For the 40 days of Lent this year, my heart was moved to give up listening to music other than Christian. Now, I recognize for some people, this wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice. Maybe you already only listen to Christian music. Or perhaps music isn’t that much of a constant in your life. I get it. But for me, letting go of the nearly limitless music options I’ve accumulated is a big deal.
Because I love 80’s pop, classic country, and current hits. I love hair bands, boy bands, and girls who play rock & roll. I have extensive collections of Billy Joel, Celine Dion, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn. I even listen to all genres of Christmas music whenever the mood strikes me, and it does not matter to me one bit if it happens to be the middle of summer. I have Pandora stations, Spotify stations, iHeart stations, and SiriusXM stations. I listen to music in my van, in my earbuds, through my computer, and from the radio in my kitchen. Music is my constant companion all day every day.
Maybe it’s because I moved around so much when I was younger that I have attached myself to music so. Music was able to go with me and stay with me. When everything in my world had been uprooted again, I could find a new radio station and hear the same tunes. I could set up my record player and play the same LPs. I could take my boom box with me and listen to the same cassette tapes. Music was distracting and comforting. It brought me peace.
A good friend of mine recently said what we fast should be something we use as “a comfort and a distraction.” When she said that, I immediately understood what she meant. That’s what music is for me. It distracts me from my thoughts that sometimes wear me out. It brings comfort in times when I long for something safe and familiar.
Today as the realization began to sink in of how the coming weeks of social restriction are going to impact my family and me, I craved familiar songs. I connected with the little girl inside me who stood in places of unusual surroundings, not knowing what to do or who to trust. I longed for the familiar sounds of my favorites like “Stuck On You” by Lionel Richie or “Someday Soon” by Suzy Bogguss to reassure me it will all be over soon.
But I gave that up for Lent. That comfort and distraction. And so instead, I found myself running to the only thing that will ever really comfort me. The One I’ve run to many, many times before. The arms I always eventually end up in, even if sometimes I try something else first. I sought and quickly found the voice of Jesus, who offers His peace in abundance. And He, in His infinite grace, did indeed remind me that He was still mine, and I was still His, and everything is going to be okay.
Man, I miss my music right now. But I’m so grateful that missing it points me to an even more effective comfort – the love of Jesus Christ.
This post is chapter 1/6 of Spiritual Habits.