The following post is by blog contributor Judy Bourret
“A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine.” So true! And the opposite is true, too, ”but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 (KJV)
My heart tends to be merry pretty easily, for which I am thankful. I see blessings and beauty and fun in my daily life most days. There are days, though, when my spirit does feel broken. Life on this planet can be tough, discouraging, and even depressing. I believe 100% that God is in control, and I trust Him with my life, but even so I sometimes feel emotionally worn out and sad – like dried bones. Probably lots of people have a similar struggle, and while there is a time for sadness, if I can switch to feeling happy I’d definitely like to do that. One of the things I’ve noticed is that the right music can quickly help me make that switch: down to up in a powerful way.
Cheerful music makes me happy. Go ahead, just sing, “tra la la!!” and tell me you don’t already feel like smiling. Music is a beautiful, built-in mood adjuster, courtesy of our awesome Creator. God Himself loves music, and He created us in His image to also love music. He gave us music in birdsong, music in the sound of ocean waves, music in the sound of tree leaves in the breeze. God also gave us the ability to sing, to create music, and to create and play instruments. God made angels who sing when they are happy. In Job 38:7 He tells us that the angels, the morning stars, sang together when He created the world. In Luke 2 He tells us that the sky was full of angels singing when He gave us His Son Jesus, the most precious baby ever to be born. We are told in Revelation that angels sing all day and all night around the throne of God, praising Him continuously. God loves music!
When I’m feeling down, it can be difficult to take a step towards cheerfulness, but if I turn on a happy, bouncy song then I am given a strong boost, or even a giant toss in the direction of cheerfulness. Pharrell’s song “Happy” is very popular now; you can find it on YouTube quite easily. Listen to “Happy” and see if you don’t honestly feel pretty happy while it’s playing. However, there is an even better way to send sadness on its sad, sad way, and that is to listen to music that is full of Scripture. Scripture, God’s Word, His love letter to His children, always lifts my heart. Scripture PLUS music makes my heart dance, and soar, and praise His name just like those angels at the throne. Scripturally based songs remind us of God’s promises, of His eternal love, and of His strength, which is now our strength. Scripturally based songs remind us of what Jesus did for us, what the Holy Spirit offers us, and what a future based on faith in Christ holds for us. Scripturally based songs correct my thinking; they align my thoughts more closely with God’s thoughts. I might be mired in gloom, but if I listen to “I am” by David Crowder, or “It Is Well With My Soul” by anyone at all, my thoughts fly up and out of the gloom and ascend blithely towards heaven.
When my girls were young, my Pastor gave me one of the best gifts ever: a fire-singed hymnal. It wasn’t needed in the church anymore and he gave it to me. I used to walk around the house with that hymnal, followed by the little girls, singing “Onward Christian Soldiers”, “The Bible Stands”, “Amazing Love”, “Nothing But the Blood”, and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” with great verve and joy. There was no way a spirit of sadness could survive the glorious onslaught of those hymns!
Over time I have come to love much of what contemporary Christian artists sing, too. They often include Scripture, or Scriptural truth, and a peppy melody in a way that plants joy in my heart. My music list is long, but some of my current favorites are “You Never Let Go” by Matt Redman, “Overcomer” by Mandisa, “Strong Enough to Save” by Tenth Avenue North, “Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher, “Free” by Dara Maclean, and “Come Thou Fount” by City Harbor. (The videos are not all great, so just listen to the songs without watching the visuals). One of my closest Christian friends finds her joy in the music of the Gaithers – Scripturally based and so melodious- it makes me happy, too! And, any time you feel down listen to this: “Gloria”, by Jason Castro. It’s Jesus and Christmas and singing angels all in one joyous song.
Lots of people already know that music can change a mood, so I’m asking this question, “What music is good medicine for your heart?” Listen to my favorites; listen often to your own. I’d love it if you comment here, sharing with me the songs that do lift your spirits. Finally, I leave you with the beautiful words of Isaiah 51:11 –
“Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” (KJV) Sing it!
May everlasting joy be upon your heads.