I am an absolute music junkie. If I find a song I love, I repeat it over and over until, frankly, I’m sick of it. Are you or anyone you know like this? I have been since I was an adolescent. I would drive my parents and friends nuts.
I remember one night having a sleepover with my best friend, Tiffany, where Celine Dion’s, “Feliz Navidad,” was on repeat throughout the night. I can just hear it now, “Feliz Navidad, próspero año y felicidad…” I am confident when I say that neither of us can bear to hear that song during the Advent and Christmas seasons.
Looking back, I think of how I would just eat up music because I enjoyed the beats. The songs were energizing and inspiring to me. However, sometimes I used music to fill a void, to avoid silence and prayer time too.
Music Can Inspire Goodness
This was years ago now, but not much has changed as to why I listen to music. I am sure I still listen to it to fill a void and avoid intimacy with Jesus, but more so in a positive way, I use it as an opportunity to be inspired and motivated for the good.
I listen to the lyrics with an ear to hear a positive and happy message. I ponder why I like the song, and ask myself what about it is giving me life, and what is it inspiring me to do? This is why country music steals my heart. (Sorry to any country haters out there. But remember, y’all, I’m a farm girl!) Many songs in country music are about romance, God, death, love, sacrifice, faithfulness, summertime, and drinking. All good things in my book!
Country Music at Its Finest
The recent song, “Be a light,” by Thomas Rhett featuring Keith Urban, one of Christian music’s favorites Chris Tomlin, Reba McEntire and Hillary Scott is country at its finest. Why? It calls us onward to the good. That’s what music should be doing! Afterall, why would we want to listen to something that stirs up hatred in us? This is not productive for you or anyone else.
Again, if you listen for the message you can find it. Listen to “Be a light.” What inspiring messages do you hear? How does the song inspire you? Here are the six inspirational lines I heard and what they say to me.
In a Time Full of War, Be Peace.
Who cries every time they hear the “Prayer of Saint Francis” sung by Sarah McLachlan? It’s a tearjerker! But, better yet, it is an actual prayer by Saint Francis of Assisi, who asks the Lord to help him be a man of peace. Sadly, since the time of the fall of Adam and Eve, our world has always been at war.
So our ancestors, and all peoples in every age, have had to decide if they would live lives that spread peace or hatred. Our neighbors and humanity as a whole deserve our love. Let’s choose peace together!
- What do you do daily to live peace and extend it to others?
- Have you read a book or news article that has encouraged you to live a life of peace?
In a Time Full of Doubt, Just Believe.
Ah, how easy it is doubt! To doubt someone’s love, to doubt that your future has hope, to doubt you will achieve your 2020 goals, and the big ones, to doubt God’s existence and his love for you!
But did you know that doubting God may be productive and even part of the spiritual journey? Many individuals, after having had a short or extended period of doubt, come out stronger and even more convicted of God’s existence and love.
I remember in my high school religion class learning that it was healthy and part of the spiritual journey to doubt and question. So, if you’re currently doubting, you are not alone!
Many men and women of faith throughout history have doubted. This includes many of the Saints! Therefore, I encourage you to resist jumping to the conclusion that there is something wrong with you. But, don’t stop there. Keep asking questions, seeking answers, and pursuing God.
One of the most spiritually destructive things we can do is remain in a place of doubt and not be open to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.
- How have you experienced doubt in your life?
- Maybe you’ve experienced something difficult in your life that brought about the doubt?
- Have you heard of the dark night of the soul?
In a Place that Needs Change, Make a Difference.
Did you grow up with your parents telling you to always leave a place cleaner than you found it? Likewise, I appreciate the encouragement to leave everything a little better than you found it. Did you know that you have something in you and about you that no one, and I mean no one, has to offer except you? That’s incredible!
God made you unique and unrepeatable and with gifts that only you have and only you can give. Why not use them for the good wherever you go to make someone’s life and/or your community better?
Let’s resist the temptation to go into ourselves and instead go out of ourselves to help, bless, serve, give, show kindness, and compassion and make that difference!
- Are there people in your life who you see making a difference?
- Who has inspired you to put your God-given gifts to use to help others?
- How and why does our Catholic faith encourage us to give of ourselves to others?
In a World Full of Hate, Be a Light.
“I really just want to be the warm yellow light that pours all over everyone I love.” Don’t you just love this quote? Who doesn’t want to be this for others?
I am incredibly grateful for my loved ones who have made many grey days sunny. Knowing how that feels, I would love to be that light for others. After all, life is pretty tough, and it has quite a bit of sadness and difficulty.
Why add more yuck to an already tough morning, day, week, year, or life for someone? Let’s be a light for others, where we radiate God and his love for all people.
- Why would you choose to be a source of light for others?
- What do you think being a light for someone could do for them and/or their family?
When You do Somebody Wrong, Make it Right.
This could be one of the most challenging lines of the song. What do you think? How hard is it for you to ask for forgiveness? I think for many of us to seek someone out with whom we’ve hurt is downright difficult. It can even be gut wrenching for some! Afterall, it takes a lot of humility, and if you haven’t done it before, or only a few times, it’s extra tough.
When admitting to a wrong and seeking to make it right, we actually have to admit that we did something wrong to begin with. This can be and is humiliating, but, wow does it mean the world to the offended person. It tells them they are worth it!
Have you read Ephesians 4:26? It says we should not let the sun go down on our anger. Well, let’s take that in a different direction… let’s also not let the sun go down before we make a situation or relationship right again.
That’s a great image, isn’t it? For me, I can just see myself driving 900 miles in one day to my friend in Minnesota, or to my colleague in Michigan, right as the sun is setting to admit my wrong and ask how I can make it up to them.
- How have you asked for forgiveness and made a situation right?
- Do you have a story of when someone in your life truly humbled themself and apologized to you?
- Are there ways you can inspire the spirit of forgiveness in your family and in other relationships?
Don’t Hide in The Dark, You were Made to Shine.
How tempting it is to sit back, relax, and not challenge ourselves? Or, how easy it is to try not to stand out? But sometimes we can’t help but shine!
Here’s why you shine:
- You are living the life God is calling you to live and being the person, he has created you to be; and
- You are a person of joy!
Are either of these true for you? Are you the person calling you to be? Are you a person of joy? Well, if one of the two is true, then both are true! (That was a trick question.) They go together.
While happiness is a mood—or I guess we could also say, temperament—joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that comes from living a life of faithfulness to God. God made you for more than happiness. He made you for joy! And to radiate and shine that joy onto others.
It was Saint Mother Theresa of Calcutta, one of the most inspirational people of the 20th Century who said: “Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.” With joy naturally comes love. Both are attractive because we all want joy and we all want love. What an incredible evangelization tool God provides.
- Who in your life has joy?
- Have you prayed the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary? If so, what have they taught you about joy?
- How can you be seeking joy more intentionally in your life?
Keep Seeking Joy, Sister!
I want to be a joy seeker with you! That’s why I started this blog and offering spiritual direction. I know joy is what God desires for us.
Let’s dig deeper into joy and what a life of joy looks like through my spiritual direction package titled: “Obtaining Joy.” This includes ten sessions of one-on-one time in conversation about the main thing we are all seeking and grasping for… Joy. Contact me to sign up today!