Rolling in the deep or lifting HIM on high?

26 Apr

Music (n): A mixture of voices and instruments that worships something and has the ability to make or break you.

Don’t be mistaken. That’s not Webster’s dictionary definition of the word “music.” It’s actually my own personal definition. It’s nothing fancy, but it summarizes the point I want to make today. It’s been a learning experience for me, actually.

Right vs. Wrong?

In my 21 years of life on this planet, I will be honest and tell you that I’ve met Christians who stand on complete opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to secular music. Some believe that all of it should be avoided, some say that secular music is okay as long as it’s clean, and some truly think any secular music is okay, regardless of content.

So, what is okay and what isn’t? Where can the line be drawn? Is it wrong for me to listen to Michael Buble? (If it IS wrong, I’m not so sure I want to be right…LOL.)

But seriously, these are questions I’ve often asked myself. It can be hard to determine where to draw the line in our present culture.

Truthfully, I’m not here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t listen to, but…

Here is what I’ve found, and it has helped me in my decision making: “Garbage in, garbage out” couldn’t be any truer. If music makes you angry or depressed, if it causes you to sin, if it encourages you to disrespect your family, if it pushes you to hang with the wrong crowd….well, I’d suggest you throw it out.

But what if the music you listen to isn’t actually “bad”? What if it’s just sad?

My Adele Experience

Let’s face it: We’ve all heard of Adele. Virtually all of us can recognize her songs by her incredible voice and the sad, bitter lyrics. I’ve never actually intentionally listened to Adele, but I can recognize her music because of its popularity and presence on American Idol. In fact, over the past six months, I have felt as though I hear her music everywhere. It pretty much follows me. And it really hadn’t bothered me too much, until I listened to it closely.

The other day I was washing dishes and listening to a station on Pandora Radio, and one of Adele’s songs came on. Although my natural inclination would have been to skip the song (sorry, Adele fans), my hands were all messy and soapy, so I had to let “Rolling in the Deep” play.

For the first time, I actually listened to every word of the song (I was kind of forced to). Can I be totally honest? This song tried to steal my joy.

I’ve found that whether we can relate to the lyrics of a sad song or not, I truly believe music can affect us. And even if we can relate to it–in this case, even if we’ve had our hearts broken–do we honestly think listening to Adele will help us? Sure, whoever broke Adele’s heart made her a millionaire, but listening to her music isn’t going to make you and me rich or famous, let alone happy.

Can I just say: No thank you!

As some of you know, 2012 has been a challenging year for me. But at the very same time, it has been an incredible season of growth and opportunities. I am thankful for it!

Why is that?

I’ve learned from the book of James (1:2-4, in particular) that trials are allowed in our lives by God so that he can perfect and strengthen our faith. He uses them to make us more like Christ, if we are willing to surrender. Without the struggles and suffering this winter/spring have brought me, I would be nowhere near where I am in my walk with Christ. My journey is just beginning, and God has already been faithful to me through it.

Truth be told, I don’t know where I would be without Jesus right now. If I had turned to Adele-esque music earlier this year, I could very well be caught up in self-pity and consumed with my less-than-desirable circumstances. I could have chosen to become unforgiving of my enemies and allowed them to become lord over me. Instead, I ran with all my might toward the Cross and the grace, forgiveness and peace that result from Christ’s crucifixion. I proactively chose to fill my heart and ears with the music of Kari Jobe and Britt Nicole–that is, positive and encouraging music that thanks God for trials and for his faithfulness and goodness through them.

If you’re struggling today (actually, even if you’re not!), I encourage you to take a close look at the music you are listening to. Honestly, all music worships something or someone. Ask yourself what your music is worshipping (drugs, sex, alcohol, materialism, money, relationships…or God?) and how it’s affecting you. Ask God to show you ways you can honor and glorify him, even with your iTunes Library.

Whether you realize it or not, the music you listen to will affect you. I disagree that you can just “enjoy the beat” and ignore the words. What are you feeding your heart, mind and spirit? Does it sincerely please God? And does it help you grow as a follower of Christ, or does it hold you back?

Just some things to think about…

Jen

8 Responses to “Rolling in the deep or lifting HIM on high?”

  1. Naphtali April 26, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    Amen! I wish and pray more young people would realize this. Even some of the older ones too….

    • Jennifer Hope April 26, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

      I wish & pray the same! It’s a hard lesson to learn and accept for young people. Been there but God has opened my eyes & heart!

  2. Jennifer N. Buczynski April 26, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    lol, my husband hates Michael Buble…even though one of his songs was our wedding song! Once he heard the song “Mrs. Jones” he never wanted to listen to him again. Rick is pretty much disgusted…much to my chagrin because I love the music…but I can definitely see his point. Why listen to someone who is promoting adultery with his song??

    Also, I just wanted to note that I saw one of your November posts, and our church did the Beth Moore Bible study on James too! Wasn’t it terrific?! I loved it. I had never heard her before and I must admit I wasn’t really looking forward to it. But the first day I was watching her on the DVD with the Bible study group, I felt God’s presence, and heard Him tell me to push aside my previous assumptions. Boy am I glad I did!

    • Jennifer Hope April 26, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

      LOL your husband does have a good point about that song. I totally agree! I do appreciate, however, that about 99% of Michael Buble’s stuff is clean and non-adulterous…I just don’t download the 1% 🙂 (And hey, he didn’t write “Me & Mrs Jones” anyway…hehe)

      I am so glad you stuck through that first James session and that you loved the study!! We have 1 more session left, and I am so sad that it will be over! I also did her Esther study. That one was much longer, but it was so good, too! She is such a darling and she is definitely anointed!

      BTW, thanks for reading!

      Jen

      • Jennifer N. Buczynski April 26, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

        Beth Moore is definitely anointed!! Praise the Lord for teachers like her!! 🙂

  3. mymansrib April 26, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Excellent post!
    I’m so glad you are WITH JESUS and IN JESUS.
    It shows not only in your writing (which could count for speech); it shows in your life. “What good IS it if a [wo]man claims to have faith, but has no deeds?”
    Not good at all. But you are a gift of good that IS.
    And, I just love ya…

  4. ryanhargett April 27, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    Very good. A great book on music is Music in the Balance by Frank Garlock and Kurt Woetzel. We used it as the textbook for a music class in Bible institute.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Concerning bitterness | Jennifer's Hope - May 1, 2012

    […] think? In such a time when we’re tempted to speak bitterly (or sing bitterly, if you remember my post about Adele’s music), we must exercise that last one (self-control) in order to not cause others around us to […]

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