How do you utilize the power of music and song in your life? Did you know that worship is a powerful force? Did you know that music and song can radically shift the direction of your life?
Somewhere along my wandering journey, I realized that worship is my go-to. It’s my default setting.
I don’t know exactly when I discovered this—it was somewhere in the middle of PTSD, healing, parenting, and running around in my multi-scheduled life. But ever since I realized I was wired this way, I’ve been able to leverage this particular part of my design to plug into God, and into life, in a new way.
I’ve begun to live through song.
Ever since childhood I have loved music, singing, instruments, rhythm—anything with a beat. Song has romanced me my entire life, called out to me, and drawn me into its melody, its harmony, and its beauty. Music has lured me with its form, its predictability, and its surprises.
I sing out loud in my car, the shower, during worship times at church. I sing quietly inside my heart when I’m bustling around. Apparently I even sing in my sleep, because I’ve woken up singing on multiple occasions. Music is always resonating within me even if I’m not using my mouth to voice it. I hum a lot too.
At the beginning of my discovery about music’s power in my life, I realized how often I’d be transported out of a place of despair to a hopeful landing pad of peace—just from hearing a brief song or rift of music. It didn’t take much. It was like a light switch. My heart quickly embraced lightness. The beauty of song, of music, quieted me. It soothed my wearied soul. My spirit was strengthened.
Music and song are incredible tools that we can leverage to help our souls. They’ve been a faithful friend to me on my own soul journey. They can help us access our hearts and our emotions: the voice of the heart, especially when we are stuck in the endless loop of our intellects. Music and song engage the right side of our brains. They engage our creativity. They help us process emotions.
Music and song are not only beauty incarnate, but they can also be our soul’s 911-rescue call if we choose to let them help us; if we choose to plug into the beauty and solace that they offer. All of our souls need the respite of music and song, especially in these anxiety-filled and uncertain times.
Music and song can also be extraordinary tools for our spirit. Worship: using the expression of music and song to engage with God from our spirit man, is actually spiritual warfare. It is my favorite way to war against the daily spiritual harassment of fear, despair, hopelessness, anxiety, and depression that rise up against me.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace…” (Hymn by Helen H Lemmel)
Yep. Those words beat true. I could spend hours worshipping. It never gets old for me.
When I engage in worship and put my focus, praise, declarations, and song on my Creator, those sticky fingers of fear and anxiety and despair lose their grip. PTSD takes a backseat. As I come into God’s presence and choose to focus just on Him, I am washed by His Living Word, and all the sticky, spiritual cling-on’s that are rooted in fear just slip away. I feel free. My spiritual equilibrium is restored. I am recalibrated and back on point.
Sometimes a song will literally rise up from the depths of my spirit and catch me unaware during my day. I will find myself suddenly singing a snippet of a song, a chorus, or a verse that I haven’t heard for years. My soul is usually pretty clueless about what’s going on when I do these spontaneous song-ings. But I’ve learned to flow with them, like the leaf that follows the breeze. I’ve learned to seize these moments in song, when my spirit knows something that my soul does not.
I had one of these spontaneous song-ings experience this past Wednesday, the day when the shootings took place in San Bernadino, California, at the IRC. Fourteen people were killed. It was a horrible, tragic, and shocking event.
I had actually been out of the news and social media loop that day. I was immersed in my book, studying at a local coffee shop, when I suddenly felt prompted to check an online message board. As soon as I did, I discovered the news about the shooting. It had just happened.
Immediately, a song welled up within my spirit. It was a children’s song by Steve Green—a song I hadn’t played in years since my children were little. The song is called “When I Am Afraid”. It is taken from Psalm 56:3-4 and the lyrics are potent yet simple:
“When I am afraid, I will trust in you, I will trust in you, I will trust in you. When I am afraid, I will trust in you, in God whose word I praise…”
So I started singing this song quietly as I packed up all my study gear and headed to my car. I knew I needed to get alone to pray and that I also needed to sing this song. So I prayed. And then I sang this song over and over and over again. At the time I didn’t know why I needed to sing this song. I wasn’t actually feeling afraid. Shocked? Yes. Grieved? Yes. Concerned about the people in the building? For sure.
But I knew intuitively that by me singing this song, by me following the spontaneous song-ing of my spirit, that I was accomplishing something in the spirit realm. I still don’t completely understand it. I can’t wrap my mind around what it all means. But I do know this: the spirit realm is SO much wider and deeper than we can understand. And things are connected in ways that the natural world doesn’t see and can’t understand.
And in that moment of song-ing, of singing my spirit’s song, I actually felt like I was singing for the people in that building. That I was warring in the spirit to counteract the spirit of fear that rested heavy over all the people involved. I was singing for the victims; I was singing for the bystanders; I was singing for the people locked up in rooms, terrified and afraid; I was singing for the policemen and other rescue workers; I was singing for the family members and friends who were waiting to hear from loved ones; I was even singing for the perpetrators. I was singing to release a spirit of peace into the hearts of the people. I was singing because perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18), and everyone involved in that tragedy needed God’s perfect love to fill them in those fearful moments.
During my song, I felt like a little bird positioned on a wall as devastation loomed all around. Yet I had to sing. I had to release the song. I had to do my part to shift the spiritual atmosphere.
God created music, song, and worship to be powerful forces for good.
So how do you plan to utilize the power of music and song in your life?
As a tool to access your emotions and heal your soul?
As an alternative to numbing out through food or busyness?
As a way to recharge your spiritual batteries?
As a way to engage in spiritual warfare and shift the atmosphere around you?
As a way to plug into God’s heart?
I bless you in whatever new ventures you put your heart to as you explore all the new possibilities and power within music and song. May you find new treasures and experience everything that the Father has for you.
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).
“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music” (Psalm 57:7).
“Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:11).
“Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
extol him who rides on the clouds;
rejoice before him — his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling” (Psalm 68:4-5).