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Focus: Desire for acceptance
Psalm 32:7 (NKJV) You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.
Often, when people consider the wonders of the world, they think of things with material substance–like Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon—things that weren’t made by man. The greatest ‘wonder’ I know of besides God and the Bible, is ‘music’…which originated with God.
I have loved music all my life. My earliest exposure to music was through church and what I heard on the radio and from records played on our family’s first ‘hi-fi’ entertainment center—which was a prized possession in our home. It was small by today’s standards—but state of the art at the time. We had a ‘record club’ membership—which meant every month a new album of music came in the mail. The music played around our house was a mixture of classical, Christian, country, and top 40s pop.
My parents loved music. I recall when I was a young child—my mother called the radio station to request the song, “Side by Side” for my dad. It was their anniversary and she wanted the station to play it during dad’s break time at work—as a special surprise. When I was still a preschooler, my dad bought my mom a piano. I remember the thrill of sitting on the bench and being ‘lost’ in the environment of a real acoustic instrument. I enjoyed ‘making up songs’ and listening to the blended harmonics as I pressed different keys at the same time. I liked to experience the effect of the sustain pedal by playing notes one at a time—hearing the dynamic of the ‘attack’ through the ‘decay’. Everything about the piano was so fascinating—feeling the pitch of high notes, low notes—and everything in between.
I loved hearing my mom play the piano when my sisters and I were taking naps or after we had gone to bed for the night. The songs we sang in church were what she normally played at home. Hearing her play the songs of faith gave me an early appreciation for music. The tunes were recognizable to me and gave me a lot of comfort and assurance.
We attended a church that had thick, old hymn books with green hard covers. During church services, I was usually listening—but most of the time I was also paging through a hymn book—checking to see how many of the words I knew to the songs. I loved memorizing anything. I gave myself a personal challenge to learn as many hymns as I could–and be able to sing all of the verses to the songs without looking at the book during congregational singing. Sometimes at home, during naps or at night in bed, I ‘practiced’ by singing to my sisters. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without music.
When I was around ten years old, we got a new ‘stereo entertainment center’. It had an AM/FM radio, a record player, and a large TV. The whole thing was probably five or six feel wide—which was gigantic during those days. It had fantastic internal speakers that wrapped around the ends of the unit. The sound was amazing. I loved sitting on the floor with my ear pressed against a speaker picking out the various instruments from some of our classical albums. It was fun to ‘crank it up’ and feel like I was in the middle of an orchestra.
As a teenager, popular music—and ‘acceptance’ were the most important things in my life. It was ‘cool’ to know all the words to hit songs. I liked trying to learn them before anyone else. I listened to music as much as possible. Popular music carried a lot of themes I hadn’t learned about in church—hidden messages that made me curious. I couldn’t help being influenced. The effects weren’t dramatic, but over years of heavy exposure—I began to compromise my morals. More than a little insecure—music gave me confidence to take bold steps. I wanted to know about—and do all of the things I heard in the songs. So I did. During those years, I felt a lot of resentment if anyone said negative things about popular music. It was none of their business what I listened to, as far as I was concerned. Music was a personal thing—like your favorite color. I had no idea how much power it carried in my life or how addicted I was. Looking back—it’s still painful to see how deeply the messages affected my mind—and how much spiritual failure ‘came in’ along with the music.
God never meant for music to do those things to us. From the beginning—music was ‘His’. It was intended to bring Him glory and make us better—not worse. It was meant to take us closer to God—not further away. I’m saying all of this because I know that anyone who battles with depression and dependency like I have—probably might need to think about the music they listen to. Does your favorite music ‘preserve you from trouble’ and ‘surround you with true deliverance’? You might think it does. I thought mine did. My music was where ‘I hid’. I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time, but popular music was on the throne of my heart. In times of trouble—I didn’t run to God for shelter. I turned on my music.
After years of wandering away from God—just a little at a time—He used the right kind of music to bring me back. He showed me He was my one true hiding place. Surrounding me with songs of deliverance—He set me free from dependency with a power that continues to preserve me from trouble, day by day.
Declaration: I will find new strength by carefully choosing the music I listen to. I will not allow messages that don’t agree with the Word of God to dominate my mind and take me in a direction away from Him. I will hide in God alone.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.