What would happen in our life if we not only experienced the words of song, but the activation of song? The following lessons come from a place of struggle and being humbled taking my understanding and approach to worship, in terms of song and music, to a deeper level and unlocking the 4 Ps: Pathway, Position, Posture, and Power.
I’ve gone through the motions.
Did the good deed.
Enjoyed and participated as long as I was happy.
Left it to last resort.
Acknowledged words while fighting change.
Connected and expressed yet prioritized self.
When I discovered I struggled with anxiety, accompanied by offshoots of control, worry, and fear, it humbled me. I couldn’t help but acknowledge what was working and not working. It exposed the many areas of life where it can show up. It opened me to the offer and gift that was on the table.
Being in such a sensitive spot, I knew I needed to eliminate things that were not helping my heart, mind, and ultimately my faith and instead flood it even more with things that would. Little did I know that would serve as one critical link for processing the anxiety, but also completely revamp my understanding and approach to song and worship. To top things off, my relationship with God that began when I was ten got even closer.
One of the choices I made was with music, selectively choosing to listen only to uplifting Christian music. I didn’t really set a time-frame, rather left it as an open-ended season, wanting to be receptive to what would happen and in the timing it needed to unfold. While I love a variety of music, not all of it is beneficial, nor does it have the impact our life and faith needs over the long haul. There’s stuff all around us that is plenty fun and good, neutral or destructive. My spirit needed more than Netflix and chocolate, but special and divine handling. I also realized I couldn’t really explore or grasp the magnitude of worship when it was getting second best or was my backup plan.
During this process I had moments where I was engaged and felt confident singing along. Other times I was quiet and upset just listening along. Times I felt movement and progress; other times indifference and stagnation. Through it all, though, this continues to hold true: What I need doesn’t depend on how I feel; what is reaching and remodeling isn’t always readily perceived or seen; consistency and showing up for God is a process producing a harvest overtime verses only isolated to one moment.
I’d love to say I don’t struggle with anxiety anymore, but I can say I know how to better deal with and respond to it keeping it in check. Through song and worship, I can say I experienced a fresh stream in a dry desert. It fostered courage to do the hard things and find the good in them. It gave peace at the end of the day. It allowed me to better hear and receive from God, cutting through the noise that was vying for my attention. It healed areas of my life and built up strength and trust for the future. It released me from relying heavily on myself. It challenged my belief and worked through doubt testing my reliance on his promises even if I couldn’t see the whole picture. It enabled me to better comfort those with the comfort I receive from God. I stumbled upon more really great musicians, too. Songs sung long ago are sung differently now.
Our struggles in our human frame allow us to depend on God rather than become self-sufficient without him: “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Who knew music, worship, and a song could offer so much?!? Let’s get to those 4 Ps to see all that can be unlocked.
When we sing, we gain access to the gates of heaven while still planted on earth: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4). We invite the covering of God’s provision and a heavenly atmosphere into our current environment and situation.
As I’ve made worthwhile choices or removed things in favor of physical health, why would I not do the same for my spiritual health which literally affects everything else? Worship builds our spiritual core: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). When we’re overwhelmed, we have the Holy Spirit at our finger tips. Whether we’re in a hotel room, car, or our home we can completely change the atmosphere with music. I notice a complete shift in my environment, mindset, and mood through this glimpse of heaven’s goodness despite dealing with earth’s challenges.
Worship gives access to heaven while still planted on earth.
When we sing our perspective gets changed, His promises are remembered, and our world view is enlarged. It opens our heart and mind beyond our narrowed opinions and desires. Our heart and mind become tempered. With all that can fluctuate and disappoint us on this earth, song exposes us to what will never change and what can be trusted: God and his love for us. Through worship, it redirects our thinking to all that He has done and is doing for us. When I think of all the ways I choose to connect with a human love, why would I not prioritize connecting with the most significant, divine love that will ultimately spill over into that human love? Through worship, we have the opportunity to proclaim and believe in His sovereignty over our situations, releasing us from strongholds and what is not in our control. It realigns our position to surrender: Not forcing or fixated on our way and best, rather an acceptance of His best and the greater scope of a situation. Power and strength is deposited when we don’t wait until we feel thankful and happy to still sing and be grateful. The return is unfathomable joy. God shows up and is ready to respond and show himself to us.
There’s nothing like worship to wash away worry.
It cultivates connection with God of the universe. How incredible is that? Our circumstances may not change, but our attitude and approach to them does. This ultimately effects how we navigate life switching gears to a tenderness before God versus a stubbornness in self. It provides an immediate offense position addressing and responding to things with promises and truth, defending off lies and attacks. A humbled, renewed, inspired, and restored self is born. Our posture is everything. It releases us from our stressors and efforts allowing God to do what He does best.
I can’t say, “My life is horrible and my situation won’t get any better” and “God is for me, not against me. He can be trusted, created me, knows me best, and my future is in His hands” out of the same breath. I have to choose. We can’t be thankful and complain at the same time. It’s not always easy to do this, but unexpected growth and hope come through this process and posture. For example, it opened my eyes to how I linger in my prayers, woes, and requests, but blow through blessings right in my midst. I didn’t even realize I had an issue in that area, but God revealed that through connecting with him. So, I’ve been trying to stop and thank God right away as things come up like my recent doctor appointment results, being given another good year of health. Also, the honesty from the men at a car shop and the minimal work that had to be done on my car.
Worship is one of the best offense positions.
We can win battles with just a song. There’s a lot of power at our disposal. We’re not just singing and listening to music, but ushering in and ushering things out in the process. We and our environment transform. No better way to get out of our own head and hear God than to connect in song. Strongholds are broken. Softening and change starts to happen. I can’t say how many times I was angry at someone, but after listening to a song felt compassion as I was reminded of God’s love and mercy for me. Or being stressed, but still be able to smile in the rain. Or ready to unleash built-up tension, yet restraint and self-control set in all of which I couldn’t have produced on my own.
There’s an enemy at war against our soul. But those efforts can be thwarted by being armed with the power of song. Realizing our war is on a different level and realm, we need to engage on a different level and realm. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Worship and song drives out darkness with light. Accusations and lies are replaced with truth and promises. It gives us wisdom to course life: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask of God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
When we are empty of strength, fuel up with song.
I know I’ve just tipped this iceberg, with much to come in this life-long journey, but I’m thankful for this significant gain about song and worship. While difficult to acknowledge and uncomfortable to process at the time, good can come from our struggles, for what may be working against us can begin work for, in, and through us.
I’d love to know what you’ve discovered about worship and song and how it’s unlocking new things for you!