Monthly Archives: May 2014

Emotions from Music

Have you ever asked yourself why you felt depressing emotions over the course of a week or a month? Perhaps you felt sad for a year. Maybe you tried to change a million things, throwing yourself into a hobby or constantly surrounding yourself with people. Maybe you did these things so that you wouldn’t have to feel anything. Everything that was bad could just be completely forgotten, replaced by something “better.” But after awhile, the effects just wear off. Why is this? you wonder. Nothing seems to change for the better.

Then, you go to your car and turn on the radio. What’s playing? Maybe it’s rap with a ton of profanity, an angry tone with slurred words. Maybe it’s heavy metal with lyrics that you barely understand. How does it make you feel? Does it make you more angry? Maybe you like it because it’s relatable at that moment. So you just let it play, trying to enjoy this “distraction.” But what is it ultimately doing?

I’ve gone through long periods of listening to depressing music while doing enjoyable activities, like running and writing. So I understand why we would listen to music that may not send the most inspirational messages. Sometimes, breakup songs are nice. They remind us that we’re “not alone.” But the more those lyrics pile up in our minds, the more we learn to hate love, to hate the opposite sex, to hate the SUBJECTS that God wants us to love.

There are things in this world that are hateful, like lies, gossip, adultery, murder. But if we just listen to words condemning the people who do these things, we’re distracted from God and His messages. We’re distracted from the ability to love and to forgive. We’re distracted from the message that life DOES get better and that we are blessed. So even while we do the things that we enjoy, we’re still building up hate. Consuming our minds with awful messages while doing what we love is like bulking up our muscles instead of toning them. Instead of getting rid of what we don’t want, we’re adding the good onto the bad, using that as a way to justify what we are doing. But nothing’s really changing for the better.

I’m not saying that this will automatically make me stop listening to artists who are relatable and/or enjoyable, like Lana Del Rey. But it does make me want to listen to more uplifting music. There might not be a noticeable change right away, but at least I won’t be bulking up my mind with as much negativity.

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Fears and Blessings

What do you do when you feel hopeless in your ways? Do you turn away from faith in God, or do you seek faith in other things? A better question is: would it be possible (and right) to have faith in God through other things?

Through life’s trials and fears of not getting worldly desires, I found that it is possible (and even good) to find faith through God’s provisions.

Recently, I started a new medication for dizziness. I was so scared of the side-effects, especially possible weight gain. Plus, I felt awful that I had to rely on medication instead of God. In the initial stages, I felt tired all of the time. I wanted to quit using it just because I thought it would do bad things to me.

When I think about all of the crying now, I realize…I’ve cried for the same reason when my faith didn’t “seem” to be working. But really, my faith WAS working. It reminded me of the Psalms and how David’s faith was working when he cried out to God for justice. Like David, I wasn’t crying to myself, but to God with my soul-grounded belief that He was up there.

Still, there were times when I wondered…even if I was crying out to God, was my faith really with Him when I “thought” he was out to get me? Yeah, the Bible says that all things come together for the good. But in the process, not all things are good. Did God want bad things for me?

In the middle of my confusion and questions of faith, I seemed to be gaining faith in God through my friends instead of God alone. At first, it seemed a bit strange that I would have more faith in friends than in God. Before I started the medication, I felt so close to Him, so trusting. My whole goal was to get closer to Him, and it was working. That was why I spent more time alone with Him than anyone else. He was my medication.

But the truth is, if I didn’t have friends who believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, I wouldn’t have thought that their words could also be my medication. Because I have friends who seek after God, I am constantly being pushed closer to Him without even realizing it. Even when my mind is stuck on the wrong things (things that I question God really cares about), I know deep in my heart that He cares about my faith in Him and love for His followers.

Like David, I may cry out to God in anger and fear, but ultimately, He provides answers through blessings in my suffering. In this case, I’m talking about suffering that can be detrimental for my emotional well-being, which could affect my spiritual well-being.

Right now, God is testing my well-being in every aspect of life by giving me good and bad emotions. He is testing me by giving me blessings and fears. But with God in my blood, all good overrides evil. All blessings override fear.

Why Church Searching Can be a Good Idea

A lot of Christians will tell you that it’s not good to switch churches. They might say that it’s best to stick with one church to form a solid community. But what if you are not doing well with your faith at your home church?

When it seems as though a community of believers cannot reach out to you in your time of spiritual drought, it might be in your best interest to look for a new church. Maybe it has nothing to do with them, but it has to do with your own personal and spiritual needs. As long as you’re focused on growing with other Christians to serve God, it is a good idea to ask other Christians about their churches or look into different churches online. See what they have to offer as well as what you can offer them. While you’re attending different kinds of services, figure out what is helping you and why you would pick one over another. Before you commit to a church, pray about it. Make sure that you will be at peace in the long run. Also, make sure that you are doing it not out of your own selfish desires, but out of God’s will. Make sure that the church has the resources for you to do God’s will and help others do the same.

I will emphasize on looking for a church for the sake of spiritual well-being, not happiness. While happiness is great, it usually involves fulfilling selfish desires (i.e. finding a significant other, getting job connections, etc.). While those things might seem great right now, will they really help you stay focused on God in the future?

Everyone changes, and needs change. You might get hurt, and you might need people who value God’s work in other people to get you the help that you need. By finding a church with people who really understand your need for help from others, you could find peace and grow with faith. Also, you might find a sudden spiritual high and express it more freely than one church seems to accept. By finding a church that has people who are accepting and supportive of your preferred worship style, it will probably be your best fit, as both you and the community will be able to adapt to (and even grow from) each other.

When you were young, your family might have gone to one church. Maybe you didn’t have a choice. Maybe when you grew up, you found yourself striving to learn more about God. Maybe you found a church that helped you accomplish that goal more than the church that your family attended. Maybe you grew up facing anxiety that not many people in your old community have faced, and that led you to question God’s greatness. Perhaps a different church would help, one with people more like you and better able to help you on your walk with God.

There can be so many reasons church searching can be good for you. At first, you might not find peace with this idea. You might feel guilty. You might feel like you are walking away from commitment, people who have known you a long time. You might feel like leaving one church to join another means that you’re seeking a “better” church, making your original church seem “not-so-good.” The truth is, no church is better than another when they all serve the purpose of worshiping God. However, there is a better church for individuals with different needs.