You don’t have to listen to music about God to be a Christian, and four years ago I was certainly a believer in Christ. I was also a new mother, one who loved to jam to her tunes in the car. In fact, that had always been one of my favorite things. Motherhood didn’t change my love for good music anymore than the rededication of my life to Jesus that prior year had.
As a teenager and young woman in my twenties I had always had a connection with music. I could feel it! I memorized lyrics, sang along, and the words, they moved me. It was no wonder I married the young boy who used to serenade me sweetly as he strummed his Fender, and my story of my music changing started about four years ago as I drove along the road, the radio up, with my guitar player’s children in the backseat.
About this time my firstborn child was only six months old, and my step-daughter was seven. My radio dial rested on a popular pop station that played the latest top hits in secular music, and we all listened along as a reigning Diva dealt us her powerful lyrics. It was a catchy beat indeed, but I happened to be one of those people that also listened to the words, and I think my face lost most of its color as I heard the scenario she laid out. It blatantly described oral sex, and though my baby was clueless, I glanced back in the rear view to see if the seven year old had caught on.
She gazed out the window contemplatively, and even as I told myself she had missed the sexual innuendo, I knew she wouldn’t keep letting them slip by. My husband and I talked about the incident, and we made a decision to keep the radio on a Christian station while the children were in the car. For their sake.
I wasn’t the only one with a wide musical affection. My husband held the same interests, and we had grown up in a time of three inch wide CD folders rather than MP3s, so even with our church background I think it took some time for us to get used to the change of the radio knob.
I’m not sure how much time passed before I noticed a difference, and I don’t suppose it happened overnight, but it happened nonetheless. I found several changes occurring in my life, my marriage, and my attitude, and although a lot of that had to do with my evolving relationship with Jesus, I started to think maybe the music played a part too.
One day I found myself alone in the car, and a fundraiser was consuming the Christian channel I listened to. I switched over to a CD that still resided in the player, and the 90s grunge filled my vehicle. I’ve always felt music to be extremely powerful. It can convey such strong emotion, and it can affect you on a level that spoken word cannot. Just like how reading a book takes you inside the story unlike a movie can do, music also takes you to emotional venues you might not carry yourself in your own thought processes. And as I listened to the words and lyrics of one of my favorite CDs I caught the sadness dripping from his words. I wasn’t sure if my discernment had changed, or if I had changed, but the music made me feel very low in my spirit. I realized I would rather listen to phones ringing with callers offering donations than allow the mood of that music from my youth to altar the joy I felt in my heart.
So I haven’t listened to secular music since. It’s not that I think there’s something wrong with you if you do, it’s just not something I choose to do anymore. The thing was that listening to Christian music had changed me, and I really liked that change. I didn’t want anything else.
I liked that music about Jesus filled me with a deep peace, and though some songs caused me to grieve or become convicted, they never negatively affected my spirit. The music didn’t make me feel sad, empty, angry, or lost. In fact Christian music seemed to strengthen my relationship with God, and I realized that the action of worship only drew me closer to Him. It took me to new levels in my understanding of who He was, and though the music hadn’t taken me there on its own, it certainly had been a beautiful Segway to joy.
My mood elevated, and I felt a calm clarity after absorbing truth on a musical level. I also noticed changes in my family. My husband had decided he wanted Christian music only in his head from then on, and he truly felt that his prior taste in music had changed his mood and perceptions for the worst. My girls started singing the words out loud, and their musical voices praising Jesus made my mommy heart smile.
My daughter, now four, has begun to really listen to the lyrics also, and I’m pleased she hears about real love, not sexual affections. She’s started asking questions based on what she hears in the music, and it opens wonderful doors of discussion I might not have initiated on my own. She’s only a young child, but she’s understanding what the writers are trying to convey, and I can see her developing her own beautiful relationship with the Lord. As a parent, that is my greatest reward. To know I am filling her with positive, encouraging thoughts, and not impressing upon her that shaking her rump or getting drunk is the answer to happiness in life.
Again, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with deciding to listen to secular music in your life, and although I do believe some lyrics encourage violence, promiscuity, and a deep sense of loneliness, I don’t think music is the only thing that affects us in life. I just believe it to be a piece of the puzzle, and I wanted to share that since I have changed the type of music I listen to at all times that I’ve seen a huge shift in my life. I’ve seen God use His music to bring me to a better place, and though prayer, His word, and altering other aspects of my life has worked it all together for good, this piece of the puzzle is something that was easily changed. It just took a turn of the radio dial to do the trick, and He did the rest.
God inhabits the praises of his people.
Psalms 22:3 (paraphrased)