Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Soothing the Savage Beast

We have been doing some major over-hauling around here. No worries, I am not planning on moving or anything else drastic-I think I just finally realized that we have lived here for three years and I really don't love this house. So I have been trying to make it something that I am at least happy with most of the time. I have realized that I can't stand clutter and I have really developed my philosophy of keeping only things I truly love AND use. I realized that I was keeping a lot of things because I was worried that I would need it and not be able to replace it. Ummm, if I haven't used it or needed it in the past year, chances are good I won't even remember I ever had it!

Anyway, in all this crazy de-cluttering and sorting (please don't get the image that my house is a giant disaster-it isn't, I just realized we can live with a lot less than we have been) I ran across my CD collection. In my laundry room. Isn't that where you keep yours? Well, I realized I hadn't listened to any of them (there was only about 20) in about three years. My first inclination was to donate them, but then I realized that I had put them there because when we moved into this house, I did not have a CD player. I have one now, and have for a while, but since I had not been able to use them for so long it had kind of been "out of sight, out of mind." So, the CD collection was one of the few things that I gave a second chance. I moved them from the laundry room to the kitchen (because that is where the CD player is. Makes sense now, right?) and have been thoroughly enjoying reliving my teenage years.

I am so thankful that I have a Godly heritage, especially concerning music. I remember when I was in early elementary school that my dad made a decision to only listen to Christian music. We always listened to either the radio or Christian tapes in the car. I loved singing along to Sandi Patty, Larnelle Harris and Steve Green. My parents only allowed us to purchase/own Christian music. As I moved into middle school, I loved Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, 4Him and especially Steven Curtis Chapman. Then in high school I really started to develop my own musical taste. I liked Jars of Clay before they were really popular. I also loved DC Talk (only from Jesus Freak on!) but I really liked some of the lesser-knowns. I had CDs of groups most people have probably never heard of: The Normals, Seven Day Jesus, The Waiting, and PFR (who by then had already disbanded but I loved their final album). This is also when I was introduced to some of the bands that I still love today-Switchfoot (my brother introduced me to them), and the Newsboys (I can thank my sister for that!). I own 9 Newsboys CDs and can affirm that they are my favorite band. Ever. When everyone else was listening to the Spice Girls and Brittney Spears, I listened to the Small Town Poets. I will fiercely defend Christian music-but that isn't the point of this blog.

I really think that my parents' commitment to guarding our hearts, via our ears, was a huge part of forming my character. I am intensely attracted to anything musical- if I hear a song, even on a commercial, it sticks with me. I have always been drawn to experiencing God through music. But it has never been limited to hymns or worship music. I almost always cry when I hear Thousand Foot Krutch's "This Is A Call". I can really meet with God over some Relient K, too.

Anyway, most of the albums that I have been revisiting are from my high school years, specifically my junior year. That was a pretty important time in my spiritual walk. In "Experiencing God" it talks about memorial stones, and I think that whole time is one for me. God revealed a lot about Himself, His forgiveness, and His plan for me. The music that I listened to during that time really tied into that. So when I began listening to it all over again, it brought it all back for me. Remembering how the Lord led me through a tough time in my life (even if a lot of it was of my own making) and how tender He was in ministering to me. How He gave me new friends, and showed me how to walk with Him more closely. All of those feelings came flooding back when I put in those old CDs. This song from The Waiting was one of my favorites then and listening to it again recently was definitely a spiritual experience:

So Much of Me

At the foot of the ocean I'm hearing winds whisper and waves shout
The storm of the morning is clearing, the tide is running out
I'm feeling obviously small
A little of this sand is all I am
A bit of dust blown from Your hand

You made the wind, You made the sea
Why do you make so much of me?
You made the stars and every creature that breathes
Why do You make so much of me?

In the heart of the evening I'm counting the stars set in the sky
Getting lost at a hundred or fifty or so
I'm thinking I can only hide in some hole I carve in the earth
What am I worth?
I'm just a speck, a candle in Your universe


And here I stand
A bit of dust from Your big hand
What am I worth?
A candle in Your universe

(from the Waiting "Unfazed")

What a wonderful thought- so like Psalm 139- I am nothing, or I should be, but He sees my value, He gives me my value. Revisiting this particular memorial stone, for me, through music, reminds me of what He has been to me, and what He WILL be. Not what He can be, but a definite. He cannot change, so what He wrought for me in the past, He will surely do again. I have changed in the last 11 years (some of it thankfully!) but He is still the same. Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." This music definitely soothes my savage beast. When I am questioning and afraid, I am reminded that He hasn't failed me yet, and He never will.

That is the beauty of having some sort of spiritual marker. Just as the Israelites set up stones by the Jordan, we should have places that we revisit to remind of what God has done for us. Music has a powerful attachment for me- play a song for me that I love and I will be taken back to the place where I was when I first made the connection. I am glad that I did not part with these CDs. I have a few more I still haven't had a chance to listen to. I can't wait to see where they take me. I challenge you to set up some of your own memorial stones, whether they are music, a specific book, a verse or a photo. Keep the things that remind you of how God has guided you on His path, and bring them out when you feel there is a chance He might let you down. Then you will know He most certainly can't!


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