I’ll be real when I tell you my iPod is not filled exclusively with the Dove-award winning, seraphim-approved crooning of Chris Tomlin and David Crowder. Though I enjoy a nice worship tune, 80% of my iPod use is on the treadmill so unless those seraphim are actually giving my butt a lift to the finish line, I will not sing with you “How Great Is Our God” and expect that track to push me another mile on an incline.
With my iPod on random, I was hoofing it at the gym last week and since I was there more to burn off pent up frustration than for my overall health, I kept skipping songs looking for anything that would give me the extra edge to really get after it.
“Who wants to be right as rain? It’s better when something is wrong” …umm, Adele, I beg to differ. Forget You. “If I die young bury me…” No. Death. Ick. Skip. John Mayer, nothing you have to say is motivational. Stage that Heartbreak Warfare on your own time. Ray, you can keep your Trouble. Billie Holiday! You little minx! Audaciously showing up with “I Can’t Get Started” on my iPod. Why do you think I’m on this treadmill in the first place? I can’t win.
Oh. But wait. Waaaaaiiiit.
What it is.
“All I do is win, win, win no matter what…” Immediately, my hands went up – and they stayed there. “When you’re high, when you’re low I promise I’ll never let you. I got yo’ back.” Aww, T.I I got yours man (especially if that puts me in a Panamera)! And, Flor-i-da? Even with that ridiculous name, you’re right – the club can’t handle me! I took it old school, Sitting on Top of the World with Brandy – get it girl. Toasting with Rihanna – we won’t let those “jerks” get us down. Luuuudaaa…my-my-my chick bad. Thanks for noticing, buddy!
I skipped over song after song written by “artsy” folks so wrapped up in their inner-turmoil all they have to sing about is their heartbreak, their needs, their unmet expectations, their loneliness, their fear, their uncertainty. Most of these folks have little want for anything yet they sing about total defeat and disappointment in life. Little energy has to be spent on keeping a roof over their head, staying safe or finding a warm meal, leaving ample time to explore the artistic expression of … self-obsession?
And then I get to songs about victory. Loyalty. Confidence. Shaking off the bad, embracing opportunity with every motivation to move forward. Songs largely written by folks who were lucky to survive the neighborhood they were born into, where we “understand nothing was done” for them. All of the worst that our world has to offer, that’s where they come from. Who could blame them for singing about being lifted out of that place and into a life they never even imagined was possible? They’re busy enjoying life, not second guessing or forfeiting their blessings like their artsy counterparts a couple dials over.
I take you through this musical montage, not to expose my questionable choice in workout music, suggest that you look up any of the lyrics or defend any lyrical content larger than the parallel that addresses an issue currently Stuck. In. My. Craw.: Christians living with the defeated spirits of the self-obsessed artsy songwriter rather than overcomers who live exuding confident, exclamatory victory!!!!! We were born in sin, in the ‘hood of despair. But something was done for us. Christ came for us. THIS JUST IN (cc: Drake): If you are a believer, you serve the GREATEST NAME EVER and He dwells in us. Why in the world are everybody’s hands not up – stayed there – living in the power of the Spirit?
Like the artsy songwriter, often times we can’t see past the end of our own nose. “Nothing will steal our contentment like self-absorption.” Nothing will make us more miserable and keep us writing depressing, defeated lyrics like living in the “tomb of self”. I love the way Elisabeth Elliot puts it: “We are human, we are “self” and it take no effort at all to feel. But worship is not a feeling. Worship is an act, and this takes discipline. We are to worship “in spirit and in truth.” Never mind about the feelings. We are to worship in spite of them.”
We get to sing an adrenaline pumping, confident, non-arrogant song because 1) We are His and we acknowledge we are great because of that fact alone! Our lives are great only because His love makes us great. 2) Everything we need for Spirit Filled life lives inside us – when we received Christ as our Savior, we got the Holy Spirit as the “deposit.” He gives us the opportunity to come out of our artsy “self” and live in a way that we could NEVER live without Him as He calls and positions us to live in His power, not ours!
Our capabilities in the Spirit far exceed what we can do in “self”, so if you find yourself living like a depressed artsy songwriter with lyrics lacking joy in life, remember there is joy in you because the Spirit is Joy! Get out of your own way! Maybe you’re singing about not finding love. The Spirit is love and He gives us the capacity to give and receive love from others. Is your song angry? The Spirit Himself is our Peace. Its time to “live beyond yourself.” This goes on and on … how about we stop singing songs lamenting this lack in our life and tap into the very provision we are guaranteed lives in us?!
A music snob recently told me he assumed I only listened to Norah Jones and Michael Buble. For the record, I know whose I am so I confidently sing “all I do is win.” And in the words of Jay-Z: “On to the next one.”