Lately I've been listening to various playlists on YouTube, mostly mixes of Bethel or Hillsong, and often I find myself lost in the beauty and truth of the words they sing. (In fact sometimes I have to turn the music off if I'm actually trying to get something done, because I become so distracted.)
One of my favorite things to do used to be to doodle with headphones on. This was about 10-15 years ago, so my music choices were anything but popular Christian music (unless it was Amy Grant; I was always partial to Amy). In high school I would shut myself in my room, put a CD on in my 5-disc changer (I was soooooo super cool), and after I'd read the lyric book front to back, or at least paged through it if I'd already studied it, I'd doodle in my notebook, just picking out lyrics that "spoke" to me as I listened (as much as The Wallflowers, Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, and Nirvana could speak to me, anyway, which was apparently a lot back then). Eventually I graduated to Stone Temple Pilots and The Vines, which I'd listen to in college on the discman I had, that skipped every other verse or so (does anyone anymore even know what it means to have a CD skip?). STP and The Vines produced some very artsy doodles from me, but after my stint college, I either lost interest in this little hobby, or it just became something that I didn't rely on anymore as a creative outlet. It's a shame really, that when I lost interest in the lyric-doodles, I started listening to some really good music, as in the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, U2, and eventually, after fighting it for a long time (they were too mainstream and current), Coldplay.
I wonder what sort of doodles U2 and Coldplay would have gotten out of me then. I should try sometime. Because especially with U2, I sometimes find myself worshipping more wholly and abandonedly when I listen to them than I do when listening to "worship bands".
Anyway I've started this whole lyric-doodle pastime up again, and it's just as fun as it was before, only this time I get to worship through it, because my taste in music has changed so much. I still really like all of the bands I mentioned before (or even love -- U2 is my favorite band), even if I only like some of them now for nostalgic reasons, but I've become so immersed in the present worship culture that I almost -- almost -- can't listen to anything else, because "music" in and of itself, with all of its qualities, and the feelings it evokes, is not even what "music" is about to me, anymore. It's about glorifying our God.
Don't get me wrong. I appreciate music, even when it's not intended for worship. I love music (anyone who says they don't love music is... they must be lying). Music -- of many genres -- stirs up many emotions, and if it weren't for music, my life would not be what it is today. That sounds cliché but it's the truth. I met my husband because of music; I was reborn because of music. I'm just saying that I have a harder time now listening to the really popular, mainstream artists.
Because everyone's talents are gifts from God, and it's sad to see what the world turns these gifts into, sometimes. Our gifts are meant to glorify Him and to bring Him praise. Success isn't a sin, but using your gifts to glorify yourself above God is.
Anyway. There is no point, here. (The word we're looking for is "overshare".)
Like I said, I've taken the hobby up again, albeit lightly, and it usually results in a mix of notes from my She Reads Truth study, and lyrics that spoke to me as I would pause to meditate on what I'd read.
I'll close with a few of my favorite quotes and thoughts from tonight's studies:
The first is from my study Bible, in reference to Matthew 7:21:
[We] obey, not because [we] want to earn God's favor, but because [we] feel delighted about already having received it.
Then from She Reads Truth, Day 17 of the Sermon On The Mount:
We know the Spirit of God bears the fruit in our lives if we are followers of Christ. We are known to belong to our Lord by the fruits that we bear. Do our lives show a pattern of love, joy or kindness? Are your days marked by peace, patience, and gentleness? Is my life heavy with self-control, faithfulness, and goodness?
And more from She Reads Truth, from Day 18 of the Sermon On The Mount:
I have only one ultimate purpose -- to know God.
And finally, this, because it goes along with my recent theme and mantra and life-goal, to pray before starting everything. Also from Day 18:
In everything you do, start with Christ.
Oh dear, now it's 2:30am and bugs are flying in through the window because of the lights on in the apartment. Goodnight.