at the mall - well, praise God! Take time to worship God in your quiet time for all of His blessings.

Or you may feel like the world is on top of you - your kids are causing trouble, your job is stressful, your spouse is driving you crazy, you got a bad medical report, and the sale clerk overcharged you - well, praise God! Keep worshipping God for His goodness even when it feels like you are in a dark circumstance. Like Paul and Silas, find the good in every situation, and praise God with all of your heart. Your praise is the path to your victory."

Psalm 63:4 NIV ~ "I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands."

How do you use music to help get you through the day? I'd love to hear about it.

1 comment:

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