October 27, 2015 § Leave a comment
Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.
Testimony time! I’m finally back on campus and kind of getting back into the swing of things. After studying abroad and working for the summer, I lost a few habits from my typical academic routine; it was rather jarring to have a full schedule again. But I love having things to do, as having idle time is a pet peeve of mine (note: idle time does not equal relaxation time).
Anyway, while I was in Texas, I made many awesome friends from Austin Central SDA (you know who you are!) and really maintained an awesome spiritual life and more or less started a prayer life. All this spiritual growth took me by surprise while I was there and I didn’t want to lose it once I got back to Massachusetts. Since I was essentially living alone for my internship (yay, corporate housing!), I had a lot of time to myself after work that was typically spent browsing Pinterest, cooking, or designing, all with music in the background. I’m a big classical/instrumental music buff so I would generally be bopping my head to a Chopin Nocturne or almost any concerto. I would also listen to gospel, but mostly just on Sabbaths. During the week, my Spotify queue was filled with R&B classics and pop songs. Some of them would be uplifting and encouraging, definitely something to bring up my spirits after a particularly hard day. But others I’ll admit weren’t exactly uplifting nor was the subject matter the most encouraging. If anything, I subscribed more to the beat than the lyrics, but because I listened to the music over and over again, eventually the lyrics got stuck in my head as well. And when those lyrics and ideas got stuck in my head, my thoughts wandered and I felt my connection with God dwindle a bit.
Something clicked in me and I realized I needed to change something. As the text in the beginning of this post says, we need to guard our heart since everything that we do comes from it. And this might as well also say to guard our minds instead, for when it comes to things that affect us, mind and heart work together.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
If we meditate and keep our hearts/minds guarded from sinful things, we can maintain that connection with God. For me anyway, it’s hard to pray when you have R&B lyrics swimming around in your head and all you can think about is the next time that you can listen to it again.
So I decided to change something. I’ve actually had this inclination many times before, but I was not as serious as I should have been about it. I was always worried about how much I’d miss this song or that song or about how removing such an integral part of my life would be super difficult. But this time, trusting in the strength of the Holy Spirit and really giving my weakness to God, I quit cold turkey. I first started with one week of not listening to secular music. At all. I only played classical/instrumental and gospel (and discovered some new music along the way!). The following Sunday I allowed myself a “binge” on secular music, but even that binge was much less than what I’d done in the past. I found myself picking and choosing what I listened to, and noticed that I became uncomfortable when listening to certain songs. In addition to the discomfort, the desire to listen to secular music dwindled quite a bit. And that steady dwindling kept on for the next week, and the one after that, and so on.
Now, I don’t think I’ve listened to secular/pop songs for a good few months now. I certainly do feel more of a desire to grow closer to God without certain lyrics swimming in my head. Granted I may need to trim my current classical/instrumental and gospel music libraries now, but I’m thankful to God that He gave me the strength to take the first step and actually follow through. Music and media in general can be a great influence (for good or bad) in our lives, whether we realize it or not. As a young woman intent on growing her spiritual life, I want to keep cutting out things that God convicts me to cut out. Sure it might be difficult and we may think that we can’t, but with His strength, we can do all things.